Sonnets are meditative

4 min readApr 29, 2022


O, call not me to justify the wrong

That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;

Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;

Use power with power, and slay me not by art.

Tell me thou lov’st elsewhere; but in my sight,

Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside;

What need’st thou wound with cunning when thy might

Is more than my o’erpressed defense can bide?

Let me excuse thee: ah, my love well knows

Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;

And therefore from my face she turns my foes,

That they elsewhere might dart their injuries —

Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,

Kill me outright with looks and rid my pain.

— William Shakespeare

The above poem is by 16th century greatest English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. Juxtaposition and association of all the sonnets are barely possible now. If I am to approach it initially, sonnet 139 is Shakespeare’s expression of love and feeling for his lover or mistress. Each line draws and entails a journey to look further at the other lines to be followed. In the first stanza, He tells them not to ask and justify the cruelty she had done to him. He states she has been eying other men. He also urges her to tell them about him. He gets clues about her relationships. This leads him to think that she can love anyone, but she shall not glance at others while being with him. If she does that, this would badly hurt him. However, he wants to uncover what has been left in their relationship. He indeed loves her to be open-minded, and that would tolerate him. In the second stanza, the speaker says her power has a massive role in his life, and it’s been quite difficult for him to defend against. Her appearance has been the biggest enemy as he has been domineered. She then turned to his enemy as he couldn’t stop watching her. Her appearance alone was so pleasant that sometimes it could even turn nightmarish from the initial times. It was something that always made him inferior to her. He further tells her not to kill him as he has been dead already since he started dreaming about her. These lines notify how much crazy he is towards her. Shakespeare’s sonnets are full of metaphysical symbols as they take the audience to think and dwell from the different sides of the poem. In his last stanza, He would love her to kill him again and lower his pain and suffering. With this line, the poet’s fondness can be known as he wants to die, again and again, glancing at her presence. The most powerful thing here has been her impression and facade.

Above poetry draws the utmost level of possibility a thinker or poet can think of his lover. A mistress or lady has committed a crime that is not physical. Her presence to him is something he cannot defend against. Her unkindness is nothing but her presence and habit of stealing glances at other men. It justifies the mistress is quite fond of young boys and men. The main contention of the writer is the unfaithfulness of his mistress. The poet tells her to explain about him when she is with other lads. It shows how much the speaker is concentrated on her. He desires nothing but to bring her back to life and start an immortal relationship. The power he denotes here is the presence of the mistress. Her looks have been something he will never get rid of, and they will always make him captivate and suffer in crazy ways. Speaker further urges her to be careful towards him as he has been badly tormented throughout. Sometimes one’s looks can be a terrible curse that affects others’ souls. Although it may not be a curse. There is a strong presence of metaphor in the last lines as the speaker refers to one thing by stating another. What does not satisfy him is her interest in his enemies. The enemy, I understand, is denoted mainly by his weakness. Because he admires her a lot, she has been superior, and the way he gets affected turns him as minor as ever. This shows how psychologically hypnotized he has been. But he enjoys dwelling in the ocean of uncertainties. Even though he has been dead already, he understands how significant it is to get mortal through her influence. She has been the most considerable misery and pain of his life, but he loves getting out of hell with the help of her kind love and existence. So, this sonnet is a magical flight of imagination. It is a fact that Shakespeare wrote many tragic plays in his entire life. I also sense the poet’s enormous feelings toward his huge mistress in this work. Everything was uncertain; he still loved her. In any circumstances, he will continue loving her because she has been the reason behind his existence. In melancholy, the poet remembers someone who profoundly impacts his life. He has nothing to offer except true love. Albeit in any situation, his longing will never dwindle. If someone’s existence has been a huge blessing, the lover would never feel bloated but to get blessed again and again.

(Note- I believe poems are not meant to be interpreted. Their existence itself is the most significant consideration for literature. The assessment below is subjective.)