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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 154


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 154
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Sonnet 154



This sonnet, like s. 153, retells the parable of Cupid’s torch turning a fountain into a hot bath, this time to argue that the poet’s disease of love is incurable.

The little love-god, lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep
4Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire,
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed;
And so the general of hot desire
8Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed.
This brand she quenchèd in a cool well by,
Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
12For men diseased; but I, my mistress’ thrall,
 Came there for cure, and this by that I prove:
 Love’s fire heats water; water cools not love.