William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet 150: O From What Power Hast Thou This Powerful Might - Poem by William Shakespeare

O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
With insufficiency my heart to sway?
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
There is such strength and warrantise of skill
That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,
The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
O, though I love what others do abhor,
With others thou shouldst not abhor my state.
If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
More worthy I to be beloved of thee.


Comments about Sonnet 150: O From What Power Hast Thou This Powerful Might by William Shakespeare

  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/1/2016 6:44:00 PM)


    There is little doubt that this sonnet covers the same ground as that traced in sonnet 116
    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:
    This may seem a piece of gratuitous blasphemy to those who have read both sonnets, but a short consideration of the similarities might occasion a change of mind. Firstly I draw attention to the echo from the marriage service in line 10, Therefore, if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else here after forever hold his peace. The whole sonnet is seeking a just cause as to why his love should not continue, just as 116 sought to overcome impediments to the eternity of loving, the mere baggage of time being one of them. It would not be a just criticism if we chose to recognise the links to the marriage service in 116 (which is after all only provided by the word 'impediments') and yet decided to ignore those same links in this sonnet, which also is exploratory of the nature of love. For the text from the relevant part of the marriage service of the 1559 Book of Common Prayer is as follows:

    Therefore, if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else here after forever hold his peace.

    And from this sonnet:

    The more I hear and see just cause of hate Line 10
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/1/2016 6:44:00 PM)


    Here however the impediments appear to be more serious at first sight, the moral blackness and moral ugliness of the beloved being the most serious obstacles to a continuation of love. But why, one might ask, why should the unworthiness of the loved one be the cause of cancelling one's bond, as if the need for it to exist can disappear as soon as one discovers that the object loved has altered from what one supposed it first to be? For if one accepts such an argument, that love may alter when it alteration finds, then love becomes merely a mercenary transaction, and a more fitting place for it is the tradesman's mart, and not the churches of Christendom. And that is precisely what 116 sought to deny. Now, when confronted with an embodiment of 116's postulated eternal love, how is the lover going to respond? (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/1/2016 6:43:00 PM)


    One of the differences between this sonnet and 116 is that this one is framed as a series of questions, to which there appear to be no answers, whereas 116 is a series of declarations, positive and almost oratorical, but which in the final analysis cannot be substantiated. Another telling difference is that 116 deals with love as a sort of abstraction, whereas this sonnet deals with love for a particular person, who turns out not to be quite as ideal as the ideal of love demands. Therefore one is thrust back on the defensive, seeking to define what are the true limits of love and to discover if it has a terminus beyond which one should not go. The three questions raised in this sonnet, What power? , Whence? and Who? seem to invite only two possible answers, Cupid, the blind God who is the power of love, or Satan, and the powers of darkness, a somewhat terrifying choice. And what is more, the love here depicted is more insistent and inescapable than that in 116, partly because it has a sexual motive force, partly because of its own mysterious regenerative force, which defies all reason. The former sonnet perhaps too complacently supposed that the love which would last for all time would be a mutual love. Here the horrifying reality emerges that despite his self sacrificing love for the woman he desires, the poet achieves nothing and he is not loved in return, so the 'eternal love in love's fresh case' looks decidedly limp and deformed, with only one side considering it to be love at all, and the other party being entirely indifferent to what is happening. It is the tragedy of this renunciation which brings on his frenzied loving and the insistent series of questions and accusations which inform and shape this painfully raw group of sonnets.

    shakespeares-sonnets.com/s
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  • Brian Jani (4/26/2014 6:15:00 AM)


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

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Read poems about / on: hate, strength, power, love, heart, sonnet



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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