Shakespeare Sonnet 116: Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds

This is the poem I have been memorizing the last several weeks. My challenge was to memorize one great poem a week. But, I keep forgetting and end up spending several weeks one. I’ll admit it, Shakespeare is so hard to understand, that I typically stay away from the great bard. But I learned long ago, that the way to understand him, is to find the paraphrase and then plug it plug it back into the original text. And, then I understand why people are so in love in with Shakespeare. His poetry is exquisite that way.

This one is about being in love, and how when two people are in love, nothing can stop them. And true love, withstands the test of time, crisis, and even infidelity. According to Shakespeare, you can never truly fall out of love, I guess.

So here it is, Sonnet 116, and its paraphrase below. Enjoy.

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved



Let me not declare any reasons why two
True-minded people should not be married. Love
is not love
Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances,
Or bends from its firm stand even when a love is
Oh no! It is a lighthouse
That sees storms but is never shaken
Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship,
Whose value cannot be calculated, although its
altitude can be measured
Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty
Comes within the compass of his sickle
Love does not alter with hours and weeks,
But rather, it endures until the last day of life
If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love
Then I recant all that I have written, and no man
has ever truly loved


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