Sonnet 93

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Sonnet 93
Detail of old-spelling text
Sonnet 93 in the 1609 Quarto
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So shall I live, supposing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; so love’s face
May still seem love to me, though alter’d new;
Thy looks with me, thy heart in other place:
For there can live no hatred in thine eye,
Therefore in that I cannot know thy change.
In many’s looks the false heart’s history
Is writ in moods and frowns and wrinkles strange,
But heaven in thy creation did decree
That in thy face sweet love should ever dwell;
Whate’er thy thoughts or thy heart’s workings be,
Thy looks should nothing thence but sweetness tell.
How like Eve’s apple doth thy beauty grow,
If thy sweet virtue answer not thy show!





—William Shakespeare[1]

Sonnet 93 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young man.


Contrary to the previous sonnet, Sonnet 92, in which Shakespeare tries to question the young man's morals and character, he may now be fluctuant in his character without his own knowledge. Shakespeare also goes ahead and basically refutes what he had said in the previous sonnet, now saying that the young man is a good person with upstanding morals. He goes on to say, "For there can live no hatred in thine eye". He is now refuting his previous statements and stating that the boy can not have bad morals or vice.

In the first quatrain of the sonnet, the poet says, "So shall I live, supposing thou art true", illustrating the initial doubt in the young man's moral character. Gradually, he starts to reason that the youth's beauty outweighs his moral flaws, a sort of superficial and narcisstic belief that the poet had previously criticized in earlier sonnets. The poet goes on to speak about the young man's facial beauty, without considering the virtue of the young man. Shakespeare acknowledges this possibility by saying, "How like Eve’s apple doth thy beauty grow", showing a connection to Adam and Eve, and how Eve's external beauty was countered by her internal moral lack of character.


Sonnet 93 is an English or Shakespearean sonnet. The English sonnet has three quatrains, followed by a final rhyming couplet. It follows the typical rhyme scheme of the form, abab cdcd efef gg and is composed in iambic pentameter, a type of poetic metre based on five pairs of metrically weak/strong syllabic positions. The 5th line exemplifies a regular iambic pentameter:

 ×    /    ×   /    ×  /  ×  /    ×   / 
For there can live no hatred in thine eye, (93.5)
/ = ictus, a metrically strong syllabic position. × = nonictus.

The meter demands a few variant pronunciations: line 2's "deceivèd" has three syllables,[2] and line 9's "heaven" functions as one.[3]


  1. ^ Pooler, C[harles] Knox, ed. (1918). The Works of Shakespeare: Sonnets. The Arden Shakespeare [1st series]. London: Methuen & Company. OCLC 4770201. 
  2. ^ Kerrigan 1995, p. 123.
  3. ^ Kerrigan 1995, p. 290.


First edition and facsimile
Variorum editions
Modern critical editions