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Sonnet 116: Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds - Poem by William 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-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring 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.


Comments about Sonnet 116: Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds by William Shakespeare

  • Gold Star - 95,940 Points Fabrizio Frosini (1/17/2016 1:50:00 PM)

    Although in former times this sonnet was almost universally read as a paean to ideal and eternal love, with which all readers could easily identify, adding their own dream of perfection to what they found within it, modern criticism makes it possible to look beneath the idealism and to see some hints of a world which is perhaps slightly more disturbed than the poet pretends. In the first place it is important to see that the sonnet belongs in this place, sandwiched between three which discuss the philosophical question of how love deceives both eye and mind and judgement, and is then followed by four others which attempt to excuse the poet's own unfaithfulness and betrayal of the beloved. Set in such a context it does of course make it appear even more like a battered sea-mark which nevetheless rises above the waves of destruction, for it confronts all the vicissitudes that have afflicted the course of the love described in these sonnets, and declares that, in the final analysis, they are of no account.
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  • Gold Star - 95,940 Points Fabrizio Frosini (1/17/2016 1:47:00 PM)

    In addition, despite the idealism, there is an undercurrent of subversion which permeates all. It is ironic that a poem as famous as this should be seized on by the establishment as a declaration of their view of what love should be. Does the establishment view take account of the fact that this is a love poem written by a man to another man, and that the one impediment to their marriage is precisely that, for no church of the time, or scarcely even today, permits a man to marry a man? It is useless to object that Shakespeare is here talking of the marriage of true minds, for the language inevitably draws us to the Christain marriage service and its accompanying ceremonies, and that is a ceremony designed specifically to marry two people, not two abstract Platonic ideals which have decided to be wed. It is almost as if the exclamation 'Oh No! ' in the second quatrain is a recognition of this one great impediment that overhangs all others 'and all alone stands hugely politic'. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 95,940 Points Fabrizio Frosini (1/17/2016 1:16:00 PM)

    Of course it is partly due to the slow process of being drawn into the sonnets, with their continuous change and varying cycles of elation and depression, that the view is gradually inculcated into one's soul that this is a history of love which anyone might have known, a mortal and immortal love such as any two lovers in the tide of times might have experienced, or might even be experiencing now. We tend to forget that it is also an unconventional love, even more unconventional in the Elizabethan world than it is today. But it is precisely this unconventionality that gives to the sonnets their subversive tone, and it is that tone which forces us, not so much to be on the defensive, but to question more profoundly what we mean by the word love. What is that strange attraction which draws two minds so irresistibly together? Must we classify or restrict it? Does it depend on time, or place, on beliefs, on the sex of the lovers, on the Church, or politics, life, death, change, removal, doom, eternity, the day of judgement? Or on none of these? Is human love an allegory of divine love?
    Or should one prefer instead the all too human conclusion of W. H. Auden:
    ''I thought that love would last forever. I was wrong.''

    shakespeares-sonnets.com/ (Report) Reply

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Poems About Marriage

  1. 1. Sonnet 116: Let Me Not To The Marriage O.. , William Shakespeare
  2. 2. On The Wedding Of The Aeronaut , Ambrose Bierce
  3. 3. Marriage , Mathilde Blind
  4. 4. Epithalamion , Edmund Spenser
  5. 5. A Wedding-Song , John White Chadwick
  6. 6. On Marriage , Richard Crashaw
  7. 7. The Ideal Husband To His Wife , Sam Walter Foss
  8. 8. The Fire At Tranter Sweatley's , Thomas Hardy
  9. 9. Marriage , Khalil Gibran
  10. 10. Epithalamium , John Gardiner Calkins Brainard
  11. 11. On His Eightieth Birthday , Walter Savage Landor
  12. 12. Hyla Brook , Robert Frost
  13. 13. The Wedded Lover , Christopher Morley
  14. 14. The Retort. , George Pope Morris
  15. 15. The Deserted Wife , James Gates Percival
  16. 16. A Song Of Spring And Autumn , Francis Turner Palgrave
  17. 17. Any Husband To Many A Wife , Emily Pfeiffer
  18. 18. The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter , Ezra Pound
  19. 19. A Reasonable Affliction , Matthew Prior
  20. 20. To My Dear And Loving Husband , Anne Bradstreet
  21. 21. Romeo And Juliet , Richard Brautigan
  22. 22. A Marriage , Robert Creeley
  23. 23. Marriage Bells , Emma Lazarus
  24. 24. "To Speak Of Woe That Is In Marriag.. , Robert Lowell
  25. 25. Marriage Morning , Alfred Lord Tennyson
  26. 26. Reprise , Ogden Nash
  27. 27. The Marriage , Edwin Arnold
  28. 28. Never Marry But For Love , William Penn
  29. 29. Chateau If , Peter Gizzi
  30. 30. Marriage Songs , George MacDonald
  31. 31. Mute Marriages , Erica Jong
  32. 32. Ode. Supposed To Be Written On The Marri.. , William Cowper
  33. 33. On Marriage. , Robert Crawford
  34. 34. The Perfect Marriage , Vachel Lindsay
  35. 35. To A Friend On His Marriage , Samuel Rogers
  36. 36. To A Lady Before Marriage , Thomas Tickell
  37. 37. Call It A Good Marriage , Robert Graves
  38. 38. A Marriage Of Two , Sylvia Chidi
  39. 39. I Do, I Will, I Have , Ogden Nash
  40. 40. I'M Blest , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  41. 41. The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell , William Blake
  42. 42. Marriage , hasmukh amathalal
  43. 43. (why Sex Before Marriage?) , Marvin Brato Sr
  44. 44. Is Marriage A Forced......I , hasmukh amathalal
  45. 45. A Marriage-Table , Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
  46. 46. A Marriage Of Two Is For Love That Is Tr.. , Shashidhar Kumar
  47. 47. Love , mike monahan
  48. 48. Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow , John Dryden
  49. 49. Marriage A-La-Mode , John Dryden
  50. 50. Wife To Be (Petrarchan Sonnet) , Mark R Slaughter
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