Sonnet 42 by William Shakespeare
That thou hast her it is not all my grief
Sonnet 42 | That thou hast her it is not all my grief,
By William Shakespeare
Original Text of Sonnet
That thou hast her it is not all my grief,
And yet it may be said I loved her dearly;
That she hath thee is of my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Loving offenders thus I will excuse ye:
Thou dost love her, because thou know’st I love her;
And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,
Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.
If I lose thee, my loss is my love’s gain,
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
And both for my sake lay on me this cross:
But here’s the joy; my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! then she loves but me alone.
Modern Text of Sonnet 42
That you have her isn’t the only thing that’s upsetting me,
although I can tell you I loved her dearly.
That she has you is the main reason that I’m crying –
a loss of love that hurts me more.
This is how I’ll make excuses for you two offenders in love:
You love her because you know I love her.
And in the same way, she abuses me for my own sake,
putting up with my friend making love to her because she knows I love him.
If I lose you my loss is my mistress’ gain.
And in losing her my friend is gaining.
You both gain each other and I lose both of you.
And both lay this burden on me for my own sake.
But here’s the happy part: my friend and I are one person.
What flattery! So she loves only me!
Introduction to Shakespearean Sonnets
Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets in total. All the sonnets were published together in the year 1609. These sonnets were inspired by a man that Shakespeare called the Fair Youth and Shakespeare’s mistress. The major themes of his sonnets were time, beauty, love, mortality, infidelity and deception.
Introduction to Sonnet 42
Shakespeare had a very complex love triangle. He was in love with a man he called a fair youth and his mistress, while the fair youth and Shakespeare’s mistress shared a very intimate relationship. In sonnet 42, Shakespeare expresses his grief that is caused him because of the betrayal of his friend and his mistress. He is calming himself down with the thought that they probably love each other because they love him. Sonnet 42 is the last one of the betrayal sonnets, 40 and 41 are the others.
Summary of Sonnet 42 | That thou hast her it is not all my grief,
I am not only upset because you have her, even though I love her very much. But, the thing that is hurting me the most is that she has your love too. I have lost my love; I have lost you and that is the main reason behind the tears I shed. But I myself will help you out and come up with a reason behind this deception. You love her because you know that I love her. And she has let me down and loves my friend because she knows that I love him too. If I lose my friend, my mistress wins. And if I lose my mistress, my friend wins. So, eventually, my loss is the win of my mistress and my friend. You two have deceived me because of me. But here’s the happy part. My friend and I are one. We are not two people but one entity. And if she loves him, she loves him.
Structure of the Sonnet
There is a specific structure of Shakespearean sonnets. Every poem is divided into three quatrains and a couplet. Quatrain is a stanza that comprises four lines and a couplet is a stanza with two lines only. Sonnet 42 follows the same structure. The couplet concludes the poem.
The rhyme scheme of the sonnet is abab cdcd efef gg.
Use of Poetic Devices
Poetic devices enhance the beauty of a text and help the poet in creating the emphasis that he wants to a beautiful way. Shakespeare used multiple poetic devices in sonnet 42, like alliteration and assonance.
Alliteration is the repetition of the first sound of words closely placed together within a line.
In the following line, for example
- That thou hast her it is not all my grief,
The sound of T is repeated is That and thou and the sound of h is repeated in hast and her.
In the line,
- A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
The sound of l is repeated in loss and love.
And in the line
- And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
The sound of l is repeated in losing and loss, and the sound of h is repeated in her and hath.
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds within words closely placed together within a line.
In the following line, for example,
- And both for my sake lay on me this cross:
The sound of o is repeated in both, for, on and cross.
Theme of Sonnet 42
The main theme of Sonnet 42 revolves around betrayal and sacrifice. The poet is talking about how a lover can sacrifice his love and emotions for the person he loves even though his beloved has betrayed him.
- Sonnet18 | Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day
- Sonnet 27 | Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed
- Sonnet 34 | Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day
- Sonnet 40 | Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all
- Sonnet 42 | That thou hast her it is not all my grief
- Sonnet 53 | What is your substance, whereof are you made
- Sonnet 54 | O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
- Sonnet 104 | To my friend you can never be old
- Sonnet 116 | Let me not to the marriage of true minds
- Sonnet 130 | My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun