When my love swears that she is made of truth

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Oh, you tricky Day 13 of National Poetry Month! You almost got away from me! But when in a pinch, turn to the Bard.

I memorized this poem for a Shakespeare contest in high school. I had to do a dramatic reading of a Shakespeare sonnet and a speech from a play. I picked one of Phoebe’s speeches from As You Like It. So, I have lines from both of those echoing around in my head from time to time.

Sonnet #138 is for the less romantic among us. No, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” here. And, no, I did not win the competition, though I remember that my dad was kind enough to drive me to some obscure location on the east side of Cincinnati on a Saturday to give it a try.

William Shakespeare – Sonnet #138

when my love swears that she is made of truthWhen my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:

Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.

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