shakespeare’s sonnet 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:
O 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.
Love’s 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, nor no man ever loved.


I love love. And I love words. So when I first read William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, so perfectly describing what to me had always been an indescribable feeling, my romantic little heart melted. Love is subjective, it comes in countless forms and does not discriminate and so I wondered how he managed to capture its very essence in the mere 14 lines a sonnet allows?

I am careful to tell people I’m a Shakespeare fan. I believe there is so much depth and beauty to his work that I’d be afraid my thoughts wouldn’t do it justice. I also have many friends who truly dislike Shakespeare, having often been involved in conversations where he is spoken of unfavourably. So forgetting who the man behind the quill and parchment is, I’m really only talking about these words specifically. In fact, I don’t think I even knew they were his until I was already taken with them.

Admitting that love is not perfect or without trials, this sonnet refers to a connection so strong that it overcomes all obstacles. It talks of relationships that defy time and distance to last beyond these struggles while recognising that love is an unmeasurable force, the magic of which we are lucky to even glimpse in our lifetime.

It it is the unconditional support and friendship of our life partners, family and friends that make each day worth it. At the age of 21, I chose the line ‘the star to every wandering bark’ as the script for my first tattoo. Translated, it refers to the journeymen who would follow the North star (Polaris) home when lost in their ship (bark) at sea. Although not physically lost, in my toughest times, it took the support and borrowed strength of those dearest to me to make it through… they were my star. It will always remind me that no matter how hard life seems, it does get better.

Sorry for the mid-week cheese folks, but here it is. In my posts for frannie loves marie, I will often share with you my favourite things. Because when the dog bites, when the bee stings and when I’m feeling sad, these are the pretty things that make me smile and I’d love to try to pay that forward.

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3 thoughts on “shakespeare’s sonnet 116.

  1. Pingback: to tattoo or not to? | frannie loves marie.

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