Shakespeare's Sonnets By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Sonnet 125

Summary

For the poet, love is not a matter of external pride — that is, he is not interested in his rivals' self-frustrating displays of false love (lines 1–2). The language here is philosophical, and the first quatrain suggests that the poet's public homage to the youth means little to the poet. The second quatrain reflects on the rivals who hope to win the youth's favor by sacrificing their imaginative resources on vain hopes. Playing off the image of tenants dwelling in their apartments and paying too much rent, the poet argues that his rivals for the youth's affection are "pitiful thrivers" — achievers of "form and favor" rather than of any real substance. In the third quatrain, the poet's offering to the youth is neither "mixed with seconds" nor "knows no art"; his affection for the youth is pure love, not like the artificial posturing of his rivals.

Glossary

extern exterior.

oblation offering.

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