Tis better to be vile (Michael Gray)

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  • (Posted 2022-04-14)  CPDL #68839:     
Editor: Michael Gray (submitted 2022-04-14).   Score information: Letter (landscape), 9 pages, 255 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC ND
Edition notes: " 'Tis better to be vile" by Michael A. Gray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

General Information

Title: Tis better to be vile
Composer: Michael Gray
Lyricist: William Shakespeare
Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: SAB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: Piano

First published: 2022
Description: Part of an on-going setting of the Book of Sonnets for SAB, piano. Please contact the composer to re-edit this edition. Thank you.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

'Tis better to be vile then 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 and, 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.

William Shakespeare (Sonnet CXXI)