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Shakespeare in  Love   Sonnets  to  t  he  ‘fair  lord’  

Love Declared   Sonnet  18   Sonnet  18  is  possibly  one  of  the  most  famous  sonnets  ever   written.   As  part  of  the  sequence  –  following  on  from  the  procreation   sonnets  –  it  marks  a  shift  in  tone  and  subject.    There  are  no   more  references  to  procreation,  to  death  and  to  age.    Instead   there  is  a  burst  of  enthusiasm  and  positivity.       There  are  still  links  w ith  many  of  the  other  sonnets  through   the  descriptions  and  the  sense  of  the  youth’s  immortality,   which  w ill  now  be  preserved  in  these  ‘eternal  lines’  rather   than  in  a  child.   Nature  continues  to  be  a  key  image/thread  in  this  sonnet.     Shakespeare  uses  hyperbole  and  dispraise  to  make  it  clear   just  how  beautiful  the  youth  is:  the  summer’s  d ay  is  found   lacking  in  the  sense    it  is  too  hot,    too  windy,  too  short-­‐lived   and  sometimes  too  cloudy.   The  sestet  begins  powerfully  with  a  declaration  of  eternal  life   –  that  the  youth  is  not  only  a  summer’s  d ay  at  its  best,  but  he   ‘shall  not  fade’.       The  crucial  point  is  how  both  the  speaker  and  the  youth  have   won  the  struggle  against  time  because  they  have  been   immortalized  through  verse.      

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s day?    summer’ a   o t   e e h erate’   mpare  t ore  temp m   d n ‘Shall  I  co a   ly ve  more  lo )   Thou  art (line  1-­‐2

‘But thy   ete

rnal sum

mer shall  n

ot fade’   (line  9)  

So long  as  men  can  breathe   or  eyes  can  see So  long  lives     this,  and  this   gives  life  to  the e’   (line  13–  14)  


Sonnet 20   This  sonnet  seems  to  offer  a  break  in  the  sequence.     The  battle  w ith  time  disappears  and  the  attention   of  the  speaker  is  now  fully  on  the  youth  and  his   appearance.    He  has  become  an  object  of  desire,   rather  than  someone  who  needs  to  be  married.  

ainted hand  p   n w o   ature’s ssion’   e  with  n f  my  pa c o a   f s   s ’s e n r t a s ‘A  wom ster  mi  –  2)   the  ma ,   u o (line  1 h t   H a st

The sonnet  marks  out  the  youth  as  being  as   beautiful  as  a  woman  but  with  out  any  of  the   artifice  that  the  poet  believes  is  found  in  the  women   of  the  time.   The  octave  establishes  the  eye  established  as  the   dominant  image  –  drawn  from  as  early  as  sonnet  1.      

‘’A n eye  more   bright  than  the

The sestet  tells  the  story  of  the  young  man’s   creation  –  that  he  was  meant  to  be  a  woman,  but   Nature  fell  in  love  with  him  and  so  she  ‘pricked  thee   out  for  woman’s  pleasure.’    The  pun  on  the  word   ‘pricked’  w ould  not  have  been  offensive  to  the   Elizabethans.   By  the  end  of  this  sonnet,  the  speaker  has  come  to   some  kind  of  acceptance  that  his  love  for  the  young   man  w ill  be  that  of  purity  w hile  the  physical  side  of   things  can  be  set  aside  for  women.  

irs, less  false   in  rol

ling’ (line  5)  

,  pleasure  woman’s r o f t   u o   ’   re ked  thee ir  treasu e  she  pric ’s  use  th e e v o l   y ‘’But  sinc h t and   -­‐  14)   thy  love   (line  13   Mine  be  

This sonnet  clearly  sets  up  the  opposition  between   two  key  aspects  of  love  –  the  pure  and  the  sexual.    It   is  also  clear  that  a  person  can  love  truly  even  if  that   love  is  never  consummated.    

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Sonnet 27   Sonnets  21  –  25  are  intimate  and  loving.    The  close   relationship  between  the  speaker  and  the  fair  lord   is  celebrated  and  explored.       Sonnets  27-­‐30  are  calm  and  fairly  meditative,   exploring  the  traditional  themes  of  sleeplessness,   separation,  bad  fortune  and  reminiscence.   Sonnet  27  explores  the  impact  of  separation  and   the  sadness  felt  at  being  separated  from  a  beloved.       The  sonnet  introduces  ideas  of  ‘pilgrimage’   suggesting  that  his  feelings  for  the  young  man  is   like  a  religion  to  him.  This  is  furthered  by   Shakespeare’s  use  of  images  associated  with   blindness  and  sight  –  so  that  the  young  man’s  image   ‘shadow’  takes  on  the  role  of  a  beacon  leading  him   through  the  darkness  of  his  life.      This  is  further   emphasised  by  the  use  of  the  simile  ‘like  a  jewel   hung’  suggesting  preciousness  but  also  ‘hung’  like  a   lantern.    Again,  the  imagery  is  focusing  around  light   and  being  given  hope  in  a  dark  time.   The  use  of  the  word  ‘shadow’  in  this  sonnet  to   mean  image,  connects  with  Sonnet  43  and  lines  4-­‐5:   ‘Then  thou,  w hose  shadows  doth  make  bright/  How   would  thy  shadow’s  form  happy  show.’  Here  the   literal  and  figurative  defintions  of  shadow  are   juxtaposed.    

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Sonnet 29   Sonnet  29  shows  the  poet/speaker  at  his  most   insecure  and  troubled.    He  feels  unlucky,  shamed  and   fiercely  jealous  of  those  around  him.     An  examination  of  Shakespeare’s  life  around  the  time   he  w rote  the  sonnet  reveals  to  traumatic  events  might   have  shaped  the  theme.    There  w as  a  severe  outbreak   of  plague  in  London  in  1592  –  resulting  in  the  closing   of  the  playhouses  which  meant  he  could  not  earn  a   living.     Also  at  this  time  a  dramatist,  Robert  Greene,    made  a   scathing  attack  on  Shakespeare  –  describing  him  as  a   pompous,  scheming,  vicious  ingrate  riding  on  the   success  of  other  writers.  The  attack  must  have  caused   Shakespeare  great  anxiety  so  it  is  a  testament  to  the   love  he  feels  for  the  young  man  that  even  at  this   terrible  time  his  soul  can  be  lifted  ‘Like  a  lark  at  break   of  day’  and  that  despite  everything  he  w ould  ‘scorn  to   change  my  state  with  kings.’   It  is  also  possible  to  argue  that  this  sonnet  plays  into   the  conventions  of  the  sonnet  tradition  –  in  which   many  misfortunes  work  hard  to  make  the  lover   unhappy,  but  that  his  beloved  brings  him  great  joy   and  rises  above  the  clouds.   It  is  also  w orth  noting  another  reference  to   faith/religion:  ‘sings  hymns  at  heaven’s  gate’.      

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‘Yet i n  th e se   H apl y  I  th thoughts  my  s i n k  on   Like   elf  m thee   to  th ost  d – e  and     lark   espis F r om t hen at  br ing,    the  s   my  s e ak  of ul le n t ate    day    eart arisi h,  sin ng   gs  hy mns   at  he a ve n ’s  ga te

ings h  br t l a s.    we uch ith  king s   d ’ b er te  w mem  my  sta e r   e e t  lov  chang we e o t s     y n or  th ‘For hen  I  sc t   t T ha

.’


Sonnet 30   This  one  is  similar  to  sonnet  29,  in  that  it  is  gentle   and  thoughtful.    It  is  similar  in  both  the  ideas   presented  and  in  the  layout.     The  discontent  w hich  was  expressed  in  Sonnet  29   is  still  there  ‘I  sigh  the  lack  of  many  a  thing  I   sought,/  And  w ith  o ld  woes  new  wail  my  dear   time’s  waste’.    His  is  still  weighed  down  by  the   sorrows  of  his  past  life.    It  is  only  ‘while  I  think  on   thee,  d ear  friend,  /All  losses  are  restor’d  and   sorrows  end’.     The  language  is  quasi-­‐legal:  ‘waste’,  ‘expense’   ‘grievance’,  ‘cancelled’  ,  ‘paid  before’    -­‐  suggesting   some  kind  of  discrepancy  of  account  –  but  when  it   is  all  levied  up,  and  balance,  everything  is   outweighed  by  the  joy  of  thinking  about  his   beloved.  

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Love Denied   Sonnets  33-­‐35   These  three  sonnets  trace  a  moment  of  rejection  in  the  relationship  between  the  youth  and  the  poet.     There  is  a  genuineness  in  the  sorrow  expressed  which  might  suggest  autobiographical  content.   In  sonnet  33  the  first  quatrain  is  filled  with  images  of  gold,  wealth  and  seeming  tenderness:  the     ‘sovereign  eye/  Kissing  with  golden  face’  and  the  reference  to  ‘gilding’  and  ‘heavenly  alchemy’.    However   the  word  ‘Flatter’  that  begins  line  two  undermines  this  with  a  sense  of  insincerity.    Although  it  also   means  to  stroke  also,  it  does  however  suggest  that  the  sun  made  the  mountains  appear  more  brilliant   than  they  in  fact  were.   The  second  quatrain  is  full  of  grief  at  the  loss  of  the  sunshine  w hich  clouds  riding  with  ‘ugly  rack  on  his   celestial  face’  blot  out.    The  volta  that  follows  in  the  sestet  suggests  a  problem  in  the  relationship  –   suggesting  ‘The  region  cloud  hath  mask’d  him  from  me  now’.    His  beauty  has  been  hidden  –  suggesting   maybe  something  he  has  done  has  caused  the  poet  some  pain.   Even  though  he  denies  it  in  the  concluding  rhyming  couplet,  he  has  clearly  been  hurt  by  w hat  has   happened.     Sonnet  34  is  linked  closely  to  the  previous  sonnet  in  thought  and  language.    The  offence  referred  to  –   ‘why  d idst  thou  promise  such  a  beauteous  day’  and  then  ‘let  base  clouds  o ’ertake  me  in  my  way’  –   suggest  a  deceit/deception  of  some  kind.    The  poet  is  puzzled  and  painfully  disappointed  by  the  youth   and  the  fact  he  has  allowed  the  poet  to  suffer  does  suggest  a  d enial  of  friendship.    As  such  there  are  a   number  of  allusions  to  religious  terminology:  ‘repent’,  ‘bear’s  the  strong  offence’s  cross’  and  ‘ransom’   and  this  brings  to  mind  Peter’s  denial  of  Christ  which  was  followed  by  his  repentance,  sorrow  and  tears.     Again,  the  sonnet  ends  with  a  reaffirmation  of  the  poet’s  love  and  his  forgiveness.     Sonnet  35  continues  the  theme.    The  sin  which  the  youth  committed  against  the  poet,  which  previously   appeared  a  denial  of  love  or  of  commitment,  here  is  described  also  as  a  ‘sensual  fault’.    This  implies  a  sin   of  the  flesh,  lust  for  another  person  or  merely  a  temporary  lapse  from  grace.   It  is  possible  what  he  did  is  linked  to  that  which  is  described  in  sonnets  40  –  43,  where  the  youth  steals   the  poet’s  mistress..   Again  the  language  o f  the  sestet  contains  legal  terminology  ‘advocate’,  ‘lawful  plea’  ,  ‘civil  w ar’  which  is  a   stark  contrast  to  the  biblical  and  theological  language  o f  sin  and  redemption  which  is  in  the  second   quatrain  and  the  previous  sonnet.    

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Sonnet 33     Full  many  a  glorious  morning  have  I  seen   Flatter  the  mountain  tops  with  sovereign  eye,   Kissing  with  golden  face  the  meadows  green,   Gilding  pale  streams  with  heavenly  alchemy;   Anon  permit  the  basest  clouds  to  ride   With  ugly  rack  on  his  celestial  face,   And  from  the  forlorn  world  his  visage  hide,   Stealing  unseen  to  west  with  this  disgrace:   Even  so  my  sun  one  early  morn  did  shine,   With  all  triumphant  splendour  on  my  brow;   But  out!  alack!  he  was  but  one  hour  mine,   The  region  cloud  hath  mask'd  him  from  me  now.              Yet  him  for  this  my  love  no  whit  disdaineth;              Suns  of  the  world  may  stain  when  heaven's  sun  staineth.    

Sonnet 34     Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day, And make me travel forth without my cloak, To let base clouds o'ertake me in my way, Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke? 'Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break, To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face, For no man well of such a salve can speak, That heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace: Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief; Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss: The offender's sorrow lends but weak relief To him that bears the strong offence's cross. Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds, And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.

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Sonnet 3     No more be griev'd at that which thou hast done: Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud: Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud. All men make faults, and even I in this, Authorizing thy trespass with compare, Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss, Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are; For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense, — Thy adverse party is thy advocate, — And 'gainst myself a lawful plea commence: Such civil war is in my love and hate, That I an accessary needs must be, To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.  7   7    


Sonnet 36   This  sonnet  suggests  a  separation  from  the  young  man:  “Let   me  confess  that  we  two  must  be  twain.”    The  necessity  of   separation  from  him  -­‐  ‘separable  spite’    -­‐  is  a  decision  made   out  of  w isdom  to  avoid  dishnonour  and  public  shame  –   although  what  that  shame  is,  is  open  to  debate    but  the  sense   of  loss  is  palpable  in  the  lines  ‘I  may  not  evermore   acknowledge  thee/  Lest  my  bewailed  guilt  should  do  thee   shame’.    

Sonnet 37   In  this  sonnet,  the  poet  takes  stock  and  reflects  on  what  the   youth  has  given  him.    Though  he  is  like  a  ‘decrepit  father’,   his  love  for  the  young  man’s  youth  and  spirit  transforms   him  so  that    ‘I  in  thy  abundance  am  sufficed’:  he  is  young   again.  

Sonnet 38   This  sonnet  ties  in  with  many  as  it  praises  the  youth  as  the   source  of  all  inspiration  –  there  are  at  least  9  other  sonnets   that  work  on  this  idea.    This  sonnet  helps  reinvest  the  youth   with  the  previous  beauty  and  fascination,  which  perhaps  had   been  fading  under  the  w eight  of  his  faults  as  shown  in  the   previous  sonnets.  

Sonnet 39   This  sonnet  affirms  the  need  for  them  to  live  apart  as  he   considers  the  young  man  ‘the  better  part  of  me’.    This  means   any  praise  he  gives  him  will  seem  like  self  praise  –  so  separation   will  allow  him  to  give  the  young  man  ‘That  due  to  see  which   thou  d eserv’st  alone’.    However  this  leaves  him  with  the  further   thought  that  he  w ill  have  to  endure  the  terrible  torment  of   absence.    He  tries  to  alleviate  this  by  suggesting  it  w on’t  be  so   bad  as  he  can  think  about  the  young  man  all  the  time.  

8   8    


Love Betrayed   Sonnets  40  –  42  provide  another  sequence  of  sonnets  in  which  the  poet  shares  his  possessions  and  his   mistress  with  the  young  man.        These  three  sonnets,  40-­‐42,  are  matched  by  three  in  the  dark  lady  sequence,   133,  134  and  144,  and  probably  relate  to  the  same  incident  or  series  of  incidents.  The  reasons  for  the  current   arrangement  are  not  known,  and  we  may  only  speculate  that  the  poet  perhaps  wished  the  three  later   sonnets,  addressed  to  his  mistress  to  balance  these  three  written  to  the  youth.     Sonnet  40     Sonnet  40  is  one  of  the  most  desolate  sonnets  in  the  entire  series.    The  poet  cannot  disguise  the  fact  his   beloved  youth  has  behaved  treacherously.  This  and  the  following  two  sonnets  try  to  come  to  terms  with  the   reality  of  deception  and  loss.     The  use  of  the  word  ‘love’  in  this  sonnet  means  at  least  three  different  things.    Two  of  these  meanings  are   addressed  in  the  first  line.  ‘Take  all  my  loves,  my  love,  yea  take  them  all.’    Here  ‘my  loves’  refers  to  the  poet’s   possessions,  both  physical  –  the  sonnets  themselves  –  and  emotional.    Following  this  the  phrase    ‘my  love’  ,   set  off,  refers  to  the  young  man  himself,  whom  the  poet  is  addressing.  Although  the  allusion  to  the  youth's   now  possessing  the  poet's  mistress  is  slight  in  this  sonnet,  line  6   —  "I  cannot  blame  thee  for  my  love  thou   usest"  —  contains  the  strongest  hint  of  this  new  relationship:  The  young  man  "usest"  the  poet's  mistress  —   "my  love."  But  it  also  suggests  he  is  taking  advantage  of  his  love  for  the  young  man  too.     The  poet  wavers  between  anger  at  and  forgiveness  of  the  young  man.  Line  7  begins,  "But  yet  be  blamed,"  and   we  expect  the  poet  to  rant  in  extreme  hostility  at  the  youth,  but  this  mood  then  shifts  to  the  forgiveness   contained  in  lines  9  and  10:  "I  do  forgive  thy  robb'ry,  gentle  thief,  /  Although  thou  steal  thee  all  my  poverty."   In  lines  11  and  12,  the  mood  shifts  again,  but  now  the  poet    contrasts  love  and  hate:  ".  .  .  it  is  a  greater  grief  /   To  bear  love's  wrong  than  hate's  known  injury."  And  finally,  even  while  angry  over  the  affair,  the  poet   forgives  the  youth's  lecherous  nature:  "Lascivious  grace,  in  whom  all  ill  well  shows,  /  Kill  me  with  spites;  yet   we  must  not  be  foes."   It  is  noticeable  that  this  sonnet  uses  the  word  'love'  considerably  more  than  in  any  other  sonnet  (10  times,   as  love,  love's  or  loves).  This  may  be  an  expression  of  the  fact  that  the  poet  feels  his  love  more  threatened   than  at  any  other  time,  and  by  repetition  of  the  word  he  will  cast  a  spell  by  it  and  prevent  it  from  flying  away.     Sonnet  41     In  order  to  forgive  the  youth  for  his  actions,  the  poet  places  himself  in  both  the  youth's  position  and  that  of   the  mistress.  In  the  sonnet's  first  four  lines,  the  poet  mildly  accuses  the  young  man  of  committing  small  sins,   but  he  then  goes  on  to  accept  the  youth's  actions  given  his  age  and  beauty.  The  youth's  behaviour,  so  the  poet   seems  to  say,  is  natural  and  expected.  However,  what  is  even  more  expected  is  that  others  attempt  to  gain   the  young  man's  affections:  "Beauteous  thou  art,  therefore  to  be  assailed."  This  reasoning  prompts  the  poet   to  blame  those  who  tempt  the  youth  rather  than  the  youth  himself.     Forgiveness  of  the  young  man  is  mixed  with  reprimand,  for  he  breaks  "a  twofold  truth"  —  the  poet  and  the   mistress'  affair  —  when  he  begins  loving  the  woman.  Although  the  poet  admonishes  the  youth,  his  tone  is   reserved,  in  part  because  he  suggests  that  the  youth  and  the  youth's  beauty  are  two  separate  things:  "And   chide  thy  beauty  and  thy  straying  youth,  /  Who  lead  thee  in  their  riot  even  there  /  Where  thou  art  forced  to   break  a  twofold  truth."  The  young  man  is  not  at  fault  for  coming  between  the  poet  and  the  mistress;  rather,   his  beauty  and  youth  "forced"  him  to  act  as  he  did.   Only  in  this  last  sonnet  concerning  the  youth  and  the  poet's  mistress  does  the  poet  make  fully  apparent  the   main  reason  for  his  being  so  upset:  "That  she  hath  thee  is  of  my  wailing  chief,  /  A  loss  in  love  that  touches  me   more  nearly."  The  poet  is  grieved  by  his  mistress'  infidelity,  but  he  laments  even  more  the  fact  that  she  has   what  he  so  ravenously  craves:  the  physical  and  emotional  attentions  of  the  young  man.  

9   9    


Sonnet 42

Only in  this  last  sonnet  concerning  the  youth  and  the  poet's  mistress  does  the  poet  make  fully   apparent  the  m ain  reason  for  his  b eing  so  upset:  "That  she  hath  thee  is  of  my  wailing  chief,  /  A  loss  in   love  that  touches  me  m ore  nearly."  The  poet  is  grieved  by  his  mistress'  infidelity,  but  he  laments  even   more  the  fact  that  she  has  what  he  so  ravenously  craves:  the  physical  and  emotional  attentions  of  the   young  man.     Reconciling  himself  to  his  mistress'  b ehavior  requires  all  the  poet's  powers  of  expression  and  self-­‐ deception.  He  m akes  the  torturous  argument  that  since  he  and  the  youth  share  personalities,  they   must  share  the  same  woman:  "But  here's  the  joy:  my  friend  and  I  are  one;  /  Sweet  flattery!  then  she   loves  but  me  alone."  Likewise,  because  the  poet  loves  the  woman,  and  because  the  woman  is  having   an  affair  with  the  young  man,  then  the  rational  conclusion  —  according  to  the  poet  —  is  that  the  poet   and  the  youth  are  that  much  closer  in  their  relationship  

Sonnet 40 Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all; What hast thou then more than thou hadst before? No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call; All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more. Then, if for my love, thou my love receivest, I cannot blame thee, for my love thou usest; But yet be blam'd, if thou thy self deceivest By wilful taste of what thyself refusest. I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief, Although thou steal thee all my poverty: And yet, love knows it is a greater grief To bear love's wrong, than hate's known injury. Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows, Kill me with spites yet we must not be foes.

10   10    


Sonnet 41 Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits, When I am sometime absent from thy heart, Thy beauty, and thy years full well befits, For still temptation follows where thou art. Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won, Beauteous thou art, therefore to be assail'd; And when a woman woos, what woman's son Will sourly leave her till he have prevail'd? Ay me! but yet thou mightst my seat forbear, And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth, Who lead thee in their riot even there Where thou art forced to break a twofold truth: — Hers by thy beauty tempting her to thee, Thine by thy beauty being false to me.

Sonnet 42 That thou hast her it is not all my grief, And yet it may be said I loved her dearly; That she hath thee is of my wailing chief, A loss in love that touches me more nearly. Loving offenders thus I will excuse ye: Thou dost love her, because thou know'st I love her; And for my sake even so doth she abuse me, Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her. If I lose thee, my loss is my love's gain, And losing her, my friend hath found that loss; Both find each other, and I lose both twain, And both for my sake lay on me this cross: But here's the joy; my friend and I are one; Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.

11   11    


1.

‘From fairest creatures we desire increase, That thereby beauty's rose might never die’ ‘Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament And only herald to the gaudy spring’

2.

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow, And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field

12.

see the brave day sunk in hideous night When lofty trees I see barren of leaves, Which erst from heat did canopy the herd, And summer's green all girded up in sheaves, Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence

13.

Who lets so fair a house fall to decay, Which husbandry in honour might uphold, Against the stormy gusts of winter's day And barren rage of death's eternal cold?

18.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd: But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

20.

A woman's face with nature's own hand painted Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting

29.

Haply I think on thee, - and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate’ 12   12    


33.

Full many a glorious morning have I seen Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye, Kissing with golden face the meadows green, Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy; Anon permit the basest clouds to ride With ugly rack on his celestial face, And from the forlorn world his visage hide, Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace: Even so my sun one early morn did shine, With all triumphant splendour on my brow; But out! alack! he was but one hour mine, The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now. Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth; Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.

34

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day, And make me travel forth without my cloak, To let base clouds o'ertake me in my way, Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke? 'Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break, To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,

35

Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud: Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.

13   13    


Shakespeare’s love  sonnets  are  intensely  personal  and  address  the  deep  issues  of  life.    Love  is  dealt  w ith  most   comprehensively.    The  two  main  subjects  of  the  speaker’s  love  –  the  ‘fair  young  man’  and  the  ‘dark  lady’  -­‐have   fascinated  critics  o ver  the  centuries.    Scholars  have  explored  the  Elizabethan  times  and  Shakespeare’s  sonnets   to  try  and  identify  these  two  figures  and  there  are  several  theories,  although  there  is  some  consensus  around   the  identity  of  the  young  man.    He  seems  to  have  been  the  Earl  of  Southampton,  Shakespeare’s  patron  between   1592  and  1595.   Love  in  the  sonnets  does  not  have  a  single  definition.    Rather,  the  sonnets  proved  an  intangible  collection  of   characteristics  that  together  make  up  a  powerful  force  that  defeats  all  obstacles.       The  first  mention  of  love  occurs  in  sonnet  13  when  the  speaker  addresses  the  young  man  as  ‘ love’  and  ‘Dear  my   love’,  but  it  is  not  until  sonnet  18  that  the  true  depth  of  the  speaker’s  feelings  become  clear.     18.  

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd: But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st, So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

20.

thou, the master mistress of my passion

But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure, Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure. 21.

O! let me, true in love, but truly write, And then believe me, my love is as fair As any mother's child,

22.

For all that beauty that doth cover thee, Is but the seemly raiment of my heart, Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me: 14   14    


22.

Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain, Thou gav’st me thine not to give back again.

27.

For then my thoughts — from far where I abide — Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee my soul's imaginary sight Presents thy shadow to my sightless view, Which, like a jewel (hung in ghastly night, Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.

29.

Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising, Haply I think on thee, — and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate,; For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

36.

In our two loves there is but one respect - I love thee in such sort, As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

40

Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all; What hast thou then more than thou hadst before? No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call; All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more. Then, if for my love, thou my love receivest, I cannot blame thee, for my love thou usest; But yet be blam'd, if thou thy self deceivest By wilful taste of what thyself refusest. I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief, Although thou steal thee all my poverty: And yet, love knows it is a greater grief To bear love's wrong, than hate's known injury. Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows, Kill me with spites yet we must not be foes.

42

That she hath thee is of my wailing chief, A loss in love that touches me more nearly. Loving offenders thus I will excuse ye: Thou dost love her, because thou know'st I love her;

15   15    


42

If I lose thee, my loss is my love's gain, And losing her, my friend hath found that loss; Both find each other, and I lose both twain, And both for my sake lay on me this cross: But here's the joy; my friend and I are one; Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.

Task Consider  how  Shakespeare  presents  ideas  of  love  in  the  first  42  sonnets.   You  should  look  at:   • • • •

Images he  uses  to  describe  love   How  the  structure  of  the  sonnets  helps  to  reinforce  his  ideas   The  conflicts  between  sexual  and  ideal  love   The  influence  of  beauty  on  love  

How nature  is  used  to  explore  ideas  o f  love.  

1  6   16    

Shakespeare's Love Sonnets  

A look at love and nature in sonnets 18 - 42

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