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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. < >.

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Shakespeare on Love

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
                   Romeo and Juliet, 2.2

Here is our collection of Shakespeare's most inspired and romantic passages on love and devotion.