Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
Even those that said I could not love you dearer;
Yet then my judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning Time, whose million'd accidents
Creep in 'twixt vows and change decrees of kings,
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas, why, fearing of Time's tyranny,
Might I not then say 'Now I love you best,'
When I was certain o'er incertainty,
Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?
Love is a babe; then might I not say so,
To give full growth to that which still doth grow?
CXV. The poet retracts what he had previously written to the effect that his love for his friend was then as intense as possible. His affection has now become stronger than ever.
5. Reckoning Time. Taking account of time as ever changing the aspect and course of things, dulling the strongest affection, &c. Schmidt justly connects the "reckoning " with the "fearing of Time's tyranny " of line 9.
Million d accidents. "Millionfold, innumerable." SCHMIDT, Lex. The change of "million'd" to "million" would injure the line.
8. Divert strong minds to the course of altering things. Firm resolutions are changed by a change of circumstances. Cf. the Player King's speech in Hamlet, Act iii. sc. 2, lines 210, 211 and Troilus and Cressida, Act iv. sc. 5, end, "Sweet love is food for Fortune's tooth."
11. O'er incertainty. Presuming on the uncertainty of the future.
12. Crowning the present. By pronouncing it best.
13. Love is a babe. Having a babe's power of growth. The poet may
have in view the common representations of Cupid as a child. Might I
not say so. I ought not to have said so.
14. To give full growth. To suppose to be fully grown.
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 10 Jan. 2014. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/115.html >.
Points to Ponder... "I don't think it matters much who "W. H." was. The great question is, do Shakspere's Sonnets speak his own heart and thoughts or not? And were it not for the fact that many critics really deserving the name of Shakespeare students, and not Shakespeare fools, have held the Sonnets to be merely dramatic, I could not have conceived that poems so intensely and evidently autobiographic and self-revealing, poems so one
with the spirit and inner meaning of Shakspere's growth arid life, could ever have been conceived to
be other than what they are, the records of his own loves and fears. And I believe that if the
acceptance of them as such had not involved the consequence of Shakespeare's intrigue with a married
woman, all readers would have taken the Sonnets as speaking of Shakespeare's own life. But his
admirers are so anxious to remove every stain from him, that they contend for a non-natural interpretation of his poems." (F.J. Furnivall. The Leopold Shakespeare, p.72.)