Sonnet 105

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Sonnet 105

Let not my love be called idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so.
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence;
Therefore my verse to constancy confined,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument,
Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words;
And in this change is my invention spent,
Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
Fair, kind, and true, have often lived alone,
Which three till now, never kept seat in one.

–William Shakespeare

Sonnet 105 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It's a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which some consider that the poet expresses his love towards a young man.

Synopsis[edit]

The poet denies that his love is a form of idolatry and that the youth himself is an idol. He insists that he has been constantly devoted to the values of fairness, kindness and truth. Being three themes united in the figure of the youth, there is great scope for verse, since they have never been united in one person before.

The language used is similar in some respects to the language in the Book of Common Prayer used to describe the Holy Trinity, and Shakespeare's triple repetition of the three attributes of the Fair Youth - "Three themes in one" - makes plain his deliberate comparison of the youth to a form of deity or idol, even as he purports not to engage in idolatry (in the sense of polytheistic worship of idols).