Let me confess that we two must be twain,
Although our undivided loves are one:
So shall those blots that do with me remain,
Without thy help, by me be borne alone.
In our two loves there is but one respect,
Though in our lives a separable spite,
Which though it alter not love’s sole effect,
Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love’s delight.
I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
Nor thou with public kindness honour me,
Unless thou take that honour from thy name:
But do not so, I love thee in such sort,
As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

Sonnet 36: Translation to modern English

Let me admit that we two have to part even though we are united in love. By parting those disgraces that we’ve brought on ourselves can be born by me alone, without any help from you. In our love for each other there is a single mind, even though circumstances, which force us apart, can’t destroy our love, but rob us of those sweet hours of mutual pleasure. I can’t ever openly acknowledge you again because my wretched guilt would bring shame on you. Nor can you honour me with public notice without dishonouring yourself. So don’t do that: my love for you is such that I value your reputation as though it were my own.

Search all of Shakespeare’s sonnets:

Sonnet 1, Sonnet 2, Sonnet 3, Sonnet 4, Sonnet 5, Sonnet 6, Sonnet 7, Sonnet 8, Sonnet 9, Sonnet 10, Sonnet 11, Sonnet 12, Sonnet 13, Sonnet 14, Sonnet 15, Sonnet 16, Sonnet 17, Sonnet 18, Sonnet 19, Sonnet 20, Sonnet 21, Sonnet 22, Sonnet 23, Sonnet 24, Sonnet 25, Sonnet 26, Sonnet 27, Sonnet 28, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 30, Sonnet 31, Sonnet 32, Sonnet 33, Sonnet 34, Sonnet 35, Sonnet 36, Sonnet 37, Sonnet 38, Sonnet 39, Sonnet 40, Sonnet 41, Sonnet 42, Sonnet 43, Sonnet 44, Sonnet 45, Sonnet 46, Sonnet 47, Sonnet 48, Sonnet 49, Sonnet 50, Sonnet 51, Sonnet 52, Sonnet 53, Sonnet 54, Sonnet 55, Sonnet 56, Sonnet 57, Sonnet 58, Sonnet 59, Sonnet 60, Sonnet 61, Sonnet 62, Sonnet 63, Sonnet 64, Sonnet 65, Sonnet 66, Sonnet 67, Sonnet 68, Sonnet 69, Sonnet 70, Sonnet 71, Sonnet 72, Sonnet 73, Sonnet 74, Sonnet 75, Sonnet 76, Sonnet 77, Sonnet 78, Sonnet 79, Sonnet 80, Sonnet 81, Sonnet 82, Sonnet 83, Sonnet 84, Sonnet 85, Sonnet 86, Sonnet 87, Sonnet 88, Sonnet 89, Sonnet 90, Sonnet 91, Sonnet 92, Sonnet 93, Sonnet 94, Sonnet 95, Sonnet 96, Sonnet 97, Sonnet 98, Sonnet 99, Sonnet 100, Sonnet 101, Sonnet 102, Sonnet 103, Sonnet 104, Sonnet 105, Sonnet 106, Sonnet 107, Sonnet 108, Sonnet 109, Sonnet 110, Sonnet 111, Sonnet 112, Sonnet 113, Sonnet 114, Sonnet 115, Sonnet 116, Sonnet 117, Sonnet 118, Sonnet 119, Sonnet 120, Sonnet 121, Sonnet 122, Sonnet 123, Sonnet 124, Sonnet 125, Sonnet 126, Sonnet 127, Sonnet 128, Sonnet 129, Sonnet 130, Sonnet 131, Sonnet 132, Sonnet 133, Sonnet 134, Sonnet 135, Sonnet 136, Sonnet 137, Sonnet 138, Sonnet 139, Sonnet 140, Sonnet 141, Sonnet 142, Sonnet 143, Sonnet 144, Sonnet 145, Sonnet 146, Sonnet 147, Sonnet 148, Sonnet 149, Sonnet 150, Sonnet 151, Sonnet 152, Sonnet 153, Sonnet 154,
1 reply
  1. John Gardener
    John Gardener says:

    No Love Can Be Separated by Spite

    Can love survive endless separation? Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 36” describes in brief the brutality of separation and the pain of shame and guilt. This poem focuses on two people who want to be together but cannot because of the poet’s reputation, which will somehow end their companionship. The poet’s guilt and shame over his reputation has caused this separation, but yet he continues to acknowledge his endless love for his beloved. The poet stresses how the two must be separated but yet he continues to recognize their love for one another by using metaphor and word choice of togetherness and apartness.

    Shakespeare uses the word “twain” in the first line of the sonnet to express a sense of apartness. In The Oxford English Dictionary Online the word twain is described as “separated, or apart”. The poet is using the word twain to express a sense of separation between the two. Although he is using the word twain in the first line to express separation, he continues by saying “Although our undivided loves are one” (2). Now in a sense of togetherness, Shakespeare is expressing their “undivided loves”. This use of metaphors suggests that they are married. Although we do not know at this point if his spouse is a male or female, we come to the conclusion that the poet is married. Shakespeare’s use of togetherness and apartness in the first two lines demonstrates that he wants to be with this person, but yet can’t for some undefined reason


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