• Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,
    Which, like two spirits, do suggest me still;
    The better angel is a man right fair,
    The worser spirit a woman colored ill.
    To win me soon to hell, my female evil
    Tempteth my better angel from my side,
    And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
    Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
    And whether that my angel be turned fiend
    Suspect I may, but not directly tell;
    But being both from me both to each friend,
    I guess one angel in another’s hell.
      Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
      Till my bad angel fire my good one out.
  • I love two people. One comforts me and the other makes me despair. Like two spirits both constantly point me in different directions. The better angel is a beautiful, fair-haired man. The bad one is an evil-looking woman. To help put me in hell sooner, my evil female tempts my angel away from my side. She hopes to make my saint into a devil, seducing him to impure acts in her foul and self-assured way. And though I can suspect him, there’s no way I can tell directly whether my angel has turned into a fiend. But since the two of them are away from me and friendly with each other, I’m guessing that one angel is inside the other—and in hell with her. Yet I’ll never know this for sure, instead living in doubt until my bad angel fires the good one out of hell.

    fires

    The bad angel’s “fire” suggests the burning sensations of venereal disease.