This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 136. 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 136 (Original Text)
If thy soul check thee that I come so near,Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;Thus far for love my love-suit sweet fulfill.Will will fulfill the treasure of thy love,Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.In things of great receipt with ease we proveAmong a number one is reckoned none.Then in the number let me pass untold,Though in thy store’s account I one must be.For nothing hold me, so it please thee holdThat nothing me, a something sweet to thee.Make but my name thy love, and love that still;And then thou lov’st me, for my name is Will.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 136 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 136 Analysis
The poet tells his mistress that if her conscience gets bothered when he approaches her for physical pleasure “If thy soul check thee that I come so near,” then simply fool her conscience by telling it that he is her lover “Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,” and her conscience will agree as it knows only a will (sex) is allowed in her bed “And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
He requests her to give in to his physical desire to sleep with her as an act of charity “Thus far for love my love-suit sweet fulfill” and he will satisfy her physical need of pleasure completely “Will will fulfill the treasure of thy love,”. He will also make sure she gets her fill of other men among which he too will be one “Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one” And by indulging in the physical act it will prove “In things of great receipt with ease we prove” that sleeping with one person for physical pleasure is not enough for her “Among a number one is reckoned none.
Among her many loves and escapades she has in bed, he should be included among them “ “then in the number let me pass untold,” but she not count him among her stock of lovers “Though in thy store’s account I one must be.” She should consider him nothing and if it pleases her “For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold “ that even as a nobody, she should consider that he sweet to her “That nothing me, a something sweet to thee.”
And she should love his name always “Make but my name thy love, and love that still;” and b y doing so, she will love him too because his name is “will”. (The name “will” here is a pun intended to show that since his mistress loves the object of physical pleasure for her, he is synonymous with that because of his name that is “will”