Sonnet 142: Love Is My Sin, And Thy Dear Virtue Hate

Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving,
O, but with mine, compare thou thine own state,
And thou shalt find it merits not reproving,
Or if it do, not from those lips of thine
That have profaned their scarlet ornaments
And sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine,
Robbed others' beds' revenues of their rents.
Be it lawful I love thee as thou lov'st those
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee.
Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows
Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.
If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
By self-example mayst thou be denied!

by William Shakespeare

Comments (2)

This sonnet continues to develop the traditional idea that was introduced in the concluding line of the previous one, That she that makes me sin awards me pain. The theme of the sonnet is that his mistress should replace the hatred that she shows towards him by pity, a word which traditionally covered a whole range of actions and emotions, from sympathy, to a mere friendly glance, a disposition to tolerate or listen to the lover, or the allowing of a kiss, or (rarely) sexual intercourse. Here the poet makes it clear that it is the latter which is preferable, and he deliberately swerves aside from the Petrarchan tradition by accusing both her and himself of frequent adulteries, and pleading that he has as much right to her body as those other men whom she seems always to prefer to him. But, he concludes, if she shows pity for him, it will stand her in good stead for the future, when she herself might need to be pitied and have her sexual desires gratified. shakespeares-sonnets.com/
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