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Here is William 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.
The poet had a case to make and a primary audience of one: you, dear creature, should return my love for any number of excellent reasons which I could name; you should put aside this reticence; you should grant me a kiss; you should grant me more than a kiss; you should be faithful only to me; you should be as I imagine you to be.
Praise and blame pervade the poetry of love but, in English, praise and blame are incidental to the sonnet's primary business, which is persuasion.
The poem's ideal is unwavering faith, and it purports to perform its own ideal.
Odd then, isn't it, how much of the argument proceeds by means of negation: "let me not," "love is not," "O no," and so forth.
This figure of speech implies that while one can feel the intensity of one's love, i.e.
hen the sonnet was imported into English from the Italian, early in the sixteenth century, it was understood to comprise a set of formal conventions (fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, a fixed rhyme scheme) and, of equal importance, a set of thematic and rhetorical conventions. They told a story; or rather, they refused to tell a story outright but were built around a story that took place in the space between individual lyrics.
Quatrains 1 and 3, declaring what love cannot be, enfold his definition of love in Quatrain 2.
The spondee, "It is," draws attention to the word "star" and the poem's essential metaphor, equating love and the North Star, at the poem's heart in lines 7 and 8.
The story was of love -- love unrequited, love requited but unfulfilled, love so fleetingly fulfilled as merely to make suffering keener, love thwarted by the beloved's absence, or aloofness, or prior possession by another.
Impediment was as central to the sonnet as was love. Without impediment, the lover would have no need to resort to poetry; he would have something better to do.