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Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
Which I by lacking have supposed dead;
And there reigns love and all love's loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stolen from mine eye,
As interest of the dead, which now appear
But things remov'd, that hidden in thee lie!
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give;
That due of many now is thine alone:
Their images I lov'd I view in thee,
And thou (all they) hast all the all of me.


XXXI. This Sonnet is a continuation of xxx., the last two lines of which it expands. In his friend the poet finds again all those dear to him whose loss he had lamented.

1. Thy bosom is endeared to me by its having within it all hearts.

2. There they are alive, though they had been regarded as dead.

3. All love's loving parts. Alluding to the varied manifestations of affection displayed by the poet's deceased friends.

5, 6. Describe the sacred and reverent character of the poet's affection for his departed friends. Obsequious. Dutiful; cf. "obsequious sorrow." Hamlet, Act 1. sc. 2, line 92.

7. As interest of the dead. As that to which the dead had a rightful claim. Cf. "interest" in lxxiv. 3.

8. But things remov'd. They had but gone to take up their abode in his friend's breast. Thee. Q. "there."

9. Thou art the grave, &c. The imagery is suddenly changed, and if the poet's deceased friends are still alive, they live, as it were, in the grave.

10. Hung with the trophies. As in a church or cathedral, above the tombs of the dead.

11. Represents the greatness of his present affection as comprising all the separate parts due respectively to his former friends.

14. Emphasises 12. Thou art (all they), and hast all the all of me. Notice the strength of "all the all," instead of "all their parts of me."

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 14 Jan. 2014. < >.

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Thoughts on Sonnet 31... "Every beautiful, holy feeling, every pure woe at the surrender of a cherished religious idea or consolatory conviction, has enriched his innermost being, and in this enrichment he finds not alone his comfort, but all and more than he has lost. How many a holy and obsequious tear hath dear religious love stolen from his eye, as tribute to the dead that now appear no longer dead, but only removed to another place. His genius is the grave that has received them all, therein he sees them afresh and all they have all the whole of him. This "all they" as apposition to "thou" applied to real corporeal persons, would be mere sound signifying nothing." (D. Barnstorff. A key to Shakespeare's sonnets. Translated from the German by T. J. Graham.)


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