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Mistress Fitton

SONNET NO. 140

 

      Be wise as thou art cruel, do not press
     My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain:
     Lest sorrow lends me words and words express,
     The manner of my pity wanting pain,
     If I might teach thee wit better it were
     Though not to love, yet love to tell me so,
     As testy sick men when their deaths be near,
     No news but health from their physicians know,
     For if I should despair, I should grow mad,
     And in my madness might speak ill of thee,
     Now this ill wresting world is grown so bad,
     Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be,
     That I may not be so, nor thou belide,
     Bear thine eyes straight though thy proud heart go wide.

 


  Note the repetition of certain words, we find-words, words,
love, love, mad, mad, mad.

  Here Bacon tells Mistress Fitton that if she is as wise as she
is cruel, she will not press (strain) his tongue tied (silent)
patience with too much disdain (scorn) lest sorrow (grief) gives
him words to express (state) the reason why he pities himself.
He wishes that he could teach her that it would be better to
tell him that she loved him although she did not do so-in the
same way that testy (irritable) old men when dying do not wish their doctors to tell them so.  That if he should despair (be without hope)  he might go mad  and in his madness speak ill
(unfavourably) of her-that this ill-wresting (misinterpreting
to disadvantage) world had become so bad that mad slanderers
(defamers) are believed by mad believers, that he did not wish
to be so or to belide (speak falsely of) her-he tells her to look
straight (frank and honourable) although her heart is wide
(very different).

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