William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet 149: Canst Thou, O Cruel, Say I Love Thee Not - Poem by William Shakespeare

Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not,
When I against my self with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee when I forgot
Am of my self, all tyrant, for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?
On whom frown'st thou that I do fawn upon?
Nay, if thou lour'st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon my self with present moan?
What merit do I in my self respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind:
Those that can see thou lov'st, and I am blind.


Comments about Sonnet 149: Canst Thou, O Cruel, Say I Love Thee Not by William Shakespeare

  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/1/2016 6:39:00 PM)


    A sonnet that is one of the 'frenzied' group that starts with 147, My love is as a fever longing still, and continues up to150, possibly also including the last two of the series,151 and 152. What is striking about this one is the number of echoes it brings back from the earlier sonnets to the youth, perhaps because it is seeking deliberately to contrast the pure love of that period with the tainted love he has for his dark lady, possibly because the language of love, as it was then defined, forced upon the sonneteer a certain number of conventional ideas which were used and re-used, many re-appearing frequently in slightly different clothing, like a play which is performed by too few actors.
    ..
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/1/2016 6:38:00 PM)


    Here the poet protests his devotion to his cruel beloved, detailing the many ways in which he has shown willingness to serve her. Nevertheless she is unresponsive, and does not repay love with love. His conclusion is framed in the conventional terms of the blindness of love, and the deduction that his mistress does not love those who cannot see what is before their eyes. It is probably not necessary to interpret the conclusion in any real psychological sense, for one suspects it has little or no bearing on what the woman herself was thinking. Its importance is more that it shows the poet casting round desperately for a solution, trying to come to terms with his rejection, and in the end only succeeding in explaining it in terms of rather worn out sonneteering conventions, which leave him as blind as ever.

    shakespeares-sonnets.com/
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  • Brian Jani (4/26/2014 6:11:00 AM)


    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: respect, hate, friend, love, sonnet



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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