Those lips of my mistress, made by the hand of Venus herself
Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate'
Said "I hate"
To me that languish'd for her sake;
To me, who pined for her love;
But when she saw my woeful state,
But when she saw my pitiful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
In her heart she felt mercy,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Softening her sweet tongue
Was used in giving gentle doom,
That was otherwise not too harsh,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
And teaching that tongue to speak in a new loving way to me:
'I hate' she alter'd with an end,
By adding words to the end of "I hate"
That follow'd it as gentle day
Those words that she added followed like a gentle day
That followed, as a gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
Follows night, who like a devil
From heaven to hell is flown away;
Flies away from heaven to hell;
'I hate' from hate away she threw,
"I hate" she separated from hate,
And saved my life, saying 'not you.'
And she saved my life by adding "not you".
Straight (5): Straight away.
I hate (9): The mistress changes her statement from "I hate" to "I hate not you", as is revealed in line 14.
I...threw (13): In this line the poet tells us that his mistress distanced herself from the meaning of hate by adding the two vital words "not you." By adding these words she is really saying that the opposite of "I hate" is true - "I love" (you).
Sonnet 145 is unusual in that, unlike any of Shakespeare's other sonnets, it is written in tetrameters. Some critics believe that Shakespeare is not the true author of this poem because of its anomalous rhythm, and for more serious reasons, outlined by G. Blakemore Evans: "[Sonnet] 145 has proved an embarrassment to critics and editors. . . .A playful, neatly turned trifle, 145 conveys no sense of serious emotional involvement or complication, and the richly ambivalent associative language we commonly find in Shakespeare's sonnets is notably absent.
Moreover, its sudden 'intrusion' between 144 and 146 (both weighty and serious sonnets) is difficult to explain or justify, particularly so because the normal, kindly disposition attributed to the woman addressed (see lines 4-7) seems so inappropriate to the dark lady as she is usually characterized in earlier and later sonnets" (Blakemore Evans, 236). Whether the above reasons are enough to conclude that Shakespeare is not the true author remains hotly debated. While it is obvious that Sonnet 145 is lacking unity and symmetry, we can see a connection to Sonnet 144 in the imagery of heaven and hell. It is plausible that Shakespeare simply felt uninspired during its composition. Amongst those who are convinced the sonnet belongs to Shakespeare, some argue that it was written for Anne Hathaway and not the dark lady. If we analyze the poem with this hypothesis in mind, we could claim that line 13 contains a pun on his wife's name: "hate away."
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How to Cite this Article
Mabillard, Amanda. An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 145. Shakespeare Online. 2000. (day/month/year you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/145detail.html >.