Shakespeare Sonnet 149 Analysis: Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not

Shakespeare Sonnet 149 Analysis: Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not

This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 149. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection ofShakespeare Sonnets with analysis. It is highly recommended to buy “The Monument” by Hank Whittemore, which is the best book on Shakespeare Sonnets.

Shakespeare Sonnet 149 (Original Text)

Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee, when I forgot
Am of myself, all, tyrant, for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?
On whom frown’st thou that I do fawn upon?
Nay, if thou lour’st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in myself respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;
Those that can see thou lov’st, and I am blind.

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Shakespeare Sonnet 149 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare Sonnet 149 Modern English translation
-via Sparknotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 149 Analysis

The poet addresses his mistress calling her a cruel woman asking her can she actually say that he doesn’t love her “Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not,” especially when he goes against his own principles and himself “When I against myself with thee partake?” he questions does he not think of her , when he forgets “Do I not think on thee, when I forgot” himself for the sake of her whom he calls a tyrant “Am of myself, all, tyrant, for thy sake?”

He asks if there is anyone who hates her so that he can cal that person friend “Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?” and who is it that she does not like so that he may flatter that person” On whom frown’st thou that I do fawn upon?” When she mocks him, he says she punishes himself “Nay, if thou lour’st on me, do I not spend” and takes revenge on himself by making himself suffer “Revenge upon myself with present moan?

He says there is nothing good in him anymore to respect himself “What merit do I in myself respect,” Which can make him proud enough to call himself her servant “That is so proud thy service to despise,” when all his good qualities worships her bad qualities “When all my best doth worship thy defect,” which are influenced by the look of her eyes “Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?

He tells her to continue hating him as he now knows what she is like “But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;” because she loves those who can see and he instead is blind “Those that can see thou lov’st, and I am blind.”

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