This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 134. 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 134 (Original Text)
So now I have confessed that he is thine,And I myself am mortgaged to thy will,Myself I’ll forfeit, so that other mineThou wilt restore to be my comfort still.But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free,For thou art covetous, and he is kind.He learned but surety-like to write for me,Under that bond that him as fast doth bind.The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take,Thou usurer, that put’st forth all to use,And sue a friend came debtor for my sake;So him I lose through my unkind abuse.Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me;He pays the whole, and yet am I not free.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 134 Modern English (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 134 Analysis
The poets admits to his mistress that since he has confessed that his friend also belongs to her (the poet ends sonnet 133 saying that he and his friend now belong to his mistress) “So now I have confessed that he is thine,” and he too is also legally bound to satisfy her needs and desires “And I myself am mortgaged to thy will,” he doesn’t mind sacrificing himself to her on the condition “Myself I’ll forfeit, so that other mine” that she will free his friend to comfort him in his predicament “Thou wilt restore to be my comfort still.
But he knows that she won’t agree to this which is why his friend doesn’t want to be set free “But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free,” because his mistress is too possessive while his friend is kindhearted “For thou art covetous, and he is kind.” He only got himself trapped because he was trying to free the poet “He learned but surety-like to write for me,” and was acting like a guarantor for the poet which has ensnared him to the poet’s mistress just like the poet “Under that bond that him as fast doth bind.”
He says like a money lender, she will extract the profits and advantages of being beautiful “The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take,” and she also loans her body to all so that she can use them “Thou usurer, that put’st forth all to use,” including his friend who has now been trapped into emotional debt with his mistress for his sake “And sue a friend came debtor for my sake; and he laments that because of his emotional torture, he has lost his friend also “So him I lose through my unkind abuse.”
And although the poet has lost his friend, his mistress has gained both of them “Him have I lost; thou hast both him and me’ And in spite of his friend paying up the emotional debt and offering himself to be trapped by his mistress, she has not even set the poet free “He pays the whole, and yet am I not free.”