Shakespeare Sonnet 99 Analysis, The forward violet thus did I chide

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 99. 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 99 (Original Text)

The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love’s breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemnèd for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both,
And to his robb’ry had annexed thy breath;
But for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker ate him up to death.
More flow’rs I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or color it had stol’n from thee.
WIKI

Shakespeare Sonnet 99 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 99, modern English Translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 99 Analysis

The poet says he has scolded a violet flower “the forward violet thus did I chide:” calling it a thief and accusing it of stealing the scent that emanates from it “Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,” from the breath of his love “If not from my love’s breath? “ and its purple color which is its pride “The purple pride” that reflects and lives so beautifully in its petals “Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells”

was actually taken from the blood of the poets love and has been dyed purple by the flower “In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dyed.”he then tells his love presumably the youth that he has condemned the lily “The lily I condemned” for stealing the fairness of his love’s hand “for thy hand,” and for the buds of the flower which has been stolen from his lover’s curly hair “And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair;”. He then says the roses which stand in fear of their prickly thorns “The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,”

where on me he says is blushing in shame and another looks white with worry and despair “One blushing shame, another white despair; a third one is a mix of both red and white and has stolen both qualities “A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both,” as well as the sweet breath of his love “And to his robb’ry had annexed thy breath;” and because of the robbery that resulted in its beauty and proudness “But for his theft, in pride of all his growth” a worm ate into the rose and killed it out of revenge for what it had done “A vengeful canker ate him up to death.”

The poet says that he sees hundreds of flowers “More flow’rs I noted,” yet he could not see any flower “yet I none could see” that had not stolen its scent and color from his love

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