This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 114. 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 114 (Original Text)
Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,Drink up the monarch’s plague, this flattery?Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true,And that your love taught it this alchemy,To make of monsters and things indigestSuch cherubins as your sweet self resemble,Creating every bad a perfect bestAs fast as objects to his beams assemble?O ’tis the first; ’tis flattery in my seeing,And my great mind most kingly drinks it up.Mine eye well knows what with his gust is greeing,And to his palate doth prepare the cup.If it be poisoned, ’tis the lesser sinThat mine eye loves it and doth first begin.
Shakespeare Sonnet 114 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 114 Analysis
Continuing form sonnet 113, the poet ask if his mind which is so full of thoughts of the fair lord “Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you,” has become delusional after being flattered with the love of the youth “Drink up the monarch’s plague, this flattery?” he asks if his eyes are seeing correctly “Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true,” or if his love for the youth has given his vision magic powers “And that your love taught it this alchemy,”
To see demons and monsters and transform shapeless entities “To make of monsters and things indigest” into angels that resemble the fair lord “Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble” that make everything bad into good “Creating every bad a perfect best” making things perfect as soon as they come into his line of vision “As fast As fast as objects to his beams assemble?”
He says his eyes are delusional and his mind accepts the images “O ’tis the first; ’tis flattery in my seeing,” like a king accepts flattery “And my great mind most kingly drinks it up.” His eyes know exactly what it wants to see “Mine eye well knows what with his gust is greeing ,” and it accepts it like a servant tasting a kings food first “And to his palate doth prepare the cup.”
To see if it has been poisoned “If it be poisoned,’ and by doing so it is not a great sin “tis the lesser sin” because his mind loves the hallucinations “That mine eye loves it and doth first begin.