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Sonnet 92: But Do Thy Worst To Steal Thyself Away

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But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
For term of life thou art assured mine;
And life no longer than thy love will stay,
For it depends upon that love of thine.
Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs,
When in the least of them my life hath end.
I see a better state to me belongs
Than that which on thy humour doth depend:
Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,
Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie.

O what a happy title do I find,
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

.shakespeares-sonnets.com/ This sonnet may be read as a piece of defensive sophistry against the threatened demise of love. The bold assertion that love will persist for the natural term of life, if not for all eternity, responds to a distant echo of the more famous 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: But here there is no such confident defiance of time, for the beloved's unfaithfulness is almost a foregone conclusion and is characterised by such unflattering descriptions as stealing away, the worst of wrongs, thy humour, inconstant mind, revolt, being false. The only escape is the mystical one of becoming one of the souls of the blest in some Avalon 'Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly'. But unfortunately this blessed paradise is shattered by the intruding consciousness of betrayal, a recognition of which has been smothered by the determined irrationality of the body of the poem, and the escape from pain achieved by sudden death. The concluding thought however seems to allow that even the bliss of heaven may be tainted by the memory of loss, and that there is no paradise anywhere in the universe.

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Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

... SB (p.298) notes that Two Gentlemen of Verona V.4.108-20 employs many themes and words that also occur in this sonnet. The words common to both are love, blot, inconstant(cy) , blest (blessed) , happy. The thematic links are that Proteus is a flawed and feckless character who attempts to betray Julia, and the youth of the sonnets is a similar character. Also that the speakers envisage themselves to be blest and in heaven by being reunited with their loved ones. However the agonised and despairing tone of this sonnet separates it somewhat from the easy solution that the denouement of TGV offers. There the lovers are reunited in bliss, here the rankling sense that something is seriously wrong continues. .shakespeares-sonnets.com/

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Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

.shakespeares-sonnets.com/ 1. But do thy worst to steal thyself away, This first line links to the concluding couplet of the previous sonnet, where it was suggested that the beloved might take all this away (i.e.his love) . Here the situation of that happening is faced, with some sophistry, probably not intended to convince. The 'taking away' of the previous sonnet has become 'stealing away' in this one. do thy worst - The phrase has almost the same meaning as its opposite, do thy best, but by this inversion the idea is conveyed that the action foreseen is a dubious and dishonest one. steal thyself away - this conveys the meaning both of 'slinking off' and 'removing something furtively, as a thief does'. Neither image is flattering to the beloved. 2. For term of life thou art assured mine; term = the period of a contract. term of life is a phrase used in legal documents. assured - apart from the standard meaning of 'certain, confirmed' there is more than a hint of legal terminology. assured could mean betrothed, or having submitted to a contract of marriage. As the following: To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid claim to me, call'd me Dromio; swore I was assured to her; CE.III.2. 3. And life no longer than thy love will stay, When your love departs from me, my life will end. This could be a threat of suicide, or it could be a statement of what the poet feels must happen if he is deserted. Either way it has more than a hint of emotional blackmail. But see note to line 6 below. 4. For it depends upon that love of thine. it depends upon = it (my life) is controlled by, is subject to, is sustained by etc.

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Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

5. Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs, Then need I not = therefore I do not need; the worst of wrongs - from the context of this and the preceding two sonnets we know that this worst of wrongs is the cessation of love and the casting aside of his love by the youth. 6. When in the least of them my life hath end. in the least of them = as a result of the least of wrongs. Having said above that the withdrawal of love, the worst of wrongs, will cause him to die, it now seems slightly puzzling that the least of wrongs will have the same effect. The poet may be turning his attention to, or even satirising, the parlance of lovers, according to which even the least frown is enough to kill. Compare Rosalind's disclaimers to Orlando in As You Like It: Ros. Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love. Orl. I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind, for I protest her frown might kill me. Ros. By this hand, it will not kill a fly. AYL.IV.1.101-5. 7. I see a better state to me belongs better state = the condition of being a blessed soul in heaven. 8. Than that which on thy humour doth depend: humour = whim, caprice; temperament. The word is used in the previous sonnet also. depend also links to the line above, the conclusion here being that the speaker's current state of dependency is not all that desirable 9. Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind, vex = cause pain, trouble, harass; inconstant mind = fickleness, faithlessness. There seems to be a verbal play on canst not and constant, one being an anagram of the other. Also perhaps a recall of sonnet 89, line 5, Thou canst not, love, disgrace me half so ill, which echoes this line. 10. Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie. Since that = because; revolt = turning away, betrayal. doth lie = is dependent on.

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Brian Jani 26 April 2014

Awesome I like this poem, check mine out

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