Sonnet CXXXIX: O, call not me to justify the wrong

By William Shakespeare 1564–1616 William Shakespeare
O, call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;
Use power with power, and slay me not by art.
Tell me thou lov’st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside;
What need’st thou wound with cunning when thy might
Is more than my o’erpressed defense can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah, my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries—
    Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
    Kill me outright with looks and rid my pain.

Source: The Sonnets (Penguin Books, 2001)

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Poet William Shakespeare 1564–1616

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Unrequited Love

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 William  Shakespeare

Biography

While William Shakespeare's reputation is based primarily on his plays, he became famous first as a poet. With the partial exception of the Sonnets (1609), quarried since the early nineteenth century for autobiographical secrets allegedly encoded in them, the nondramatic writings have traditionally been pushed to the margins of the Shakespeare industry. Yet the study of his nondramatic poetry can illuminate Shakespeare's . . .

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Poems by William Shakespeare

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Unrequited Love

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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