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   Sonnet 96

The youth is gently accused of libertinism and sensuality, and given a warning not to use the power of his beauty over others to its full effect. For they would all be led as lambs to the slaughter, and the young man's reputation might suffer as a result.

It could be that the poet is beginning to distance himself from his former passions, and now begins to look upon the history of his love with a distant eye, as if it were something experienced by another, which he may now safely analyse and comment on.

Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness;
Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport;
Both grace and faults are lov'd of more and less:
Thou mak'st faults graces that to thee resort.
As on the finger of a throned queen
The basest jewel will be well esteem'd,
So are those errors that in thee are seen
To truths translated, and for true things deem'd.
How many lambs might the stern wolf betray,
If like a lamb he could his looks translate!
How many gazers mightst thou lead away,
if thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state!
  But do not so; I love thee in such sort,
  As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
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