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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 44


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 44
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Sonnet 44



In this sonnet, which links with s. 45 to form, in effect, a two-part poem, the poet wishes that he were thought rather than flesh so that he could be with the beloved. The poet, being mortal, is instead made up of the four elements—earth, air, fire, and water. The dullest of these elements, earth and water, are dominant in him and force him to remain fixed in place, weeping “heavy tears.”

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way,
For then, despite of space, I would be brought
4From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.
No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee,
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
8As soon as think the place where he would be.
But, ah, thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that, so much of earth and water wrought,
12I must attend time’s leisure with my moan;
 Receiving nought by elements so slow
 But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.