Shakespeare’s Sonnet 138

I heard a portion of this sonnet quoted today while watching a movie. The portion quoted, the last four lines, intrigued me enough to look the entire sonnet up. It struck me when I did. I’ve long been a fan of Shakespeare but am far from an expert. Shakespeare’s observations on love and lying seem particularly astute. How many of us can relate to what he is saying here? How many of us have lived it? We often lie to ourselves and our lover in the name of love, don’t we? Reading this has given me the desire to spend more time gleaning the wisdom in his sonnets.

Sonnet CXXXVIII

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O! love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love, loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

Category: Other Poets, Relationships, William Shakespeare | No comments yet


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