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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

  • Rookie Gabby Cromwell (3/10/2018 1:40:00 PM)

    I love this sonnet. I first started reading Shakespeare yesterday. I am 10 years old. (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 0 Points Lungisani Khumalo (7/3/2017 5:08:00 AM)

    This was my favourite poem in high school, (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Bronze Star - 2,651 Points Folorunso Oladipo Daniel (6/1/2016 3:24:00 PM)

    Love is eternally made, it never fades, lost neither limited. Once a love is love then it is indeed love which last abs endures all till the end. (Report) Reply

    7 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 171,167 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.
    (Report) Reply

    32 person liked.
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  • Gold Star - 171,167 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

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  • Gold Star - 171,167 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.''
    (Report) Reply

    27 person liked.
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  • Freshman - 850 Points Duncan Stephen (11/21/2015 11:40:00 AM)

    Typical Shakespeare love poem. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 206 Points Meshack Bankole (11/20/2015 1:32:00 AM)

    Shakespeare rocks me all the time...
    great sonnet!
    (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 258,326 Points Rajnish Manga (2/14/2015 4:46:00 AM)

    It is a dazzling gem in the treasure trove of English poetry, courtesy William Shakespeare. And the following line of the sonnet is like a mantra for those in love: Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, (Report) Reply

    8 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 87 Points Reshma Joy (12/3/2014 4:28:00 AM)

    i loved this poem since the first time i read it! a beautiful definition of love is stated here.... (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 22 comments »
Marriage Poems
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    William Shakespeare
  2. 2. "To Speak Of Woe That Is In Marriag..
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  3. 3. A Marriage Of Two
    Lovina Sylvia Chidi
  4. 4. Call It A Good Marriage
    Robert Graves
  5. 5. The Country Of Marriage
    Wendell Berry
  6. 6. Proverbs Of Hell (Excerpt From The Marri..
    William Blake
  7. 7. The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
    William Blake
  8. 8. Marriage
    Khalil Gibran
  9. 9. Marriage
    Marianne Moore
  10. 10. Marriage
    Hasmukh Amathalal
  11. 11. (why Sex Before Marriage?)
    Marvin Brato Sr
  12. 12. Sonnet Cxvi: Let Me Not To The Marriage ..
    William Shakespeare
  13. 13. To Speak Of Woe That Is In Marriage
    Robert Lowell
  14. 14. Marriage
    Gregory Corso
  15. 15. The Ache Of Marriage
    Denise Levertov
  16. 16. Jane's Marriage
    Rudyard Kipling
  17. 17. Marriage Bells
    Emma Lazarus
  18. 18. Is Marriage A Forced......I
    Hasmukh Amathalal
  19. 19. Old Marriage Style
    Hasmukh Amathalal
  20. 20. Marriage Morning
    Alfred Lord Tennyson
  21. 21. On The Marriage Of A Virgin
    Dylan Thomas
  22. 22. After 20 Years Of Marriage
    Leo Yankevich
  23. 23. A Marriage Of Two Is For Love That Is Tr..
    Shashi Dhar Kumar
  24. 24. Marriage Song
    Yehudah HaLevi
  25. 25. A Marriage-Table
    Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
  26. 26. The Marriage Of Geraint
    Alfred Lord Tennyson
  27. 27. Idylls Of The King: Song From The Marria..
    Alfred Lord Tennyson
  28. 28. Sonnets Cxvi: Let Me Not To The Marriage..
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  29. 29. Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow
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  30. 30. Marriage A-La-Mode
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  31. 31. Child Marriage
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  32. 32. The Perfect Marriage
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  33. 33. Marriage Ceremony
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  34. 34. Written Shortly After The Marriage Of Mi..
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  35. 35. ' ' ' ' ' 'The Marriage Of Heaven & Hell
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  36. 36. Composed On The Eve Of The Marriage Of A..
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  37. 37. A Marriage Ring
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  38. 38. Marriage & Love
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  39. 39. The Progress Of Marriage
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  40. 40. Epithalamium: A Marriage Poem
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  41. 41. For The Marriage Of Faustus And Helen
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  42. 42. A Marriage Of Two Is For Love That Is True
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  43. 43. *child Marriage? ; Child In Marriage?
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  45. 45. Freedom In Your Marriage?
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  46. 46. Why Marriage?
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  47. 47. The Marriage Of Edward Herbert Esquire, ..
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  48. 48. On Marriage
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  49. 49. For A Marriage Of St. Catherine By Hans ..
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Marriage Poems

  1. The Country Of Marriage

    I. I dream of you walking at night along the streams of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs of birds opening around you as you walk. You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep. II. This comes after silence. Was it something I said that bound me to you, some mere promise or, worse, the fear of loneliness and death? A man lost in the woods in the dark, I stood still and said nothing. And then there rose in me, like the earth's empowering brew rising in root and branch, the words of a dream of you I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer who feels the solace of his native land under his feet again and moving in his blood. I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss that lay before me, but only the level ground. III. Sometimes our life reminds me of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing and in that opening a house, an orchard and garden, comfortable shades, and flowers red and yellow in the sun, a pattern made in the light for the light to return to. The forest is mostly dark, its ways to be made anew day after day, the dark richer than the light and more blessed, provided we stay brave enough to keep on going in. IV. How many times have I come to you out of my head with joy, if ever a man was, for to approach you I have given up the light and all directions. I come to you lost, wholly trusting as a man who goes into the forest unarmed. It is as though I descend slowly earthward out of the air. I rest in peace in you, when I arrive at last. V. Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange of my love and work for yours, so much for so much of an expendable fund. We don't know what its limits are-- that puts us in the dark. We are more together than we know, how else could we keep on discovering we are more together than we thought? You are the known way leading always to the unknown, and you are the known place to which the unknown is always leading me back. More blessed in you than I know, I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing not belittled by my saying that I possess it. Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light enough to live, and then accepts the dark, passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I have fallen tine and again from the great strength of my desire, helpless, into your arms. VI. What I am learning to give you is my death to set you free of me, and me from myself into the dark and the new light. Like the water of a deep stream, love is always too much. We did not make it. Though we drink till we burst we cannot have it all, or want it all. In its abundance it survives our thirst. In the evening we come down to the shore to drink our fill, and sleep, while it flows through the regions of the dark. It does not hold us, except we keep returning to its rich waters thirsty. We enter, willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy. VII. I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark, containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning. I give you the life I have let live for the love of you: a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road, the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life that we have planted in the ground, as I have planted mine in you. I give you my love for all beautiful and honest women that you gather to yourself again and again, and satisfy--and this poem, no more mine than any man's who has loved a woman.

  2. Call It A Good Marriage

    Call it a good marriage - For no one ever questioned Her warmth, his masculinity, Their interlocking views; Except one stray graphologist Who frowned in speculation At her h's and her s's, His p's and w's. Though few would still subscribe To the monogamic axiom That strife below the hip-bones Need not estrange the heart, Call it a good marriage: More drew those two together, Despite a lack of children, Than pulled them apart. Call it a good marriage: They never fought in public, They acted circumspectly And faced the world with pride; Thus the hazards of their love-bed Were none of our damned business - Till as jurymen we sat on Two deaths by suicide.

  3. "To Speak Of Woe That Is In Marriage&Quot;

    "The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open. Our magnolia blossoms.Life begins to happen. My hopped up husband drops his home disputes, and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes, free-lancing out along the razor's edge. This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge. Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust. . . It's the injustice . . . he is so unjust-- whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five. My only thought is how to keep alive. What makes him tick?Each night now I tie ten dollars and his car key to my thigh. . . . Gored by the climacteric of his want, he stalls above me like an elephant."

  4. A Marriage Of Two

    A marriage of two is for love that is true A marriage of two is always something new A marriage of two happens sometimes out of the blue A marriage of two is worth it when its due A marriage of two is a marriage of trust Many can find themselves lost It can be an expensive cost They are only very few who have a clue of when love accrues A marriage of two is about love making It is not about money raking A marriage of two can be bad A marriage of two can be sad You should only be glad if A marriage of two is for love that is true Copyright 2005 - Sylvia Chidi

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