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Sonnet 70
1That thou are blam'd shall not be thy defect,
2For slander's mark was ever yet the fair,
3The ornament of beauty is suspect,
4A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
7For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
8And thou present'st a pure unstainèd prime.
10Either not assail'd, or victor, being charg'd;
11Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
12To tie up envy, evermore enlarged,


5] approve] apprvue Q ("test by experience"). Back to Line
6] Their] Q; Thy frequent emendation. The apparent referent of "Their" is "the fair" (2), which can be a plural that does not take a final "s" (an expression such as "the fair are countless" in northern countries), so that emendation is not necessary to preserve the sense of the passage. Back to Line
9] past] passed. The beloved has matured beyond adolescence into his "prime" or early adulthood. See John Cowell's Interpreter (1607): "The age of 21. yeres is termed the full age in a man, the age of fourteene yeares, the age of discretion Litleton li. 2. ca. 4." Back to Line
13] some] some (other) persons. Back to Line
14] owe] own. Back to Line