Shakespeare's Sonnets: What potions have I drunk of siren tears

Sonnet 119

3Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,
8In the distraction of this madding fever?
9O benefit of ill, now I find true
10That better is by evil still made better,
11And ruin'd love when it is built anew
12Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.
13    So I return rebuk't to my content
14    And gain by ills thrice more than I have spent.


1] siren tears] lying or mermaid tears, or possibly "serene" (poisonous) tears. Back to Line
2] limbecks: alembics. Back to Line
4] Still] always. Back to Line
5] Extrametrical, with lines 6-8, 10, 12. Back to Line
6] so blessèd never] never so blessed. Back to Line
7] fitted] thrust by paroxysms (Shakespeare devised this sense: see OED, "fit," v.2). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (London: G. Eld for T. T. and sold by William Aspley, 1609): h1v.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: