This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 115. 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 115 (Original Text)
Those lines that I before have writ do lie,Ev’n those that said I could not love you dearer.Yet then my judgment knew no reason whyMy most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.But reck’ning time, whose millioned accidentsCreep in ’twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp’st intents,Divert strong minds to the course of alt’ring things.Alas, why, fearing of time’s tyranny,Might I not then say, “Now I love you best,”When I was certain o’er incertainty,Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?Love is a babe; then might I not say so,To give full growth to that which still doth grow?
Shakespeare Sonnet 115 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 115 Analysis
The poet says that the lines he wrote before were a lie “Those lines that I before have writ do lie,” and it was a lie when he said he could not love the fair lord more than what he does now “Ev’n those that said I could not love you dearer.” And back then he had no reason to judge his thoughts or think “Yet then my judgment knew no reason why” that his love which he thought was already a lot could ever increase in the future “My most full flame should afterward burn clearer.
He says he was depending on time during which there are thousands of unexpected circumstances “But reck’ning time, whose millioned accidents” can come in-between the promises of lovers and even change the rule of kings “Creep in ’twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,” and shadow the sacred beauty of lovers by diluting their fervor and intent “Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp’st intents,”
He says time diverts even determined minds to change “Divert strong minds to the course of alt’ring things.” And he laments why he didn’t say anything earlier in fear of time “Alas, why, fearing of time’s tyranny,” that he loved the fair lord the best “Might I not then say, “Now I love you best,” That was the time he was sure of himself even in the face of uncertainty “When I was certain o’er incertainty,” and he had been prepared to regard his present love as total and complete in spite of doubting the future “Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?”
Love is like a baby and that s why it was natural for him to say so “Love is a babe; then might I not say so,” that he love completely knowing that in future the same love will have grown much more.