In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn; to me love swearing,
In act thy bed-vow broke and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing.
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjured most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee
And all my honest faith in thee is lost,
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy,
And, to enlighten thee, gave eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see;
For I have sworn thee fair; more perjur'd I,
To swear against the truth so foul a lie!
CLII. The poet confesses that his attachment to his dark mistress convicts him of unfaithfulness. She, however, has been not only similarly unfaithful, but unfaithful anew to him. Still, he allows that he is the more untruthful; for, corrupt as she was, he had ascribed to her excellent virtues, and, in defiance of truth, had
proclaimed her beautiful.
1. Forsworn. As having been married long before.
3. In act. In reality. This is a very important qualification with
respect to Mrs. Fitton as the lady referred to. She may have alleged
that she was formally and legally free from her youthful marriage, probably a runaway match, without the consent of her parents. The poet alleges that in reality she had broken her marriage-vow. According to
modern usage, "in act" suggests another sense, which is here unsuitable, as the vow was broken in act, when swearing love to the poet.
4. The "new hate" and new love" are obviously towards the poet.
7. To misuse thee. To treat you in a manner entirely different from that
in which you ought to be treated.
8. In thee is lost. As being incurably depraved.
10, 11. Oaths of thy deep kindness, &c. Oaths that thou wast most kind,
loving, and faithful.
11. To enlighten thee. To shed lustre on thee.
12. Them. Eyes, apparently.
13. Perjur'd I. Q. has "perjurde eye."
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Dec. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/152.html >.
Shakespeare on Jealousy
Shakespeare on Lawyers
Shakespeare on Marriage
Blank Verse and Diction in Shakespeare's Hamlet
Analysis of the Characters in Hamlet
Shakespeare on the Seasons
Shakespeare on Sleep
Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?
Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
An Elizabethan Christmas
Clothing in Elizabethan England
Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
Going to a Play in Elizabethan London
Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
Publishing in Elizabethan England
Religion in Shakespeare's England
Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
Entertainment in Elizabethan England
London's First Public Playhouse
Shakespeare Hits the Big Time
More to Explore
How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
The Rules of Shakespearean Sonnets
Shakespeare's Sonnets: Q & A
Are Shakespeare's Sonnets Autobiographical?
Petrarch's Influence on Shakespeare
Themes in Shakespeare's Sonnets
Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton
The Order of the Sonnets
The Date of the Sonnets
Who was Mr. W. H.?
Are all the Sonnets addressed to two Persons?
Who was The Rival Poet?
Shakespeare's Greatest Metaphors
Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes