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Modern Text

Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all
Wherein I should your great deserts repay,
Forgot upon your dearest love to call,
Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day;
That I have frequent been with unknown minds,
And giv'n to time your own dear purchased right;
That I have hoisted sail to all the winds
Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
Book both my willfulness and errors down,
And on just proof surmise accumulate.
Bring me within the level of your frown,
But shoot not at me in your wakened hate,
  Since my appeal says I did strive to prove
  The constancy and virtue of your love.
Accuse me like this: Say that I’ve neglected every opportunity to repay the great obligation I owe you; that I’ve forgotten to invoke your precious love, though every day I’m more and more bound to you. Say that I’ve spent too much time with strangers, giving away the time that you have a right to spend with me. Say that I’ve let every wind blow me as far away as possible from you. Write a list of all the stubborn and wrong things I’ve done, and put together a lot of speculations about my other misdeeds based on what you already know. Get ready to frown at me, but don’t frown at me because of what I’ve done to awaken new hatred in you, since I did it all to test the constancy and strength of your love.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets