That you were once unkind befriends me now,
And for that sorrow, which I then did feel,
Needs must I under my transgression bow,
Unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel.
For if you were by my unkindness shaken,
As I by yours, you've passed a hell of time;
And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken
To weigh how once I suffered in your crime.
O! that our night of woe might have remembered
My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,
And soon to you, as you to me, then tendered
The humble salve, which wounded bosoms fits!
But that your trespass now becomes a fee;
Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.
The poet continues his apologia for his conduct which has soured the relationship. For some unaccountable reason the sophistry of the argument for the defence no longer seems to be of any great importance. Perhaps it is because the remembrance of sorrow endured as a result of the youth's former misdemeanours awakens our sympathy for the speaker. Not only has he suffered because of his own misguided pursuit of pleasure, as detailed in the previous sonnet, but he remembers also the cutting sorrow which he once lived through which seared his heart. Alas he was not fully alive to this when he went philandering, but now he has the grace to remember it and delicately suggests to the youth that, in the scales of love, they are both now evenly balanced.
The 1609 Quarto Version
THat you were once vnkind be-friends mee now,
And for that ſorrow , which I then didde feele,
Needes muſt I vnder my tranſgreſſion bow,
Vnleſſe my Nerues were braſſe or hammered ſteele.
For if you were by my vnkindneſſe ſhaken
As I by yours , y'haue paſt a hell of Time,
And I a tyrant haue no leaſure taken
To waigh how once I ſuffered in your crime.
O that our night of wo might haue remembred
My deepeſt ſence,how hard true ſorrow hits,
And ſoone to you,as you to me then tendred
The humble ſalue,which wounded boſomes fits!
But that your treſpaſſe now becomes a fee,
Mine ranſoms yours,and yours muſt ranſome mee.