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Chizhik Alyona, gr.


W. Shakespeare

Sonnet 116

1 Let me not to the marriage of true minds

2 Admit impediments. Love is not love

3 Which alters when it alteration finds,

4 Or bends with the remover to remove.

5 Oh no! It is an ever fixed mark

6 That looks on tempests and is never shaken.

7 It is the star to every wandering bark,

8 Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

9 Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

10 Within his bending sickle's compass come.

11 Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

12 But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

13 If this be error and upon me proved,

14 I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Word-for-word translation:

Не дайте мне для [брачного] союза верных душ

допустить препятствия; та любовь не любовь,
которая меняется, находя изменения,
или сбивается с пути, подчиняясь обстоятельствам.
О нет, это установленная навечно веха,
которая взирает на бури, всегда неколебима;
для всякой блуждающей ладьи это звезда,
чье значение неизвестно, хотя бы ее высота была измерена.
Любовь - не шут Времени, хотя цветущие губы и щеки
подпадают под взмах его кривого серпа;
любовь не меняется с быстротекущими часами и неделями,
но остается _неизменной_ до рокового конца.
Если я заблуждаюсь, и мне это докажут,
_то, значит_, я никогда не писал и ни один человек
никогда не любил.

Poetic translation:

(Перевод М. Чайковского)

Не допускаю я преград слиянью

Двух верных душ! Любовь не есть любовь,
Когда она при каждом колебанье
То исчезает, то приходит вновь.
О нет! Она незыблемый маяк,
Навстречу бурь глядящий горделиво,
Она звезда, и моряку сквозь мрак
Блестит с высот, суля приют счастливый.
У времени нет власти над любовью;
Хотя оно мертвит красу лица,
Не в силах привести любовь к безмолвью.
Любви живой нет смертного конца...
А если есть, тогда я не поэт,
И в мире ни любви, ни счастья - нет!

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English

poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English
language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's
national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works
consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other
poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are
performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he

married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins
Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in
London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord
Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to
Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of
Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation
about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and
whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare's sonnets

Or simply The Sonnets, is a collection of poems in sonnet form written by

William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and
mortality. They were probably written over a period of several years.

Thematically, they all can be united into several groups. The first 17 sonnets, for
example, are written to a young man, urging him to marry and have children,
thereby passing down his beauty to the next generation. These are called the
procreation sonnets. Most of them, however, 18-126, are addressed to a young
man expressing the poet's love for him. Sonnets 127-152 are written to the poet's
mistress expressing his love for her. The final two sonnets, 153-154, are

What is more, there can be singled out three principle addressees of Shakespeare’s
messages. Most of the sonnets are addressed to a beautiful young man, a rival
poet, and a dark-haired lady. Readers of the sonnets today commonly refer to
these characters as the Fair Youth, the Rival Poet, and the Dark Lady. The narrator
expresses admiration for the Fair Youth's beauty, and later has an affair with the
Dark Lady. It is not known whether the poems and their characters are fiction or
autobiographical. If they are autobiographical, the identities of the characters are
open to debate.
Stylistic analysis of Sonnet 116

Sonnet 116 is one of the most famous of the sonnets for its defense of true love.
This is one of the few sonnets in the fair lord sequence that is not addressed
directly to the fair lord; the context of the sonnet, however, gives an exposition of
the poet's deep love for him.
The main themes of the sonnet are love and time. The main idea is that true love is
an immovable, firm and very powerful force. There are no obstacles for real love,
he calls love ‘an ever fixed mark’ which can’t be ruined by anything. This first
quatrain asserts that true love is immortal and unchanging. It neither changes nor
allows itself to be changed. Quatrain two contains series of sea metaphors to
show the permanence of true love: in line 5 it is an "ever-fixed mark," a sea mark
that navigators could use to guide their course; in line 7 it is a steadfast star. Both
of these metaphors emphasize the constancy and independence of true love. Also
there is written that even Time has no power on love. Time's "hours and weeks"
are "brief" compared to love's long life, and only some great destruction could
ruin its doom. Finally, Shakespeare claims that if his words are not true he isn’t a
writer and has never loved.

In comparison with most other sonnets, sonnet 116 is rather simple. The main
theme and idea are obvious. Actually, the definition of love that it provides is
common for most poets. This sonnet presents the ideal romantic love: it never
changes, it never loses brightness, it outlasts death and admits no flaw. Moreover,
it insists that this ideal is the only love that can be called "true love”.
It follows the typical structure of a Shakespearean sonnet with an abab cdcd efef
gg rhyme scheme and iambic pentameter. Another distinctive feature
characteristic of Shakespeare’s sonnets is the 1st person narration.
Compositionally the sonnet can be divided into four parts. The first quatrain says
what love is not, the second quatrain says what it is, the third quatrain says more
specifically what it is not and the couplet announces the speaker's certainty.
The language of Sonnet 116 is not remarkable for its imagery or metaphoric
range. In fact, its imagery, particularly in the third quatrain ( i.e. time wielding a
sickle that ravages beauty's rosy lips and cheeks) and its major metaphor (love as
a guiding star). The extraordinary feature of this sonnet is that it starts as in the
form of a dialog, as the author answers somebody’s question, as it happens in a
wedding ceremony, if he is against the marriage or not (Let me not to the
marriage of true minds admit impediments..). It expresses the poem's basic idea
that nothing should interfere with the course of true love.
With the help of the exclamation (Oh no!) the author accents arguments for his
opinion about true love. Then the passion in the speaker’s tone becomes stronger
and more urgent. Time is love’s most powerful enemy, and this is demonstrated
by the capitalization of the word making it a living creature. But of course true
love cannot be fooled by Time. Love cannot be measured in “brief hours and
weeks”; love is eternal; it “bears it out even to the edge of doom.”
Shakespeare presents the sonnet's central purpose of discussing the true nature of
love through the use of stylistic devices such as imagery, personification,
metaphors, rhyme scheme and others. The author makes use of these devices to
emphasize the ageless quality of love and the way in which it fights against the
damaging effects of time. Love is described there as an almost physical force, so
the author use personification. Also he uses alliteration ("sickle's compass
come") repetition of the strong "c" sound and repetition of the sound “m” ( “me,”
“marriage,” “minds”) probably to show its reference to marriage. The words
“admit” and “impediments” in the second line are examples of both assonance and
consonance because of the identical “i” and “m” sounds. He uses the metaphor
("Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks"). Words “Love,” “alter,” and
“remove” are repeated to put emphasis on those points. He is saying that if a
person is really in love he or she would not have to make changes in their lover to
make themselves happy, and that love cannot be taken back. There is a
comparison between love and time and how love is not affected by it (lines 11 and
12), repetitions of references to sailors, ships (lines 6,7,8), doom and time (lines
9,10,11) and epithet(rosy lips and cheeks) . In line fourteen, the poet declares “I
never writ, nor no man ever loved.” The words “never,” “no,” and “nor” are an
example of alliteration. These negative words are used to strengthen the poet’s
certainty of his opinion about love. There are old fashioned words (sickle, bark).

William Shakespeare’s poem “Sonnet 116 is an excellent poem. The author uses
various stylistic devices which make it remarkable and strong. Shakespeare has
created a masterpiece that describes his attitude to ideal romantic love, shows
what it is and is not, and expresses the unlimited force and power of true love.
Because of the brilliant use of stylistic devices in this poem, it will remain one of
the best poems ever written.