Shakespeare Sonnet 49 (Original Text)
Against that time (if ever that time come)When I shall see thee frown on my defects;Whenas thy love hath cast his utmost sum,Called to that audit by advised respects;Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass,And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye;When love, converted from the thing it was,Shall reasons find of settled gravity;Against that time do I ensconce me hereWithin the knowledge of mine own desert,And this my hand against myself uprearTo guard the lawful reasons on thy part:To leave poor me, thou hast the strength of laws,Since why to love I can allege no cause.
Shakespeare Sonnet 49 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 49 Analysis
Continuing with his anxiety at losing the youth his friend whom he loves, Shakespeare says that he is anticipating the time “Against that time” when the friend will start frowning at his physical defects “see thee frown on my defects,” presumably when he gets old and when the friend’s limit of love has been reached “hath cast his utmost sum” will tell him that he does not love the poet anymore “Called to that audit by advis’d respects;”
He is in anticipation of the time “Against that time” when the youth will pass him on the street “thou shalt strangely pass,” but treat him like a stranger without acknowledging or even looking at him, “scarcely greet me with that sun,” at the time when there is no love left in him any more love, “converted from the thing it was” because the youth is now guided by better judgment “reasons find of settled gravity”
The poet says he is anticipating the time “Against that time” do when he will have to establish himself “I ensconce me here,” to live alone with the knowledge of how little he deserves “knowledge of mine own desert” and that he bears testimony against himself to “justify against myself uprear, “and defend the youth’s future actions “guard the lawful reasons on thy part:”
And to leave the poet who feels sorry for himself, “To leave poor me” the youth is well within his rights “thou hast the strength of laws” as the poet cannot provide any more reasons for the youth to love him “Since why to love I can allege no cause”