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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 8


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 8
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Sonnet 8



The poet observes the young man listening to music without pleasure, and suggests that the young man hears in the harmony produced by the instrument’s individual but conjoined strings an accusation about his refusing to play his part in the concord of “sire and child and happy mother.”

Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lov’st thou that which thou receiv’st not gladly,
4Or else receiv’st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tunèd sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
8In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
12Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing;
 Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
 Sings this to thee: “Thou single wilt prove none.”