Shakespeare's Sonnets: Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Sonnet 116

Original Text: 
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (London: G. Eld for T. T. and sold by William Aspley, 1609): h1r.
1Let me not to the marriage of true minds
3Which alters when it alteration finds
9Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
13    If this be error and upon me proved,
14    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


2] The 1559 Book of Common Prayer includes this command from the priest to the couple in the marriage ceremony: "I REQUIRE and charge you (as you wil aunswere at the dreadful day of judgement, when the secretes of all hartes shalbe disclosed) that if either of you doe knowe any impedyment, why ye may not be lawfully joyned together in Matrimony, that ye confesse it." Back to Line
4] remover] the one who leaves off loving. Back to Line
5] mark] sea-mark, what makes navigation possible. Back to Line
6] tempests] sea-storms. Extrametrical, with line 8. Back to Line
7] star] perhaps the North Star. bark] ship. Back to Line
8] Whose altitude, being measured (by astrolabe), does not predict its value for the ship (which relates to the star's alignment with the planets, brightness, etc.). Back to Line
10] compass] range; also the mariner's compass, "An instrument for determining the magnetic meridian, or one's direction or position with respect to it, consisting of a magnetized needle turning freely on a pivot; notably employed in the guidance of a ship's course at sea" (OED, "compass," n.1, 12.a). Back to Line
11] his] time's. Back to Line
12] bears it out] survives. ev'n] euen Q. edge of doom] see note to line 2. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: