Sonnet XXII, by William Shakespeare

My glass shall not persuade me I am old
So long as youth and thou are of one date;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate.
For all that beauty that doth cover thee
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me;
How can I then be elder than thou art?
O therefore, love, be of thyself wary
As I, not for myself, but for thee will,
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
  Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain:
  Thou gav'st me thine not to give back again.

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To Mr. Cyriack Skinner Upon His Blindness

Cyriack, this three years day these eys, though clear
To outward view, of blemish or of spot;
Bereft of light, thir seeing have forgot,
Nor to thir idle orbs doth sight appear
Of Sun or Moon or Starre throughout the year,
Or man or woman. Yet I argue not
Against heavns hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, Friend, to have lost them overply'd
In libertyes defence, my noble task,
This thought might lead me through the worlds vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.
John Milton is writing to Cyriack Skinner, who was the grandson of Sir Edward Coke, who wrote The Institutes of the Law of England and served as Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Skinner had just lost his sight, and Milton, who had been blind or nearly so for quite some time was consoling him about it.

How the now-blind Skinner was supposed to read this missive is beyond me.

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