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Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press
My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain,
Lest sorrow lend 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 sland’rers by mad ears believèd be.
  That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
  Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.
Be as wise as you are cruel: Don’t torture me too much with your disdain, in case sorrow forces me to speak, and I express how pitiless you are in hurting me. If you’ll let me teach you some skill—it would be better if you told me you loved me even if you don’t, as when short-tempered patients close to death get only good news from their doctors. Because if I start to despair, I’ll go mad, and in my madness I might speak ill of you. This world has gotten so bad with its lies and rumors that crazy people believe the lies that crazy people tell. To prevent my going crazy and your being lied about, keep your eyes where they should be, even when your heart’s wandering where it wants.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets