Sonnet 134

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Sonnet 134

So now I have confessed that he is thine,
And I myself am mortgaged to thy will,
Myself I'll forfeit, so that other mine
Thou wilt restore to be my comfort still:
But thou wilt not, nor he will not be free,
For thou art covetous, and he is kind;
He learned but surety-like to write for me
Under that bond that him as fast doth bind.
The statute of thy beauty thou wilt take,
Thou usurer that put'st forth all to use,
And sue a friend came debtor for my sake,
So him I lose through my unkind abuse.
Him have I lost, thou hast both him and me;
He pays the whole, and yet I am not free.

–William Shakespeare

In Shakespeare's Sonnet 134, the speaker confronts the mistress after learning that she has seduced the Fair Youth.


In the first quatrain, the speaker confesses that both he and the friend are at the mistress's mercy; in the second one, he surmises that the attachment will hold, due to the friend's naivete and the mistress's greed.

The remainder of the poem construes the mistress as an unethical moneylender: metaphorically, she lent her beauty to the speaker and then collected the friend as interest.