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Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all;
What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
No love, my love, that thou may'st true love call;
All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.
Then if for my love thou my love receivest,
I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;
But yet be blamed, if thou thyself deceivest
By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty;
And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief
To bear love's wrong than hate's known injury.
   Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
   Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.


XL. The poet hears, it may be assumed, during his absence (of. xli. 2), that the liaison between Mr. W. H. and the dark lady is resumed or continued. But the poet and his friend being so entirely united that they were one (xxxix.), and that what belonged to the one belonged to the other, no fraud or robbery could have been committed. Still in outward form there seemed a robbery, which, though it causes pain to the poet, he forgives. The offence is even becoming and suitable to his young friend and the friendship must not be changed into enmity.

4. This more. This addition.

5. "If thou for my love (personal affection) receivest my love (loved mistress)" -- a line quite suitable to the idea that Shakespeare was away in the country at the time.

6. Still playing on the double sense of "love."

7. Thyself. Q. "this selfe." Deceivest. Mr. W. H., it is suggested, may be committing a fraud on himself.

8. By wilful taste of what thyself refusest. This has been explained of Mr. "W. H.'s not having accepted the advice of i-xvii.

10. All my poverty. Instead of "all my wealth," and implying the scantiness of the poet's possessions.

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 10 Jan. 2014. < >.

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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.)


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