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Mistress Fitton

SONNET NO. 133

 

Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me;
Is't not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet'st friend must be,
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self  thou harder hast engross'd,
Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken,
A torment thrice threefold thus to be crossed;
Prison my heart in thy steel bosoms ward;
But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail
Who'eer keeps me.  Let my heart be his guard,
Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail,

And yet thou wilt; for I being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine and all that is in me.


Note the repetition of certain words, we find-heart, heart,
heart, heart, heart, my friend, my friend, friend.

6th Line.  The words " my next self "-alter ipse: mean
         my friend, i.e. Herbert ". Bacon in his essay
       on friendship wrote: " It is a sparing speech of
       the ancients to say, that a friend is another himself".

11th Line.  " Who'er keeps me, let my heart be his guard
       would appear to mean that Mistress Fitton, who is
       his gaoler (see line 9) must let his heart secure my
       friend (Herbert) against imprisonment by letting
       him suffer in Herbert's place.

12th Line.  " Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail"
       appears to mean that it will be out of Mistress
       Fitton's power to make his imprisonment harsh
       because Herbert will not share it but he tells her
       that he may be mistaken because he is wholly in
       her power (pent in her) and Herbert is a part of
       him.

  Here Bacon tells Mistress Fitton that he beshrews (curses)
her heart that makes his heart groan (be afflicted) because of
the deep (secret) wound (injury) it gave his friend (Herbert)
and himself-he tells her-it is not enough to torture (cause
extreme pain) himself but that Herbert must also be a slave
(one who is submissively devoted) to her-that her cruel eye
has taken him from himself and his next self (Herbert) she has
engrossed (monopolised).   He tells her that he is forsaken by
himself-Herbert and herself, a threefold torment (anguish)
to be so crossed (thwarted).  Let her imprison his heart in her
steel-bosoms ward (prison) and then let Herbert's heart bail
(release) his heart-that whoever keeps (guards) him-let his
heart guard that man's heart-that she cannot then use rigour
(hardness) towards him in his jail (prison) yet he fears that
she will do so because he being pent (shut up) in her-perforce
(of necessity) belongs to her with everything that is in him.

 

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