Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Hmm . . . I seem to be running on themes. Maybe if I keep up this exercise through to the end I’ll write about some sonnets that aren’t about impermanence and the immortality of love. But also, isn’t this one special in how understated it is? Maybe that’s another thing that makes me love the sonnets so much; an easier yet awfully heavy-handed way to go about these ideas would be to declare everything passionately, but he just says it all so matter-of-factly, with quiet images like wandering ships and starlight.

And yes, let’s not admit impediments, shall we? Time (equal to Death, as always here, taking away, bearing endings) is there, observed, not fussed over, but still there with his endings. But before Time is Shakespeare himself — he can also be a culprit of ending, adding obstacles and diminishing thoughts to something that is bigger than him.

A joining of “true minds” isn’t fickle or fragile or fleeting and survives its own corporeal ending. Time is just a collection of tiny days and weeks, after all, and this is a fixed point, a guidepost. Who are we to try to alter this thing that watches over our incessant alterations and evolutions? We just look up, change course, nod, smile, and carry on, despite the world.

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