Shakespeare Sonnet 122 Analysis: Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 122. 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 122 (Original Text)

Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full charactered with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain
Beyond all date, ev’n to eternity;
Or at the least, so long as brain and heart
Have faculty by nature to subsist;
Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
Of thee, thy record never can be missed.
That poor retention could not so much hold,
Nor need I tallies thy dear love to score;
Therefore to give them from me was I bold,
To trust those tables that receive thee more;
To keep an adjunct to remember thee
Were to import forgetfulness in me.

Shakespeare Sonnet 122 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare Sonnet 122 Modern Text Translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 122 Analysis

The poet says that the contents of the notebook given to him by the fair lord remain in memory “Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain” where every letter has been memorized by the poet to be remembered forever “Full charactered with lasting memory, “which will outlast anything ever written “Which shall above that idle rank remain’ right up to eternity “Beyond all date, ev’n to eternity;”

He says as long as his brain and heart “Or at the least, so long as brain and heart” is permitted to survive by nature “Have faculty by nature to subsist;” and till each of them are forced to die and give up the memory of the youth “Till each to razed oblivion yield his part” till then his memory can never be erased “Of thee, thy record never can be missed.”

He says the book itself could not hold as much as his memory “That poor retention could not so much hold,” nor does he need any notes to record how much he loves his friend the fair lord “Nor need I tallies thy dear love to score;” Thus he was bold to give away the notebook “Therefore to give them from me was I bold,” since he trusted his own memory to remind himself of the love for the fair lord “To trust those tables that receive thee more;

And to use an assistant to tool to remember the fair youth “To keep an adjunct to remember thee” would mount to admitting forgetfulness in the poet “Were to import forgetfulness in me.”

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