My mistress’ eyes are nothing prefer thesun; Coral is far more red 보다 her lips’ red; If eye be white, why then her breasts room dun; If hair be wires, black color wires thrive on her head. I have seen roses damask’d, red and white, but no such roses see I in her cheeks; and also in some perfumes is there much more delight 보다 in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, however well I understand That music afoot a far much more pleasing sound; I grant I never ever saw a goddess go; mine mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: and yet, through heaven, ns think mylove as rare As any she belied through false compare.

Summary: Sonnet 130

This sonnet compare the speaker’s lover come a number ofother beauties—and never in the lover’s favor. She eyes are “nothinglike the sun,” her lips are less red 보다 coral; compared to whitesnow, she breasts room dun-colored, and her hair are choose blackwires on she head. In the 2nd quatrain, the speaker claims he hasseen roses separated by color (“damasked”) into red and white, buthe sees no together roses in his mistress’s cheeks; and he states thebreath that “reeks” native his mistress is much less delightful than perfume.In the third quatrain, that admits that, though he loves her voice,music “hath a far much more pleasing sound,” and also that, though he hasnever viewed a goddess, his mistress—unlike goddesses—walks ~ above theground. In the couplet, however, the speaker declares that, “byheav’n,” he think his love together rare and an useful “As any kind of she beliedwith false compare”—that is, any kind of love in which false comparisonswere invoked to define the loved one’s beauty.

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Read a translate into of Sonnet 130→

Commentary

This sonnet, among Shakespeare’s many famous, dram anelaborate hoax on the conventions that love poetry usual to Shakespeare’sday, and also it is so well-conceived that the joke remains funny today.Most sonnet assignment in Elizabethan England were modeled afterthat of Petrarch. Petrarch’s famous sonnet sequence to be writtenas a series of love poems to an idealized and also idolized mistressnamed Laura. In the sonnets, Petrarch praises she beauty, she worth,and her perfection making use of an extraordinary range of metaphors based largelyon organic beauties. In Shakespeare’s day, these metaphors had actually alreadybecome cliche (as, indeed, lock still room today), however they werestill the accepted technique for writing love poetry. The resultwas that poems tended to make highly idealizing comparisons betweennature and the poets’ lover that were, if bring away literally, completelyridiculous. My mistress’ eye are choose the sun; she lips space redas coral; she cheeks are favor roses, she breasts room white together snow,her voice is choose music, she is a goddess.

In many ways, Shakespeare’ssonnets subvert and reverse the conventions the the Petrarchan lovesequence: the idealizing love poems, for instance, room written notto a perfect woman however to an admittedly imperfect man, and the love poemsto the dark lady are anything but idealizing (“My love is as a fever,longing tho / For that which much longer nurseth the disease” is hardlya Petrarchan conceit.) Sonnet 130 mocksthe common Petrarchan metaphors by presenting a speaker that seemsto take them at confront value, and also somewhat bemusedly, decides to tellthe truth. Your mistress’ eyes are like the sun? That’s strange—mymistress’ eye aren’t in ~ all like the sun. Your mistress’ breathsmells like perfume? my mistress’ breath reeks compared to perfume.In the couplet, then, the speaker mirrors his full intent, i m sorry isto insist that love go not require these conceits in order to bereal; and women execute not should look choose flowers or the sunlight in orderto be beautiful.

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The rhetorical structure of Sonnet 130 isimportant come its effect. In the an initial quatrain, the speak spends oneline on every comparison between his mistress and also something else(the sun, coral, snow, and wires—the one hopeful thing in the wholepoem some component of his mistress is like. In thesecond and 3rd quatrains, he broadens the descriptions to occupytwo lines each, so the roses/cheeks, perfume/breath, music/voice,and goddess/mistress each receive a pair of unrhymed lines. Thiscreates the effect of an expanding and also developing argument, andneatly stays clear of the poem—which does, after ~ all, rely on a singlekind of hoax for its very first twelve lines—from becoming stagnant.


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