Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Love alters not

I will return with another Sophie Hannah poem as promised on Friday, but today here is a more classic poem by William Shakespeare, that encapsulates love's steadfastness, and is one of my all-time favourites. There are no doubt many possibilities for what he intended by "true minds", but after reading chapter 3 about the importance of our thoughts let's take poetic license and give it the meaning of those who together think rightly about marriage. I particularly love the lines "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove". Incase you get confused, "bark" means a man, and later in the poem Shakespeare has personified "Time", and given him a sickle that cuts down rosy lips and cheeks, so the "his" of line 11 is referring to time.

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:
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 prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

William Shakespeare

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