This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 109. 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 109 (Original Text)
O never say that I was false of heart,Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.As easy might I from myself departAs from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie.That is my home of love; if I have ranged,Like him that travels I return again,Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,So that myself bring water for my stain.Never believe, though in my nature reignedAll frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,That it could so preposterously be stainedTo leave for nothing all thy sum of good.For nothing this wide universe I call,Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 109 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 109 Analysis
The poet tells the fair lord not to think his love was false “O never say that I was false of heart,” In spite of his absence which made it appear so “Though absence seemed my flame to qualify” it isn’t easy to separate himself from his soul “As easy might I from myself depart As from my soul,” both of which resides in the fair youth’s heart “which in thy breast doth lie.
He says the youth’s heart is his home “That is my home of love;” and if he has wandered away “if I have ranged, Like him that travels” then he has returned again at the correct time I return again, Just to the time,” without any change of feelings “not with the time exchanged”, and whatever misdeeds he has done he will make amends “So that myself bring water for my stain.”
He asks the youth not to think that even though his nature is human and has faults “Never believe, though in my nature reigned” just like every human being made of flesh and blood “All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,” that he can do serious harm and compromise himself “That it could so preposterously be stained” and leave the youth who is good for something worthless instead “To leave for nothing all thy sum of good.”
And that in the wide universe “For nothing this wide universe” means nothing except for the youth “I call, Save thou”, who is his rose and his everything “my rose; in it thou art my all.”