Shakespeare Sonnet 39 Analysis, O how thy worth with manners may I sing

Shakespeare sonnet 39


This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 39. 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.

Shakespeare Sonnet 39 (Original Text)

O how thy worth with manners may I sing,
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring,
And what is’t but mine own when I praise thee?
Even for this, let us divided live,
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
That due to thee which thou deserv’st alone.
O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove,
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Which time and thoughts so sweetly dost deceive,
And that thou teachest how to make one twain,
By praising him here who doth hence remain.

Shakespeare Sonnet 39 (Modern Text)

Shakespeare sonnet 39, O how thy worth with manners may I sing,

Shakespeare Sonnet 39 Analysis


Shakespeare asks how he can describe his friends true value “how thy worth “in his poems without seeming to be boastful “may I sing “because he considers his friend to be his better half “thou art all the better part of me” and what good will praising himself bring “mine own praise to mine own self” and he praises himself each time he praises his friend “mine own when I praise thee?”

Because of this But Shakespeare feels they have to separate “let us divided live” and live separately which will make them lose that common identity of being united by love “love lose name of single one,” and by the separation he can continue writing poems and praising his friend “by this separation I may give” who can enjoy the praise alone “which thou deserv’st alone.”

He says that the separation would torment him “O absence! what a torment” since his friend has so much time to spare “not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave,” and that the only thing comforting him are thoughts of their love “thoughts of love” that helps pass the time deceiving it in a sweet manner “time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,”

He says the separation teaches him to divide his love which has broken him into two pieces “how to make one twain” and that he will keep praising his friend “praising him here” who lives elsewhere “doth hence remain.”

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