Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sonnet 145 by William Shakespeare

I first read this sonnet when I was in high school (and no, it was not I assigned - I was reading the sonnets for my own enjoyment) and ever since then it has been one of my favorites. One reason I like it is that it reminds me of the surprise endings of O'Henry; a second reason is that it shows that even Shakespeare, a master of poetry, didn't follow the rules - sonnets are supposed to have ten syllables to a line, but this one only has eight.

Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said 'I hate'
To me that languish'd for her sake;
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
'I hate' she alter'd with an end,
That follow'd it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away;
   'I hate' from hate away she threw,
   And saved my life, saying 'not you.'

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