My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandized, whose rich esteeming,
The owner's tongue doth publish every where.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops his pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough,
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore like her, I sometime hold my tongue:
Because I would not dull you with my song.
The poet continues to excuse his recent silence by saying that it is a sign of his increased love. Even the nightingale's song would become tedious if it were spread throughout the entire summer, when every other common bird was singing. It is noticeable in this sonnet that the imagery almost takes command, and what in the beginning started as praise of the youth becomes a separate delight in the manifestations of early summer, as the days ripen, and birds sing from every tree. Finally the poet puts an end to it all, and insists that silence is best, since the beauty of their love does not need a prattling tongue to enliven it with song.
The sonnet is part of the group of four which run from 100 to 103, and is a variation on the theme of silence which they seek to explain and excuse.
The 1609 Quarto Version
MY loue is ſtrengthned though more weake in ſee-
I loue not leſſe,thogh leſſe the ſhow appeare, (ming
That loue is marchandiz'd,whoſe ritch eſteeming,
The owners tongue doth publiſh euery where.
Our loue was new,and then but in the ſpring,
When I was wont to greet it with my laies,
As Philomell in ſummers front doth ſinge,
And ſtops his pipe in growth of riper daies:
Not that the ſummer is leſſe pleaſant now
Than when her mournefull himns did huſh the night,
But that wild muſick burthens euery bow,
And ſweets growne common looſe their deare delight,
Therefore like her, I ſome-time hold my tongue:
Becauſe I would not dull you with my ſonge.