'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deemed
Not by our feeling but by others' seeing.
For why should others' false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own;
I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel.
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown,
Unless this general evil they maintain:
All men are bad, and in their badness reign.
It’s better to be vile than to have people think you’re vile, especially when they accuse you of being vile and you’re really not, and then you don’t even get to enjoy doing the thing that people say is vile but that you don’t think is. For why should people who are corrupt themselves get to wink knowingly at my lustful inclinations? And why should people who are even weaker than I pry into my weaknesses, deciding that what I think is good is bad? No, I am what I am, and the people who accuse me are only revealing their own corruptions. Maybe I’m straight, and they’re the ones who are crooked; you can’t measure my actions by their foul thoughts, unless they’re willing to believe that all men are bad and thrive in their badness.