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My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandized whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
   Therefore like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
   Because I would not dull you with my song.


CII. The poet excuses his previous silence. Love has increased in strength, even though declarations and utterances of love have become fewer. Affection becomes vulgarised by too frequent protestations. Sonnets following each other in rapid succession were suitable at the commencement of the friendship, just as the nightingale fills the groves with her music on the approach of summer. And the poet had paused in his song, as she does when summer advances, not wishing to weary his friend.

3. Merchandis'd. Is made common, passing from one to another. Whose rich esteeming. The great value in which he holds it.

7. In summer's front. In very early summer.

8. His pipe. So Q., though in line 10 we have "her mournefull himns."

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2013. < >.

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Sonnet Basics ... A sonnet is in verse form and has fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. Shakespeare's sonnets follow the pattern "abab cdcd efef gg", and Petrarch's sonnets follow the pattern "abba abba cdecde." All the lines in iambic pentameter have five feet, consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. For a more detailed look at iambic pentameter with examples, please click here.


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