William Shakespeare
Sonnet 121 [‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed] (c 1594)

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‘Tis better to be vile than vile esteem’d

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When not to be receives reproach of being;

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And the just pleasure lost, which is so deem’d

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Not by our feeling, but by others’ seeing:

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For why should others’ false adulterate eyes

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Give salutation to my sportive blood?

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Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,

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Which in their wills count bad what I think good?

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No, I am that I am, and they that level

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At my abuses reckon up their own:

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I may be straight though they themselves be bevel;

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By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;

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Unless this general evil they maintain,

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All men are bad and in their badness reign.