Sonnet XXII: to Cyriack Skinner

Cyriack, this three years’ day these eyes, though clear
      To outward view of blemish or of spot,
      Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
      Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun or moon or star throughout the year,
      Or man or woman. Yet I argue not
      Against Heav’n’s hand or will, not 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 overplied
      In liberty’s defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side.
      This thought might lead me through the world’s vain mask
      Content, though blind, had I no better guide.
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