Summary and Analysis Sonnets 153 and 154



These two sonnets, which may be considered as appendices to the preceding sonnet story, do not touch upon any of the major themes in the sonnets. In Sonnet 153, after Cupid, god of love, falls asleep, a "maid of Dian's" steals Cupid's "love-kindling fire" and extinguishes it in a golden valley's fountain. As the fountain absorbs the heat from the fire, the water acts as a curative potion for "strange maladies" — for example, love sickness. However, the poet finds the best cure for his passion in his mistress' eyes.

Sonnet 154 tells a similar story as the one in Sonnet 153. Cupid falls asleep and a nymph steals his "heart-inflaming brand." She quenches the brand in a cool well, but the poet, who has come to the well to find relief from his love for the mistress, continues to suffer: "Love's fire heats water, water cools not love." The poet's disease is incurable, as we have known it must always be.


Dian the goddess of chastity, Diana.

votary nymph of Diana, votaress.