Sonnet 40 | Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all

Sonnet 40 : Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all

By William Shakespeare


Original Text of the Sonnet 40

Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all:

What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?

No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call—

All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.


Then if for my love thou my love receivest,

I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;

But yet be blamed if thou this self deceivest

By wilful taste of what thyself refusest


I do forgive thy robb’ry, gentle thief,

Although thou steal thee all my poverty;

And yet love knows it is a greater grief

To bear love’s wrong than hate’s known injury.


Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,

Kill me with spites, yet we must not be foes.



Modern Text of Sonnet 40

What do you have then, that you didn’t have before?

Not love that you could call true love, my love;

all my love was already yours before you took this extra love from me.

If you make love to another person instead of accepting my love

I can’t blame you, love, because you’re just using my love.

But still, you are to blame if you deceive yourself.

by taking from someone else what you won’t take from me.

I forgive that robbery, dear thief,

even though you’re stealing from someone so poor.

And yet, everyone who loves knows that it’s more hurtful

to be wounded by someone you love than by an enemy.

You – gracious and lascivious at the same time, in whom everything bad appears good –

may kill me with pain, but we must not be enemies.


Introduction to Shakespearean Sonnets

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in total. All the sonnets were published together in the year 1609. Most of these sonnets were inspired by a man that Shakespeare truly admired and are said to be written solely for him. The identity of the beloved of the literary genius remains a mystery till date.

The structure of the sonnets remained constant throughout, which then became a standard for writing a Shakespearean sonnet.

Introduction to Sonnet 40

Shakespeare seemed to have experienced the most miserable love triangle ever. The poet had a mistress who loved the young man that Shakespeare called the Fair youth, while he himself had obsessions with him.

Shakespeare came to know about the intimate relationship between his mistress and that young man. Disheartened by the betrayal, the poet wrote this poem addressing the fair youth, expressing his grief. This sonnet is based upon the unfaithfulness and disloyalty of the young man and the dark lady towards the poet.

Summary of Sonnet 40 : Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all

Take everything I love, my love; yes, take it all. My love, you are allowed to take everything that I possess, but tell me how it will benefit you, for you already have everything. I gave you all my love and you even took away from me the little that was left in my heart. I cannot blame you; neither can I complain if you love someone else and not me. Though you are betraying nobody but yourself if you are letting other people get close to you and do not allow me the same privilege. I forgive you for what you have done to me, but everybody knows that it is very painful when you get hurt by somebody you love rather than an enemy. You, the graceful and the lustful, appear perfect to me no matter what you do. You are allowed to kill me with this pain, but do not hate me.

Structure of The Sonnet

Sonnet 40 follows the same structure as other Shakespearean sonnets. The poem is divided into four stanzas. The first three stanzas are quatrains, a stanza consisting of four lines, while the last stanza is a couplet, a stanza that consists of two lines only. The last stanza basically concludes the message in the poem

Use of Poetic Devices

Poetic devices help the poet with achieving that emphasis that he wants to create in a subtle and flawless way. Shakespeare used multiple poetic devices in Sonnet 40, like alliteration and repetition.


Alliteration is the repetition of the first sound of words closely placed together within a line.

In the following line, for example

What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?

The sound of t is repeated in the words thou, then and than.


And the sound of g is repeated in the words greater and grief in the following line

And yet love knows it is a greater grief.


Repetition is the simple repeating of a word, phrase, line or stanza in a poem. This is to bring the reader’s attention towards that specific part of the poem. It is mainly to emphasize an idea, thought or feeling. We can see that the word love is repeated several times in the poem.

Main Theme of Sonnet 40

The main theme of Sonnet 40 revolves around love and deception. The name “love” itself is repeated several times. The poem emphasises the idea that love can cause great pain when you do not get back what you are ready to give, and deception may cause great grief, especially when it is received from the person you love.