Shakespeare Sonnets 20 & 116 (Love)

SONNET 20:

A woman’s face with Nature’s own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all ‘hues’ in his controlling,
Much steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure

SONNET 116:Β 

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-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering 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.

– William Shakespeare.

****

Shakespeare was so ahead of his time. Regardless if these two sonnets were in fact written to/about his male lover or not, they are still absolutely beautiful and perhaps the best poems about love ever written. Love is always love, and love does not discriminate.

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12 thoughts on “Shakespeare Sonnets 20 & 116 (Love)

  1. By The Hilt says:

    That first sonnet actually came across to me as rather sexist, but to each their own, I guess. I do love that second sonnet, however. I remember memorizing it in highschool. It is certainly inspirational.

    1. thepoeticgoblin says:

      Yes, I can see that perspective, but I am willing to give Shakespeare the benefit of the doubt considering when he lived! The second one is certainly the superior one, definitely.

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