This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 131. 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 131 (Original Text)
Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel;For well thou know’st, to my dear doting heartThou art the fairest and most precious jewel.Yet in good faith some say, that thee behold,Thy face hath not the pow’r to make love groan.To say they err I dare not be so bold,Although I swear it to myself alone;And to be sure that is not false, I swearA thousand groans but thinking on thy face;One on another’s neck do witness bearThy black is fairest in my judgment’s place.In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 131 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 131 Analysis
The poet continues from sonnet 130 saying that his mistress is tyrannous (dominating) in nature and is the same as those women, “Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,” she is the same as those women who become proud because they think themselves beautiful “As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel; and everybody knows that to the poet’s heart “For well thou know’st to my dear doting heart “ his mistress is beautiful and like a jewel to him “Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel.
He says that that there are some who feel buy looking at her face “Yet, in good faith, some say that thee behold” that she isn’t that beautiful enough to make men groan with love “Thy face hath not the power to make love groan:” and to tell them they are mistaken, the poet will not dare” To say they err, I dare not be so bold,” and he will only swear to himself that his mistress is indeed beautiful “Although I swear it to myself alone.”.
And to convince himself that he isn’t swearing falsely “And, to be sure that is not false I swear,” he himself will groan a thousand times with love for her “A thousand groans, but thinking on thy face,” and while they are together and close to each other he will bear witness “One on another’s neck, do witness bear “that her dark complexion to him is the fairest in his judgment “Thy black is fairest in my judgment’s place.”
He says his lady love is not dark in anything except her dominating behavior “In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds, “and that is why she is being slandered which he thinks she deserves “And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds.”