Seamus Cooney


Shakespeare, Sonnet 129

original spelling, from the first edition, 1609


Th'expence of Spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action, and till action, lust
Is perjurd, murdrous, blouddy full of blame,
Savage, extreame, rude, cruell, not to trust,
Injoy'd no sooner but dispised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swollowed bayt,
On purpose layd to make the taker mad.
Made In pursut and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest, to have extreame,
A blisse in proofe and provd and very wo,
Before a joy proposd behind a dreame,
      All this the world well knowes yet none knowes well,
      To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.



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