It Makes My Love More Strong, To Read a Sonnet that I May Leave Ere Long

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"This thou perceiv'st, which makes they love more strong,

To love that well, which thou must leave ere long" (Roberts103)


Notice the line about the fleeting nature of the relationship is part of a couplet, not one of the quatrains.  This creates an abrupt effect, cutting of the rhyme scheme that had grown to be natural to the reader; just as the love that had become an intricate part of the speaker's life is soon to be gone.  This, interestingly enough, could also be seen as an example of "showing" vs "telling."

Notice the difference:

"I'm going to leave you pretty soon.  Yeah, very, very soon.  I'll be gone.  Poof, no more me.  We'll have to say adios to our love; let it ride off into the setting sun like John Wayne in so many cowboy movies.  So...yup, like I said, the end is nigh..."  

As opposed to:

"You've loved me well, but soon we must part."

Aaaaaaand scene.  Had the speaker told us that the partnership was temporary (I hesitate to say that the love itself was temporary, because that's not exactly what the speaker is stating) at the beginning of the poem, we would have been left with a thought akin to, "Apparently not that temporary.  You hung around for 14 lines."  Ending with the revelation that the speaker and his love will be separated gave the impression of a quietly, but firmly shut door.  One of the two had left, and now there was nothing to look at but the remaining space on the page; nicely symbolizing the emptiness of the remaining lover's life.    


I would have never thought of the emptiness of the page as a symbol for the emptiness of the remaining lover. The fact that the couplet in which he says goodbye is by itself represents the surviving lover by herself. Excellent observation!

Jessica Orlowski said:

Can I just say that the title of your blog made me laugh out loud a little?? :)

Wow. That insight was amazing, Josie. Seriously. It does sort of seem like the speaker is rushing his lover out of the room. It also almost seems like he's "breaking up with her" if that phrase existed back then. But all of the talk of the "deathbed" kind of negates that a bit...

Cody Naylor said:

I agree with Karyssa in that that was a very astute observation. However, the vibe I am getting from the rest of your blog is that you think that this couplet is negative and if that is the case, I will have to respectfully disagree... lol. I think that when Shakepeare writes, "This [my death] thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong" (103), he is saying that even thou his lover knows that he will soon die and leave her alone, she is still staying with him and loving him and I kind of think that's pretty romantic...

Dave said:

Okay, based on the idea that the who thing is saying goodbye, in a break up kinda way, than a I'm dying kinda way. The first line of the couplet can almost be read as a bit arrogant, as well as alluding to the idea that people want what they can't have. It could be saying "You know it's over, so now you want me more."
In this light, I can almost see Shakespeare leaving a copy of this poem at the home's of his one-night stands, before quietly sneaking out with no intention to ever text them.

Josie Rush said:

Mm, I reread my blog and can see where I wasn't exactly clear with my thought of Shakespeare's meaning.
Jess, I agree he does sort of give off the vibe that he's dying as opposed to "breaking up" with her. Though, I honestly think that the exact cause of their separation is dwarfed by the *act* of separation. In other words, for whatever reason, they won't be together, but their love will endure. That's the important thing. Oh, and thanks for the props on the title!
Cody, I would actually describe the last couplet more as bittersweet than negative. Definitely romantic, but in true Shakespeare fashion, there's a shadow across over that metaphorical rose.

Dave said:

I guess I just kinda inferred the ending a relationship intentionally, rather than dying thing from the door closing bit in your blog. I think it can really be read either way, as their time together has come an end, burned out, become night, or changed to winter. Though because one uses the word 'die' to describe the end of a fire as well as a person, the death thing might make more sense. However, as you said the seperation matters more than anything else.

Jeff J said:

It's a compliment to the courage of one who loves all that much harder even with the knowledge that it such will result in that much more pain after the object of their love is gone. To give such love regardless is a testiment to both the giver and recipient.

Josie Rush said:

Jeff, I agree completely. Witholding emotion as soon as the going gets tough does not say much about either party involved. Thanks for commenting.

Sanjay Das said:

Thax for this cool article.

Sanjay Das

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