This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 124. 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 124 (Original Text)
If my dear love were but the child of state,It might for Fortune’s bastard be unfathered,As subject to time’s love or to time’s hate,Weeds among weeds, or flow’rs with flowers gathered.No, it was builded far from accident;It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor fallsUnder the blow of thrallèd discontent,Whereto th’ inviting time our fashion calls.It fears not policy, that heretic,Which works on leases of short numb’red hours.But all alone stands hugely politic,That it nor grows with heat nor drowns with showers.To this I witness call the fools of time,Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 124 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 124 Analysis
The poet says if his love was created by chance out of circumstances “If my dear love were but the child of state,” it would have been like an illegitimate child “It might for Fortune’s bastard be unfathered,” The situation would be subject to the trend of the times which could be either good or bad “As subject to time’s love or to time’s hate,” and could be compared to either weeds to be rejected by people or flowers to be admired “Weeds among weeds, or flow’rs with flowers gathered.
But now he says his love was not by accident but by resolve “No, it was builded far from accident;”it is neither affected by royal authority nor is it affected “It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls” by those who rebel against authority “Under the blow of thrallèd discontent, “because it is the current fashion to do such things “Whereto th’ inviting time our fashion calls.”
It does not fear political plots by scheming people “It fears not policy, that heretic, which lasts for a short while only “Which works on leases of short numb’red hours.” But stands independent from all such influences “But all alone stands hugely politic,” where it does not grow with the pleasure f the times nor can be killed by malicious intentions “That it nor grows with heat nor drowns with showers.
As a witness to his love, he calls all those people he regards as fools “To this I witness call the fools of time,” who end up repenting on their deathbed after living in crime “Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.”