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sonnet 116

Explain each stanza in the sonnet 116?


The topic of Sonnet 116 is love.  The poem is a rumination on love, if you will.  Stanza by stanza, here's a paraphrase:

  1. Don't let me consider anything that would get in the way of a marriage between true minds.  Love does not change when its object's appearance or affections change, or if a lover turns or looks elsewhere, or if a lover is absent. 
  2.  Love is like a star that guides a ship, a star that stays steady during great storms.  Love is the star that guides every wandering ship, a star whose value, quality, true nature is unknown even though its measure is taken to determine the location of a ship. 
  3. Love is not made a mockery of by time.  Love is not a fool or clown.  Love lasts until the judgment day, resisting even the grim reaper.
  4. If my thoughts above are incorrect and it's proven to me, I've never written and no man has ever loved.

The first three stanzas are quatrains of four lines each.  The last two lines are a rhyming couplet.

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