SONNET NO. 110
0 never say that I was false of heart,
Alas, tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts-
sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affection new,
Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth,
Askance and strangely, but by all above.
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays proved thee my best of love,
Now all is done, have what shall have no end.
Mine appetite I never more will grind,
On newer proof to try an older friend,
A God in love-to whom I am confined,
Then give me welcome, next to heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most--most loving breast.
It is not easy to get at the meaning of this sonnet. Bacon tells us that it is true that he has gone here and there (wandered about) making himself a motley (jester or fool) in the eyes of other people. That he has" gored (pierced) his own thoughts". That is to say that he has acted contrary to what he knew to be right. That he has "made old offences of affections new that is to say by making new friends has offended his old friends. That he has looked on truth askance (with disdain) and strangely(like a stranger) and that these blenches (aberrations) make him feel younger but that-worse essays-(his trial of worse friendships) proved his old friend to be the best-that he has finished with all this and on newer proof (further consideration). He will not try his first (older) friend and asks this friend to welcome him back again.