Shakespeare's Sonnets By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Sonnet 118

Summary

The poet now elaborates on lines 5 and 6 from the previous sonnet: "That I have frequent been with unknown minds / And given to time your own dear-purchased right." Here in Sonnet 118, because a jaded appetite needs reviving, both the poet and the youth seek new, if not better, acquaintances. When the poet compares the youth to a "ne'er-cloying sweetness," he sets up an antithesis in describing his newer friends as "eager compounds" and "bitter sauces." Declaring himself to be "diseased," the poet is displeased in his choice of medicines: "To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding." Reacting to the youth's emotional withdrawal from the relationship, the poet overreacts and finds that the cure to his ailing heart is worse than the original malady of unrequited love. Where originally there was no sickness, now there are "faults assured," but only after the fact does the poet realize his mistake: "But thence I learn, and find the lesson true, / Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you." Mutual affection between the poet and the youth is in decline.

Glossary

meetness fitness to the occasion.

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