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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 42
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Last updated: Fri, Jul 31, 2015
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Navigate this workShakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 42
The poet attempts to excuse the two lovers. He first argues that they love each other only because of him; he then argues that since he and the young man are one, in loving the young man, the woman actually loves the poet. The poet acknowledges, though, that all of this is mere “flattery” or self-delusion.
That thou hast her, it is not all my grief,
And yet it may be said I loved her dearly;
That she hath thee is of my wailing chief,
4A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye:
Thou dost love her because thou know’st I love her,
And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,
8Suff’ring my friend for my sake to approve her.
If I lose thee, my loss is my love’s gain,
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
12And both for my sake lay on me this cross.
But here’s the joy: my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.