SONNET NO. 118
Like as to make our appetites more keen,
With eager compounds we our palate urge,
As to prevent our maladies unseen,
We sicken to shun sickness when we purge,
Even so being full of your ne'er cloying sweetness,
To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding;
And sick of welfare found a kind of meetness,
To be diseased ere that there was true needing,
Thus policy in love to anticipate
The ills that were, not grew to faults assured,
And brought to medicine a healthful state,
Which rank of goodness would by ill be cured,
But thence I learn and find the lesson true,
Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.
2nd Line. Eager compounds = bitter sauces-the same as
bitter sauces in Line 6.
3rd Line. Prevent = avoid disease by taking medicine.
12th Line. Rank = too full of.
Here we are told that we take medicine to prevent illnesses
which we cannot see and that we purge (evacuate) to avoid
sickness, that being full of your sweetness (never cloying-not
satiated) he framed (adjusted) his feeding (allowance of food),
that being sick of welfare (being well) found it fitting to be
diseased before there was any need to be, that in love it was
good policy to anticipate that ills that were not (imaginary ills),
did not grow to real ones (faults assured) bringing a healthful
state-ill curing good from which he learnt that drugs would
poison him who fell sick of you.