Monday Poem: “Sonnet 116″ by Shakespeare

The Monday Poem

I have a genuine affection for Shakespeare’s sonnets – particularly this one. Not only is the rhythm and rhyme scheme extremely pleasing to the reader, but the sentiment is quite endearingly romantic.

Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

(courtesy of this site)

One of the few fragments of Shakespeare I actually have memorised (although I can recognise most of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet as well thanks to High School English classes), this is one of those verses that resurfaces from time to time in my head when I’m feeling particularly down or upset. There is something about the strength of the rhythm and the certainty of the lines, “Love is not love/that alters when it alteration finds…” which always picks my spirits up. Or perhaps I’m just a hopeless romantic. Take your pick!

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