Most of the sonnets composed by Shakespeare are related with adulation of the fair friend

Most of the sonnets composed by Shakespeare are related with adulation of the fair friend. Many eminent critics have agreed that the ‘Fair Friend’ is Earl of Southampton. The sonnets from 1 to 126 are all written about the praise of The Earl of Southampton. For example, in Sonnet No. 53, Shakespeare describes in the following line:

Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit

Is poorly imitated after you;

On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,

And you in Grecian true are painted new:

In sonnets from to 126, Shakespeare has praised the beauty and expresses his devotion to the Earl of Southampton. Even in sonnets dealing with his infatuation with the Dark Lady he has referred to the triangular of love for the Dark Lady. By a freak of fortune, the Dark Lady had become the beloved of the Southampton Shakespeare describes this situation in Sonnet No. 144. The following lines of the sonnet refer to his love for Southampton and the Dark Lady.

Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,

Which like two spirits do suggest me still :

The better angel is a man right fair,

The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.

To win me soon to hell, my female evil

Tempeth my better angel from my side.

In these lines. Shakespeare refers also to the love of Southampton for the Dark Lady.

The sonnet concludes with the following lines:

Yet this shall I ne’er know, but Eve in doubt,

Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

Southampton, the Patron of Shakespeare:

Inspite of all differences of opinion about the fair friend. The general consensus about the fair friend is that he is Earl of Southampton. A.L. Rouse comments on the warm relation between Shakespeare and Southampton in the following extract:

“And yet the year 1593 witnesses a remarkable growth of warmth in their relations, an emotional involvement which concerns not only Shakespeare’s new complex feelings for his young lord – gratitude, affection, a recognition of his golden nature, a certain protectiveness towards a fatherless youth exposed to all the temptations of his position. Concern. Alarm. Reproach- but also Shakespeare’s apprehension from a rival poet he recognises to be his superior, his infatuation for the Dark Lady, the repercussion of both these upon his relationship with his young patron. The fundamental complication is that of his feelings for Southampton. It is all very complex: no wonder so many Victorian, and Victorian-minded commentators have been baffled by it. One simply cannot get it right, or begin to understand it. In terms of middle-class Victorian morality with all its inhibitions and imperceptions One must see it in terms of a Renaissance Court-life, of Elizabethan high society. Fortunately, today’s more open. Permissive society is in a position to understand and express what has given earlier academics so much embarrassment.

Thus, we can certainly say that Earl of Southampton is the fair friend of Shakespeare.

  1. Sonnet

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines.

And often is his gold complexion dimmed:

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st:

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade.

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So tong uves uus, anu uus gives life to thee.


Shall I compare you to a day in summer? But you are more gracious and temperate than the summer day which is variable and not so pleasing. Rough winds cause havoc to the May buds and summer is all too short. Sometimes the sun is too hot, sometimes it is overcast with clouds. Every fair object ultimately loses its beauty and is stripped of its ornaments by accident or in the course of the changing seasons. But your summer, .i.e. youth and beauty shall not fade, nor lose the beauty that belongs to it. Nor even death shall boast possession of you, when in eternal verse you grow one with time. So long as men continue to live, or eyes can see, so long will this verse live. Giving you immortality.

Critical Comments:

Marriage was advocated for the last time in the previous sonnet. In this sonnet, poetic creation has won decisively, and the sonnet shows a greatly, enhanced sensibility and control. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? takes into its scope with complete facility and grace all the main images of the group. The rose metaphor is deftly humanized in the phrase “darling buds of May: summer’s lease adds the concept of property so that its association with flowers seems quite inevitable and the eye of heaven introduces the correspondence between personality and the higher spheres will equal case All beauty, every fair’ declines-a word primarily suggesting the course of the sun but open to more flexible, interpretation than decrease in 15. In contrast stands the Friend’s eternal summer, which does not “fade”, like the rose. nor loses possession, as one may forfeit a lease, nor wanders in death’s shade. like the sun in the Antipodes. This eternal summer, with classical evocations of an earthly paradise. will be created by the Poet’s ‘eternal lines’ yet even their eternity depends on the continuity of the human race:

So long as men can breathe or eves can see So long lives this—

For in these sonnets mankind is in the last analysis, the sole tribunal of all values (Lever). This Sonnet is magnificent throughout-from the perfect beauty of the opening quatrain to the sweep and rush of the triumphant final couplet. The rhythms are varied with the subtlest skill and the majestic line – “But thy eternal summer shall not fade” – reverberates like a stroke on a gong.

The poet’s boast that his poem would make his friend immortal is not peculiar. it was the fashion of the age to boast in this way.

The first of the Sonnets to become very famous sets a fearful problem in turning it into prose: for the most part one can only repeat its language, perfectly direct and straightforward: no problems of interpretation.

  1. Sonnet

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone be weep my out cast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. 

And look upon myself, and curse my fate:

Wishing me like to one note rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possessed.

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope.

With what most enjoy contented least:

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.   


When not favoured by fortune, and men’s eyes set against me. I lament my downcast lot all alone. In such moments, I make a bootless complaint to the deaf heaven. looking upon myself and cursing my fate. I have always wished myself to be lie a person richer in hope. like another in features, like still another surrounded with friends. I desire to have this man’s art or that man’s opportunity least satisfied with what I most enjoy. In these thoughts, while almost deposing myself. I happen to think of you and then my own condition. Like he lark who at the break of day rising from the gloomy earth, sings hymns to heaven. For the remembrance of your sweet love brings such a wealth to my mind that I would not change my condition even with kings.

Critical Comments:

The image of the lark rising at break of day is associated with the night-thoughts of the Sonnet 28. Shakespeare is suffering misfortunes and loneliness. And his thoughts in sleepless nights ruminate on his own sufferings. Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope. But when he thinks of his love, all the dark thoughts disappear and his heart takes the gladness of the morning when the lark sings at heaven’s gate. My heart becomes a cage of song-birds the moment I think of you. Then I feel the happiness of the ‘sweet love remembered exceeding the joys of kingship- “one kingly consolation of love.” He Is suffering from a mood of utter depression and abasement.

In this sonnet, the thought is clearly and forcibly expressed and beautifully balanced throughout. Shakespeare’s real feelings are expressed in this sonnet. The sonnet. In short, deals quite explicitly with the poet’s feelings of worldly failure and the consolation brought by his love of the young man. There is little imagery in this sonnet, which makes the simile in line 11 all the more effective.

  1. Sonnet

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past.

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow.

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night.

And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe.

And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone.

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan.

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend.

 All losses are restored and sorrows end.


When in these sessions of sweet and silent thoughts, I recall memory of the past things, I mourn the lack of many a thing that I wished for and waste my precious time in lamenting over old sorrows. Then can I weep with tears, though unused to do so. For my dearest friends now sleeping in death’s endless night. I weep afresh for the former love and regret what many a vanished sight has cost me. Then I can grieve at former grievances again and, with a heavy heart, give a sorrowful account of griefs already lamented, as if I had not paid the score long ago. But if in such a mood I think of you, dear friend, all my loses are compensated and sorrows over.

Critical Comments:

“A whole sonnet is given to the poet’s summoning up of remembrance of things past.”

  • G Wilson Knight.

This is a beautiful sonnet – moment’s monument indeed..

“The second line of this sonnet has achieved a world-wide circulation in the literature of the twentieth century, with its concern with time. The mood of depression. With absence from his friend, continues and brings back to Shakespeare the thought of earlier friends now dead. How much we should like to know who they were and all about them.”

  1. Sonnet

O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem

By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!

The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem

For that sweet odour which doth in it live.

The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye

When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses:

As the perfumed tincture of the roses,

Hang on such thorns, and playas wantonly

But, for their virtue only is their show.

They live unwooed and unrespected fade,

Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so.

Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:

And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth.

When that shall fade, my verse distils your truth.


How much more beautiful does beauty seem when the sweet quality of truth is added to it! The rose is beautiful, but we value it more for the sweet fragrance that it contains. Scentless wild roses have as good a colour as the scented rose flowers on such thorns, and playas prettily in the summer breeze that opens their buds. But their only beauty is their show. They live unloved and fade away unnoticed, dying without profit to others. But sweet scented roses are different. They are plucked for the sweetest fragrance. The same is the case with you, lovely and handsome youth, when your beauty shall fade, my verse will distil your virtue.

Critical Comments:

This sonnet continues the thought of Sonnet 53. There Shakespeare declared that over and above external beauty, more real than that of Helen and Adonis, his friend was pre-eminent for his constancy, his truth. Now he proceeds to show how this truth enhances the beauty. Poetry is the natural medium for these swift, uncapturable and incomprehensive intuitions. So it” is through the poet’s verse alone that the perfumed ‘truth’ of the ‘rose’ which is his beloved friend can be ‘distilled’

“But canker may also mean wild roses, as when ‘canker blooms’ are said to have colour without ‘the perfumed tincture’ of ‘sweet roses’ which survive death in distillation, even as the inmost truth of the boy’s beauty is distilled in poetry”

  • G Wilson Knight.

Steeven notes:

“Shakespeare has not yet begun to observe the production of nature with accuracy or his eyes would have convinced him that Cynarhodon is by no means of as deep a colour as the rose.”

  1. Sonnet

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments

Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme:

But you shall shine more bright in these contents

Than unswept stone. Besmeared with sluttish time.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn.

And broils root out the work of masonry.

Nor Mars’s sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn

The living record of your memory.

“Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity

Shall you pace forth your praise shall still find room

Even in the eyes of all posterity

That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, Till the judgement that yourself arise.

You live in this. And dwell in lovers’ eyes.


Neither marble nor ornamented monuments of princes shall outlive these powerful verses of mine. You shall shine more brightly in these verses than those uncleaned stones that defaced with the decay of time. When war shall overturn statues and quarrels shall destroy magnificent buildings, neither the sword of Mars nor the fire of war shall be able to destroy the living monuments of your memory. You shall thus stand against death and injurious forgetfulness. Your praise shall find a place in the eyes of the coming generations that live to the end of this world. So till the day of judgement calls you to arise you will live on in this and in the eyes of all lovers.

Critical Comments:

This is a continuation of Sonnet 54.

The young man, through poetry, will live in lover’s eyes.

The com meats of G. Wilson Knight of this sonnet:

“The young man’s immortality is not questioned. He will rise, presumably in good repair. At the day of judgement…It is throughout filled too overflowing with the elixir. The ecstasy, the dithyrambic certainties…..Here every image piles up to suggest that poetry enjoys an authority, or exists from a dimension to which all temporal fabrications and engagements are as nothing; and the weightiest and most serious are chosen for the purpose……”

The two ways of eternal understanding, poetry and religion, are happily balanced in our final juxtaposition of judgement’ and ‘lover’s eyes.”

The truth present within the noble music of this sonnet is underlined by the simple word “pace”:

“Gainst death and all oblivious enmity.

Shall you pace forth……”

1-4. This quatrain echoes Lucrece, 944-46:

 To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours

And smear with dust their glittering golden towers

To fill with worm-holes stately monuments.”

  1. Sonnet

Since brass. Nor stone. Nor earth, nor boundless sea.

But sad mortality o’er-Sways their power.

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea

Whose action is no stronger than a flower?

O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out

Against the wreckful siege of battering days.

When rocks impregnable are not so stout,

Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?

O, fearful meditation! Where, alack,

Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?

Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?

Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

O, none, unless this miracle have might.

That in black ink my love may still shine bright.


Since brass and stone, earth and sea, all are subject to decay. How can beauty whose strength is no better that a flower’s withstand the decaying force of nature? Or how shall the sweet breath of summer hold out against the battering storm of time. When rocks and gates of iron are not so strong as to escape the decay of time? It is a fearful thought. How can time’s best jewel be hidden from time which will ultimately take away that jewel? Or what strong hand can stop the march of time? Or who can arrest time’s ravages upon beauty? None. Unless there is hope in this miracle, that my love may ever shine bright out of this black ink.

Critical Comments:

Link sonnet with Sonnet 64.

Sad mortality destroys brass. Stone, earth, and sea, then:

“How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea

Whose action is no stronger than a flower ?”

What can check this wanton destruction of Time?

“O none. Unless this miracle have might.

That in block ink my love still shine bright.”

‘Time’s fell hand’ which can ‘deface’ the proudest monuments is but for the ‘spoil’ of ‘beauty’, and nothing of nature or human fabrication appears able to withstand the onset.

  •   G Wilson Knight.

This sonnet is the easiest among all of the sonnets of Shakespeare. The language is simple. The realization that everything has to die makes the poet sad. But the only consolation for him is that be can give his friend a permanent life through these lines.

  1. Sonnet

That time of year thou mayst in me behold.

When yellow leaves, or none. Of few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold.

Bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me theu see’st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Which by and by black night doth take away.

Death’s second self. That seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire

That on the ashes of his youth doth fie

As that death-bed whereon it must expire.

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.


In me you behold that time of year when a few yellow leaves or none at all hang on the branches, shaking in the cold, like bare, ruined choirs where lately birds were singing. You may see in me the kind of twilight which is witnessed after the sun has faded in the west and which, by and by, is extinguished by night, the night being an image of death which puts an end to everything. In me you can notice the glow of embers, the ashes of my youth, dying out as on a death-bed, consumed by that which fed it and gave it life. If you see this condition of mine, your love for me would increase. You will then value me all the more because you will realize that I will soon depart from you and therefore be lost to you.

Critical Comments:

Thought of approaching death creates the meditative melancholy of this sonnet. It is to a bare ruined tree standing as a skeleton in hoary winter: or the glimmering twilight turning into a black night, that the poet compares his approach to death.

Embers of his youth’s fire. Self-consumed still linger glowing before the final extinction into dead ashes. This sight may create stronger affection for me now that I must die soon.

This mood is self-generated, actually Shakespeare could not have been as old as he appears in this sonnet. When this sonnet was composed. But how convincing a portrait of himself as a disillusioned. Neglected, decrepit old man remembering sadly the happy days that are no more. He had drawn in this beautiful sonnet! He must be at this moment an inspired young poet. If we consider for a moment the unreality of the sentiments expressed in this sonnet, we can only admire more the dramatic projection of his self to a future state of life.

  1. Sonnet

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 ever-fixe’d 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.


Let me not admit hurdles to the union of two sincerely loving minds. Love is not love which alters when it meets with alteration, or changes when one of the lovers changes. No, it is like a fixed beacon that is not shaken even by storms. It is the star that guides every voyaging ship. Its true value is unknown. Though its altitude can be known. Love is not the sport of time. Though rosy lips and cheeks are subject to its damaging effect. But love does not decline with the advance of time. Love continues till the day of death. If the belief of time is proved wrong. Then I should be considered a man who never wrote poetry. In that case it should also be taken for granted that no man ever loved truly.

Critical Comments:

Shakespeare admits his wanderings, but his love is fixed above all the errors and trials of man and man’s life. His love was to him the inmost centre and furthest aim of all things, its value lying beyond human assessment. Having established this principle of growing love at least to his own satisfaction, the poet now comes forward in full confidence with the great sonnet- Let me not to the marriage of true minds.”

  •  G Wilson Knight.

“From ‘Love is a babe’ we come to ‘Love’s not Time’s fool…..”We need the right syntax of feeling to see how this sonnet escapes nonsense….. Beyond this there is nothing in hope or faith: but in cheated hope and bankrupt faith, there are the sicknesses and nightmares of love infected by the infatuation it had itself bred.”

  • R. P. Blackmur
  1. Sonnet

What potions have I drunk of Siren tears

Distilled from limbecks foul as hell within.

Applying fears to hopes and hopes to fears.

Still losing when I saw myself to win!

What wretched errors hath my heart committed.

Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!

How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted

In the distraction of this madding fever!

O benefit of ill : now I find true

That better is by evil still made better.

And ruined love, when it is built anew,

Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater.

So I return rebuked to my content.

And gain by ills thrice more than I have spent.


What doses of woman’s tears have I drunk, distilled from alembics as foul as hell within. Dampening my hopes, and yet creating hopes when I was feeling depressed. Those tears showed that I was losing every time what I thought I was going to win. My heart has committed a number of miserable mistakes, while it thought itself never so blessed. My eyes have been distracted in this mad fever. But I have drawn this advantage from this evil- that good is bettered by evil- this I have learnt. I have also found that ruined love when renewed grows fairer and stronger than at first. Thus learning J return to what gives me sati action. By the ills I have gained much more than I have lost.

Critical Comments:

Shakespeare’s strange loves have made the true love more strong and dear. Carrying on the idea of the previous sonnet, with the same metaphor,, potions, fever’, etc.

We next come to a passionate outburst recording an agony of conflict Shakespeare finds himself still losing when I saw myself to win: presumably losing his friend’s love in proportion as he has been advancing in other ways. He had been happy in success, but now- there is certainly pathos and may be irony in the thought – he cries:

“What wretched errors that my heart committed,

Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never!”

He concludes by expectation of rebuilding their love stronger than before.

  • G Wilson Knight.
  1. Sonnet

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun.

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun.

If hairs be wires. Black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white.

But no such roses see I in her cheeks:

And is some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound.

I grant I never saw a goddess go:

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven. I think my love as rare

As any she belied by false compare.


The eyes of my beloved are not as bright as the sun, her lips are not as red as the coral. If snow is white, then her breasts are not snow-white. Her hair are not like golden wires, they are black. I have seen damask-roses. Mingled red and white, but I do not notice such roses in her cheeks. Her breath is certainly not as sweet as the fragrance or perfumes. I love to hear her speak. But her voice is not so melodious as music. She is not a goddess, she walks on the ground like a common woman. Yet I consider my love as rare as any woman who has been most extravagantly praised by any writer.

Critical Comments:

This sonnet is a description of his mistress in the conventional style of Elizabethan idealism. We find such passages of highly-wrought description also in Spenser, Sidney, and Lodge.

This is even more of a literary exercise, and must have given pure amusement to Southampton and his friends. For the poem can hardly have been presented to the dark lady, even as a joke. It is a skit on the unreal comparisons, the unconvincing dentations of their mistress regular with the poets of the sonnet sequences.

  • A. L. Rowse

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  1. Sonnet

When my love swears that she is made of truth

I do believe her, though I know she lies,

That she might think me some untutored youth.

Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.

Thus vainly thinking that she think me young.

Although she knows my days are past the best.

Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue-

On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.

But wherefore says she not she is unjust?

And wherefore say not I that I am old?

O, love’s best habit is in seeming trust.

And age in love loves not to have years told.

Therefore I lie with her and she with me.

And in our faults by lies we flattered be.


When my lady-love swears that she is the incarnation of truth. I believe her, although I know she is lying. She thinks that I am an inexperienced truth. Unacquainted with the falsehood of the world. She vainly thinks that I am young. Although she knows that I am past my prime. In that case. I simply pretend to believe her false tongue. Thus on both sides. Falsehood is there. But why does she not admit that she is not true? And why don’t I say that I am old? The reason is that in love one assumes an attitude of truthfulness. It is also that the old lover does not want to be reminded of his age. Thus both of us lie with each other, and thus cover up our faults.

Critical Comments:

Connected with Sonnet 137. The frauds practised by blind love. Shakespeare is quite aware of, yet he and his lady must strive to blind themselves and ignore the frauds of blinded lovers.

This sonnet appeared as the first poem of The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), with variations: as:

(Line 4) Unskilful in the world’s false forgeries.”

(Line 6) “Although I know my years be past the best.”

(Lines 7. 8. 9) “I smiling credit here false-speaking tongue.

Outfacing faults in love with love’s ill rest.

But wherefore says my love that she is young?”

(Line 11) “O Love’s best habit is soothing tongue.”

(Line 13. 14)”Therefore. I’ll lie with love, with me.

Since that our faults in love, thus smother’d be.”

“That the two Sonnets 138 and 144. Printed in Jaggard’s The Passionate Pilgrim in 1599 show variants from Thorpe’ text is perhaps evidence of a revisionary process.”

  • G Wilson Knight
  1. Sonnet

Two loves I have, of comfort and despair.

Which like two spirits do suggest me still :

The better angel is a man right fair.

The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.

To win me soon to hell, my female evil

Tempeth my better angel from my side,

And would corrupt my saint to be adevil.

Wooing his purity with her foul pride.

And whether that my angel be turned fiend

Suspect I may yet not directly tell.

But being both from me. Both to each friend.

I guess one angel in another’s hell.

Yet this shall I ne’er know, but we in doubt.

Till my bad angel fire my good one out.


I have two objects of love, the one, my angel, the source of great comfort. The other. My evil genius. The urge of pain and despair. The guardian angel is a fair youth. The evil Gallus is the dark mistress, a woman. To create a hell for me, my fair youth tempted away from me by the dark lady. She would seduce his purity with her ill pride. And whether my angel be corrupted. As I suspect I cannot say directly, but both being away from me and each agreeing with the other. I can guess that my good angel has fallen a victim to the other’s hellish fascination. Yet I shall not be able to know exactly. But remain in suspicion. Till my fair angel is released from the clutches of the dirk lady.

Critical Comments:

This is the second poem in The Passionate Pilgrim. The variations in the text are not very noticeable. Dowden compares this sonnet with

Drayton’s Idea:

“An evil spirit. Your beauty, haunts me still.


Which ceaseth not to tempt me to each ill.

Thus am I still provoked to every ill

But that good-wicked spirit. Sweet angel devil.”

This sonnet compares the poet’s love for the young man with that for the Dark Lady. It is linked with sonnets 133 and 134. The comparison of the two loved ones to Good and Bad angels tempting the soul of the poet is derived from medieval drama.

  • G M. Ridden.




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