ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Shakespeare Sonnet 42

Updated on May 5, 2020
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

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

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Source

Introduction and Text of Sonnet 42: "That thou hast her, it is not all my grief"

The writer of these Shakespeare sonnets continues to concoct clever little dramas to examine his own talent in this section of the sequence. His exploration of art and artist has revealed that he has a nimble mind that can create many different angles to explore his thought processes. Can an artist be separated from his art? What is the difference between the artist, the act of creating the art, and the final, created product? Sonnets 30-42 have been exploring, even agonizing, over this conundrum. In sonnet 42, the speaker continues to contemplate the unified nature of art and artist, or poem and poet. Also once again, this speaker is musing on and addressing his talent. He cleverly personifies that talent as a lover who has attempted to capture the heart of his mistress, the sonnet.

Sonnet 42: "That thou hast her, it is not all my grief"

That thou hast her, it is not all my grief
And yet it may be said I lov’d her dearly;
That she hath thee, is of my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye:
Thou dost love her, because thou know’st I love her;
And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,
Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.
If I lose thee, my loss is my love’s gain,
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
And both for my sake lay on me this cross:
But here’s the joy; my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.

Reading of Shakespeare sonnet 42

Shakespeare Sonnet Titles


The Shakespeare Sonnet sequence does not feature titles for each sonnet; therefore, each sonnet's first line becomes the title. According to the MLA Style Manuel: "When the first line of a poem serves as the title of the poem, reproduce the line exactly as it appears in the text." APA does not address this issue.

Commentary

The speaker is contemplating the unified nature of art and artist. He addresses his talent, personifying it as a lover who has tried to pursue his mistress, the poem.

First Quatrain: A Lover's Triangle

That thou hast her, it is not all my grief
And yet it may be said I lov’d her dearly;
That she hath thee, is of my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.

In the first quatrain, the speaker uses his ingenuity to set up a scenario of a love triangle. The speaker addresses what seems to be a third party, who has stolen or tried to steal the speaker’s mistress: "That thou hast her, it is not all my grief." However, the speaker ford make it abundantly clear that even if the would-be lover-thief has, indeed, stolen the mistress, the speaker is not devastated by it. Even though the speaker "lov’d her dearly," he is more upset that the mistress might return the affection of the intrusive lover, that is, be taken by him. If she is willing to take the third party of the triangle, the speaker is more affected.

Second Quatrain: The Drama of Creation

Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye:
Thou dost love her, because thou know’st I love her;
And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,
Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.

Then the speaker addresses the would-be intrusive lover and the supposed mistress, calling them "Loving offenders" but saying he "excuses" them. And he explains why he is being so magnanimous: he knows that the intrusive lover loves his mistress, only because the speaker loves her. And the mistress’s affection for the intrusive lover is the result of her wishing to keep favor with the speaker. Such a situation demonstrates that the speaker is not referring to a literal unfaithful mistress and would-be adulterer. The personified concepts stand metaphorically for poem (mistress) and talent, or art and process (would-be stealer of the mistress’s heart).

Third Quatrain: Speculation and the Nature of Loss

If I lose thee, my loss is my love’s gain,
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
And both for my sake lay on me this cross:

The speaker then speculates about the nature of loss, and he decides that if he loses that particular poem, he still wins because he has the ability to create others. If the poet/speaker loses the ability to create others, he would lose both that poem and any future poems he might create. And that loss would indeed result in his having a "cross" to bear.

The Couplet: The Realization of Unity

But here’s the joy; my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.

However, the speaker then triumphantly announces, "here’s the joy; my friend and I are one." Once again, the musing speaker reaches the conclusion that he is eternally united with his talent. So because there is no separation between himself and his ability to create poems, he cannot lose either the poem or his talent.

Source

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford: The Real "Shakespeare"

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

Submit a Comment
  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    3 years ago from U.S.A.

    Good point, Mark. The speaker seems to go through some tortured logic at times, but his contortions always result in those marvelous dramas that make abundant good sense.

    How fortunate we are that this Shakespearean writer wrote so well and so much!

  • Mark Tulin profile image

    Mark Tulin 

    3 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

    I like the realization at the end. It seems to me that talent and the person outweighs any one poem. Because you could always create more poems if you have the talent.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)