SONNET NO. 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments: Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
0, no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken
Loves not time's fool though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ and no man ever loved.
5th Line. Mark=a sea buoy or beacon.
9th Line. Times fool = the sport or mockery of time.
12th Line. Bears it out = survives.
13th Line. Upon me proved = proved against me.
Here we are told that love between two true minds never
alters in the course of time but is fixed for ever and can never be
shaken by misfortune (tempests). It is fixed like the pole star
-which is used by sailors to show them the position of their
boat. He tells us that time that cuts down with his sickle rosy
lips and cheeks (beauty and youth) cannot alter or destroy love
which is immortal and that true love will out ride all the
misfortunes of this world.
King James and his favourite Buckingham were both extrava-
gant. To raise money they exploited certain trades by creating
them monopolies using two men, Mitchell and Mompesson-the
latter being Buckingham's brother-in-law. This angered the
House of Commons who impeached Mitchell and Montpesson
for their extortions on behalf of the King and Buckingham.
To save himself and Buckingham-the King told the Commons
that he had been advised by the Lord Chancellor, Bacon, that
the monopolies were legal, throwing the blame on Bacon.
The Commons then attacked Bacon and the Chancery Court for
abuses such as taking bribes. The King sent for Bacon, when
Bacon spoke to the King the words in the next Sonnet No.117.