Skip to main content
or search all Shakespeare texts
Back to main page

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 39


Navigate this work

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 39
Jump to

Sonnet 39



As in s. 36, the poet finds reasons to excuse the fact that he and the beloved are parted. First, it is easier to praise the beloved if they are not a “single one”; and, second, absence from the beloved gives the poet leisure to contemplate their love.

O, how thy worth with manners may I sing
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring,
4And what is ’t but mine own when I praise thee?
Even for this let us divided live
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
8That due to thee which thou deserv’st alone.
O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
12Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
 And that thou teachest how to make one twain
 By praising him here who doth hence remain.