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Shakespeare Sonnet 31: "Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts"

Updated on October 7, 2017
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

After I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962, poetry became my passion.

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford



In sonnet 31, the speaker/poet is dramatizing an important function of his poetry. He is able to place his friends and lovers in his poems and thereby keep them alive.

As the reader has discovered before in this sonnet sequence, the speaker is once again touting the power and magic that being able to compose brings into his life.

First Quatrain: “Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts”

In the first quatrain, the speaker is addressing his art, his poetry, telling the poem that it holds all of the former loves of his life, and even though he has thought them gone, they indeed continue to live on in his poems.

All of his friends whom he has cherished continue to live, because “there reigns Love, and all Love’s loving parts.” In his poems, he can create a special place where his dear ones will remain forever.

Second Quatrain: “How many a holy and obsequious tear”

The speaker has shed many tears because of the false notion that his dear ones had disappeared. He is now emphasizing the importance of the tears by labeling them “holy and obsequious.”

The speaker had cried, out of duty as much as out of sorrow, because the dead seem to call forth from hearts passion and intensity.

But the speaker now realizes that the passion and intensity are only “hidden in thee,” that is, they are immortalized in his poetry.

Third Quatrain: “Thou art the grave where buried love doth live”

The speaker is metaphorically comparing his poetry to a grave, “where buried love doth live.” However, ironically, instead of simply reclining forever in the cold ground that seemingly buried love instead “doth live.”

The speaker's talent has the magical ability to keep his love alive in his poetry. He cherishes this function of his talent. He once again is showing how his blessed talent for composing sonnets has the power to give life to his most precious attributes.

Everything the speaker has gained from his lovers he continues to retain by capturing it all in his poems. The poems are like a shelf that holds “the trophies of [his] lovers gone.” And now what he once owned of his former lovers belongs solely to the poems.

The speaker's ability to create pieces of art enhances his life, and instead of bragging about his talent, he demonstrates his joy and passion by creating places that display the loves of his life.

The Couplet: “Their images I lov’d I view in thee”

The couplet completes the thought and makes it even more abundantly clear: “Their images I lov’d I view in thee, / And thou—all they—hast all the all of me.”

The speaker's poems contain images of his lovers, and he can see them clearly anytime he chooses. He has given his whole heart, mind, and soul to this art as he creates his poems to serve as the repository of his love.

Reading of Shakespeare Sonnet 31

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes


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    • Maya Shedd Temple profile image

      Linda Sue Grimes 12 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Louise. I have started a book of my commentaries: of the Shakespeare sonnets and others; don't know if I'll actually try to publish them though. Have a great & blessed day!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 12 months ago from Norfolk, England

      I enjoy reading your analysis of sonnets and poems. You should write a book!