That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect,
For slander's mark was ever yet the fair;
The ornament of beauty is suspect,
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve
Thy worth the greater, being woo'd of time;
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
And thou present'st a pure unstained prime.
Thou hast pass'd by the ambush of young days,
Either not assail'd or victor being charged;
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
To tie up envy evermore enlarged:
If some suspect of ill mask'd not thy show,
Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts shouldst owe.
How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
Outline of the Themes in Shakespeare's Sonnets
Shakespeare's Sonnets: Q & A
Are Shakespeare's Sonnets Autobiographical?
Shakespeare's Greatest Love Poem
The Order of the Sonnets
The Date of the Sonnets
Who was Mr. W. H.?
Are all the Sonnets addressed to two Persons?
Who was The Rival Poet?
Shakespeare Quotations (by Play and Theme)
Why Shakespeare is so Important
Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
Why Study Shakespeare?