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Is it thy will thy image should keep open
My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,
While shadows, like to thee, do mock my sight?
Is it thy spirit that thou send'st from thee
So far from home into my deeds to pry,
To find out shames and idle hours in me,
The scope and tenor of thy jealousy?
O, no! thy love, though much, is not so great:
It is my love that keeps mine eye awake;
Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,
To play the watchman ever for thy sake:
   For thee watch I whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,
   From me far off, with others all too near.

Paraphrase of Sonnet 61


The poet returns to the motif of sleeplessness resulting from thinking of his friend, as we saw in Sonnet 27. Here the poet first wonders if his friend's spirit has come to spy on his activities, but then concludes that it is his (the poet's) own love, true and great, that stops him from sleeping. The poet is jealous and feels his friend's love does not match his own. As we see in lines 13-14, the poet worries that his friend is being entertained by others while they are apart.

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 61. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 23 Dec. 2013. < >.

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Shakespeare on Love

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
                   Romeo and Juliet, 2.2

Here is our collection of Shakespeare's most inspired and romantic passages on love and devotion.