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Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
   Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
   In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.


LXXXVII. Shakespeare, piqued apparently because Mr. W. H. will not renounce the rival-poet, utters a farewell. Mr. W. H.'s favour and patronage had been granted only during pleasure; so that there was no ground for complaint in their recall; but the poet is as one awaking from a dream. This "farewell" is probably intended, like Ophelia's return of Hamlet's "remembrances," to evoke a renewed avowal of affection.

2. Thy estimate. The value at which thou art to be appraised.

3. The charter of thy worth. The charter by which thy worth was ceded to me.

4. Determinate. Cf. xiii. 5, 6.

6. That riches. Cf. cette richesse.

6-12. The cause of the release and revocation is, that the grant had been made in error. Patent in line 8, instead of "charter" in line 3.

11. Upon misprision growing. Upon its becoming clear that you had made a mistake. Cf. old French mesprison, which Cotgrave explains by "misprision," "error," &c.

12. Comes home again. Returns to you.

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2013. < >.

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