Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Poems

William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems.  1914.

Sonnet LXX.

“That thou art blam’d shall not be thy defect”

THAT thou art blam’d shall not be thy defect 
For slander’s mark was ever yet the fair; 
The ornament of beauty is suspect, 
A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air. 
So thou be good, slander doth but approve         5
Thy worth the greater, being woo’d of time; 
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love, 
And thou present’st a pure unstained prime. 
Thou hast pass’d by the ambush of young days, 
Either not assail’d, or victor being charg’d;  10
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise, 
To tie up envy evermore enlarg’d: 
  If some suspect of ill mask’d not thy show, 
  Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe. 



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