Shakespeare’s Sonnet #40: “Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all”


Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all.
What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?

Reading of Sonnet 40

Click on video to play

The images in the YouTube video are from an original 1609 edition of Shake-speares Sonnets held by the British Library.  It is one of only thirteen copies in existence.  Images courtesy of the Octavo Corporation.  

Modernized Spelling and Punctuation

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 willful 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.

Simplified Modern English Translation

Go ahead and take all my loves, my love, yeah take them all.
What will you have then, more than what you already have?
No love that you may call true love;
all mine was already yours before you had this more.
If you are being friendly with my mistress on my account,
I cannot really blame you, since you are just showing love to me;
but I will blame you, if I find you are deceiving me
by being intimate with her, when I know you’re not even really interested.
I do forgive your robbery, gentle thief,
even though you steal what little I have;
and yet its a much more bitter pill to swallow
when your friends hurt you than when your enemies do so.
Lewd and seductive grace, in whom all evil looks good,
kill me with spites, but we must not be foes.

Text from Original 1609 Quarto

Transcription courtesy of University of Virginia Library:

Take all my loues, my loue, yea take them all,
What hast thou then more then thou hadst before?
No loue, my loue, that thou maist true loue call,
All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more:
Then if for my loue, thou my loue receiuest,
I cannot blame thee, for my loue thou vsest,
But yet be blam’d, if thou this selfe deceauest
By wilfull taste of what thy selfe refusest.
I doe forgiue thy robb’rie gentle theefe
Although thou steale thee all my pouerty:
And yet loue knowes it is a greater griefe
To beare loues wrong, then hates knowne iniury.
Lasciuious grace, in whom all il wel showes,
Kill me with spights yet we must not be foes.


 Posted by at 10:12 am

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