William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet Cxli - Poem by William Shakespeare

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote;


Comments about Sonnet Cxli by William Shakespeare

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (2/29/2016 11:11:00 AM)

    *************
    Sonnet Cxli

    In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
    For they in thee a thousand errors note;
    But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
    Who, in despite of view, is pleased to dote.
    Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;
    Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
    Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
    To any sensual feast with thee alone:
    But my five wits nor my five senses can
    Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
    Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
    Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
    Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
    That she that makes me sin awards me pain.
    ************************************************ (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:02:00 PM)

    The poet runs through a catalogue of the senses, to see what it is that attracts him to his mistress. In fact he finds nothing, and therefore concludes that it must be some perverseness in his heart that forces him to love her and to be her slave. His reward is that she gives him penances for the sin he is committing in loving her. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:01:00 PM)

    The poem is thought to rely heavily on 'The Banquet of the Senses', an allegorical story based on Ovid. But it has other antecedents as well, and one should not overlook the fact that it is almost a continuation sonnet to 130, My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; for in that sonnet the appeal is made to the senses of sight (colour of lips, teeth, flesh etc.) , hearing (the sound of her voice) , smell (reek of her breath) , and possibly taste (lips) , none of which are enraptured by what they find. There are also other examples in the literature which run through a similar catalogue of the senses, and I have included a sonnet below by William Smith. It is much more conventional than this one of Shakespeare's, in that the beloved has all the beauteous characteristics expected, for, even though they are not detailed, they are such as to give him exquisite pleasure, and the amber breath and crystal eyes stand in place of the usual coral, snow, pearls, ivory and gold with which Venus had bedecked the beloved. I have also included a short extract from Barnabe Barnes's Parthenophil and Parthenophe which I take to be relevant. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:01:00 PM)

    There is therefore an element of parody in this sonnet of Shakespeare's, as there was in the equivalent sonnet 130. For that reason it brings us down to earth with a bump, for it tears us away from the tortured conceits of the sonneteers, and perhaps from our own idealisations of the beings we love, and forces us to accept that the things we love often have an earthly and earthy beauty, much less than a divine one. For we also know that love is a power beyond rationality, and that it does not depend on the beloved being made of coral, or ivory, or rubies, but of flesh and blood with all its imperfections. The falseness lies in worshipping humans as if they were all Venuses and Adonises. The poet here finds himself perplexed that the woman he loves does not appeal to his five senses, as the tradition of sonneteering insists that she must, and yet he still loves and desires her. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:00:00 PM)

    FULL TEXT OF

    Sonnet Cxli


    In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
    For they in thee a thousand errors note;
    But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
    Who, in despite of view, is pleased to dote.
    Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;
    Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
    Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
    To any sensual feast with thee alone:
    But my five wits nor my five senses can
    Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
    Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
    Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
    Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
    That she that makes me sin awards me pain. (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani Brian Jani (4/26/2014 9:35:00 AM)

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

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Read poems about / on: faith, heart, love, sonnet



Poem Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001



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