In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing;
In act thy bed-vow broke, and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing:
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjured most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee,
And all my honest faith in thee is lost:
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy;
And, to enlighten thee, gave eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see;
For I have sworn thee fair; more perjured eye,
To swear against the truth so foul a lie!
The language of this
sonnet, more than any other,
leans heavily on the language of the law courts - 'Do you solemnly
that the evidence you will give will be the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth?'.
(for)sworn is used 4 times; swear(ing) 3 times; oaths 4 times; vow(s) twice; perjured twice; truth twice; faith twice; and honest and constancy are also to be found. It seems as if the writer is setting up for trial, in the court of posterity, the justification for his love, a justification which he undermines at every turn. He cannot find the words or reasons that will sanction this love, yet he will not abandon it, and if it is a lie against the truth, then so be it, for love must sometimes break the mould of the predictable world around us and enrich our lives with the tawdry and imperfect, rather than provide us with the ideal and cold beauty which is the subject of our endless and futile searching.
The 1609 Quarto Version
IN louing thee thou know'ſt I am forſworne,
But thou art twice forſworne to me loue ſwearing,
In act thy bed-vow broake and new faith torne,
In vowing new hate after new loue bearing :
But why of two othes breach doe I accuſe thee,
When I breake twenty:I am periur'd moſt,
For all my vowes are othes but to miſuſe thee:
And all my honeſt faith in thee is loſt.
For I haue ſworne deepe o hes of thy deepe kindneſſe:
Othes of thy loue,thy truth,thy conſtancie,
And to inlighten thee gaue eyes to blindneſſe,
Or made them ſwere againſt the thing they ſee.
For I haue ſworne thee faire:more periurde eye,
To ſwere againſt the truth ſo foule a lie.