Sonnet 62 & the self

In his Sonnet number 62 Shakespeare says that his excessive love for himself is a sin, and that he has no cure for the malady which is rooted deep in his heart.

‘Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye, 
And all my soul and all my every part; 
And for this sin there is no remedy, 
It is so grounded inward in my heart. 

He goes on to add that there is no face as pretty as his, no form, no experience as worthy as himself. That it is difficult to judge his merit because he( his qualities, abilities, character, appearance) overpowers every other thing that may have any value to any one.

Methinks no face so gracious is as mine, 
No shape so true, no truth of such account; 
And for myself mine own worth do define, 
As I all other in all worths surmount.

Soon though he is filled with doubt and adds that when he sees his weather beaten form , tainted by age he begins to doubt his own value. The sonnet ends with a couplet in which the poet explains( or excuses himself by saying that) that while praising himself, he is actually praising his beloved whose beauty and charm he finds imported/ reflected in the his own frame  as he is ‘painting or covering his age with the beauty of her form’.

He has no reason to look upon himself with love apart the love he holds for his friend. It would be scandalous ( ‘iniquity’, meaning very unfair) if he loved himself obsessively after coming face to face with the reality of his appearance as shown by the mirror, ‘glass’. Shakespeare thus absolves himself of the sin, the sin of self-love.

But when my glass shows me myself indeed, 
Beated and chopp’d with tann’d antiquity, 
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read; 
Self so self-loving were iniquity. 
   ‘Tis thee, myself, that for myself I praise,
   Painting my age with beauty of thy days.

But self-love to me is not sinful, self-loathing is.

Your happiness lies in listening to you.

So I guess you got to be true to yourself.

It is  true that your obsession with your happiness will be vilified as an indulgence, as an indifference, as a whim, a fancy, an epitome of selfishness,so on and so forth.

In the pursuit of things you love to do, you may have to some times stay away from certain people, certain circumstances and you will be perceived as a vamp, a vampire and what not.

But nothing in life is to be had easy, so just go with it.

The things you love to do could be simple, like may be having good food at good places.

Interestingly, you will hear a lot of stories about your addiction to good food, you will be called an epicurean, you will be laughed at for your veneration of food.There will be comments of how careless you are in spending on eating and if you catch a flu, it will most certainly be because of the food you ‘ate’, that day, at that place, and how!

You might otherwise be addicted to reading, reading! huh! what a waste of time,to rust and not to act! It will be told that your reading got you your glasses, and your fat around, you know where and more such wisdom!

Your choices for reading will be scrutinized as being too classy or too easy, essentially a ‘waste of your time’. You will be told stories of how people achieved a lot more with never having to  lift a book and of the need to save future generations from weak eyes.

Or  you may be this rather harmless creature whose joy blossoms in the garden, among the earthworms, the dirt and the grass. You might just want to spend your life weeding out weeds, obviously! from your garden.

All that you ever aspired for may be just a piece of land and some peace. Trust me you are most unlikely to find it i.e unless you choose to have the wisdom to ignore the nose diggers!

Your inability to set aside time for what you absolutely or’ some whatly’ love to do, could manifest as anger, frustration, constant cribbing and general dislike for others’ happiness.

So, gather yourself, put your foot down and get to doing what you ought to do.

Don’t wallow your life in repentance guilty of doing what you ought not to do!

PS: A sonnet is a poem of 14 lines.



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