Against that time, if ever that time come,
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,
Call'd to that audit by advis'd respects;
Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass
And scarcely greet me with that sun thine eye,
When love, converted from the thing it was,
Shall reasons find of settled gravity;
Against that time do I insconce me here
Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
And this my hand against myself uprear,
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part:
To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
Since, why to love, I can allege no cause.
XLIX. The previous Sonnet had contemplated the possibility of a rival superseding the poet in his friend's affections. The desertion which would then ensue would imply, however, no unjustifiable fickleness. When the poet's merits and faults are summed up, the faults may well seem to preponderate. He can, indeed, find in himself no reason why he should be loved.
3. Whenas. When the time comes that. Hath cast his utmost sum. Has made up and balanced the account.
4. Advis'd respects. "Reasons of settled gravity" (line 8), "lawful reasons" (12).
10. Desert. Q. "desart" rhyming with "part."
12. To guard, &c. As a witness of the justice and propriety of such a course.
13. The strength of laws. Perfect legal right in taking this course.
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 10 Jan. 2014. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/49.html >.
Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?
Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
An Elizabethan Christmas
Clothing in Elizabethan England
Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
Going to a Play in Elizabethan London
Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
Publishing in Elizabethan England
Religion in Shakespeare's England
Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
Entertainment in Elizabethan England
London's First Public Playhouse
Shakespeare Hits the Big Time
More to Explore
How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
The Rules of Shakespearean Sonnets
The Contents of the Sonnets in Brief
Shakespeare's Sonnets: Q & A
Theories Regarding the Sonnets
Are Shakespeare's Sonnets Autobiographical?
Petrarch's Influence on Shakespeare
Theme Organization in the Sonnets
Shakespeare's Greatest Love Poem
Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton
The Order of the Sonnets
The Date of the Sonnets
Who was Mr. W. H.?
Are all the Sonnets addressed to two Persons?
Who was The Rival Poet?
Points to Ponder... "I don't think it matters much who "W. H." was. The great question is, do Shakspere's Sonnets speak his own heart and thoughts or not? And were it not for the fact that many critics really deserving the name of Shakespeare students, and not Shakespeare fools, have held the Sonnets to be merely dramatic, I could not have conceived that poems so intensely and evidently autobiographic and self-revealing, poems so one
with the spirit and inner meaning of Shakspere's growth arid life, could ever have been conceived to
be other than what they are, the records of his own loves and fears. And I believe that if the
acceptance of them as such had not involved the consequence of Shakespeare's intrigue with a married
woman, all readers would have taken the Sonnets as speaking of Shakespeare's own life. But his
admirers are so anxious to remove every stain from him, that they contend for a non-natural interpretation of his poems." (F.J. Furnivall. The Leopold Shakespeare, p.72.)
Shakespeare's Treatment of Love in the Plays
Shakespeare's Dramatic Use of Songs
Shakespeare Quotations on Love
Shakespeare Wedding Readings
Shakespeare on Sleep