www.sirbacon.org

 

King James

SONNET NO. 121

 

Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be, receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed,
Not by our feeling, but by others seeing,
For why should others false adulterate eyes,
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies;
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am what I am and they that level
At my abuses, reckon up their own,
I may be straight though they themselves be bevel
By their rank thoughts-my deeds must not be shown,
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.


           Note the repetition of the following, we find-my sporting
         blood, my abuses, my frailties, my deeds.

     This sonnet is addressed to King James and refers to the false charges made against Bacon by Coke and others in respect
of Bacon's alleged abuses (corrupt practices) in the Chancery
Court. Bacon says that it is better to be vile than to be esteemed
(considered) to be vile.   When a man is not vile he may be
reproached (censured) for being so and the just pleasure (of
being good) lost not by himself but by other people with false
(adulterate) corrupt eyes. Looking on his frailties (weaknesses).
Why were there frailer (weaker) spies who in their wills (wishes) consider bad what he thinks good.  He says "I am that I am and that persons that level (aim at) his abuses (corrupt practices) reckon up their own-that he may be straight though they be bevel (not straight)-that his deeds (acts) must not be shown by their rank (violent) thoughts unless they maintain that all men are bad and in their badness reign (prevail).

 

  Return to the Sonnet Directory



Table of Contents / Related Topics