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Those lips that Love's own hand did make Those lips of my mistress, made by the hand of Venus herself
Breath'd forth the sound that said 'I hate' Said "I hate"
To me that languish'd for her sake; To me, who pined for her love;
But when she saw my woeful state, But when she saw my pitiful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come, Immediately in her heart she felt mercy,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet Softening her sweet tongue
Was us'd in giving gentle doom; That was otherwise not too harsh;
And taught it thus anew to greet: And teaching that tongue to speak to me in a new loving way:
'I hate' she alter'd with an end, By adding words to the end of 'I hate'
That follow'd it as gentle day Those words that she added followed like a gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend Follows night, who like a devil
From heaven to hell is flown away; Flies away from heaven to hell;
'I hate' from hate away she threw, 'I hate' she separated from hate,
And sav'd my life, saying -- 'not you.' And she saved my life by adding -- 'not you'.


Straight (5): Straight away.

I hate (9): The mistress changes her statement from "I hate" to "I hate not you", as is revealed in line 14.

I...threw (13): In this line the poet tells us that his mistress distanced herself from the meaning of hate by adding the two vital words "not you." By adding these words she is really saying that the opposite of "I hate" is true - "I love" (you).

Sonnet 145 is unusual in that, unlike any of Shakespeare's other sonnets, it is written in tetrameters. Some believe that Shakespeare is not the true author of this poem because of its anomalous rhythm, and for more serious reasons. In his comprehensive edition of the play, Raymond MacDonald Alden has compiled a selection of criticism from noted scholars. Dowden calls the sonnet "ill-managed"; Wyndham says it has "an unpleasing assonance between the rhyme-sounds of the first quatrain"; and Acheson concludes that Shakespeare "certainly did not write [this sonnet], nor did anyone to whom the title of poet might be applied: it is possibly a flight of Southampton's own muse" (351).

Whether the above reasons are enough to conclude that Shakespeare is not the true author remains hotly debated. While it is obvious that Sonnet 145 is lacking unity and symmetry, we can see a connection to Sonnet 144 in the imagery of heaven and hell. It is plausible that Shakespeare simply felt uninspired during its composition. Amongst those who are convinced the sonnet belongs to Shakespeare, some argue that it was written for Anne Hathaway and not the dark lady. If we analyze the poem with this hypothesis in mind, we could claim that line 13 contains a pun on his wife's name: "hate away."

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 145. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 8 Dec. 2012. < >.

Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare's Sonnets. Ed. A. L. Rowse. London: Macmillan & Co., 1964.
Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare's Sonnets. Ed. Raymond Macdonald Alden. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916.
Walters, John Cuming. The Mystery of Shakespeare's Sonnets. London: The New century press, Ltd., 1899.

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Points to Ponder ... "In the Sonnets we may read of the poet's intense hopes and fears regarding his fate, and we learn of his all-consuming desire for immortality. Begin as he may with his theme, he almost invariably merges into allegory, and represents himself as the contestant of death. Bodily death he does not fear: oblivion he dreads. He therefore argues incessantly on the course he shall pursue to defy the ravages of time and prevent the loss of reputation. He may have the applause of the day (on the stage); or he may command lasting renown (by his pen). His "fair friend," his "better angel," bids him to seek immortality; his "dark" mistress, the alluring woman with the "mourning eyes," tempts him to delights of the present. The two series of poems are almost wholly allegorical and antithetical." John Cuming Walters. (The Mystery of Shakespeare's Sonnets)


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