Shakespeare Sonnet 102 Analysis: My love is strengthened

Shakespeare Sonnet 102 Analysis summary theme and modern text translation

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 102. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection of Shakespeare Sonnets with analysis. It is highly recommended to buy “The Monument” by Hank Whittemore, which is the best book on Shakespeare Sonnets.

Shakespeare Sonnet 102 (Original Text)

My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear.
That love is merchandised whose rich esteeming
The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays,
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days.
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough,
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 102 Modern Text (Translation)

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 102 Analysis

The poet says that he feels his love is growing stronger even though it seems weak to him “My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming;” He says that he loves much more than he shows it “I love not less, though less the show appear. He says that is only a commercial love for material gain “That love is merchandised whose rich esteeming” when a man keeps advertising about the way he loves to everyone “The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.”

He says that his relationship with his love was new when he started writing poetry about it “Our love was new, and then but in the spring,” when he was habituated in greeting it every day “When I was wont to greet it with my lays,” just as the nightingale starts singing in summer “As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,”

And with the progress of summer, it stops singing “And stops his pipe in growth of riper days.” Even though the summer’s pleasantness isn’t over “Not that the summer is less pleasant now” in comparison to the time when the nightingale’s mournful singing silenced the night “Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,” and every songbird would start singing in trees “But that wild music burthens every bough,” but such common experiences lose their uniqueness and sweetness “And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.”

This is why the poet does not speak too often about his love like the nightingale “Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue,” for fear of boring his love and making it common thing “Because I would not dull you with my song.”

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