William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet Cxliv - Poem by William Shakespeare

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 colour'd 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 turn'd 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.


Comments about Sonnet Cxliv by William Shakespeare

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:15:00 PM)

    A sonnet that is considered by many to be the key to understanding Shakespeare's attitude to love. It plays out the old battle between spiritual and physical love, a subject which had been the jousting field of argument for centuries. The poet seems to ally himself with the traditionalists who believed that the nature of woman was such as to corrupt pure love. In Platonic terms she was the material dross of which bodies were made, but the spiritual ideal love was independent of her, and true love could really only subsist between males. (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:15:00 PM)

    In terms of Christian theology, woman was the devil and was responsible for the fall since she had tempted man to eat forbidden fruit. Any form of congress with a woman was corrupting, and the ideal life would always be one of chastity and abstention from sex. The doctrine was alleviated slightly by devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, but despite giving birth she was a virgin and worshipped as the Blessed Virgin Mary. A mitigation to this view was the reality of life itself, which always returned to insist that the majority of men would continue to desire women. (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani Brian Jani (4/26/2014 9:38:00 AM)

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

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Read poems about / on: angel, despair, evil, pride, woman, friend, fire, sonnet, women



Poem Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001



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