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Quotations about Liberty and Power

About this Quotation:

In some of his plays and poems William Shakespeare uses metaphors which indicate that he was well aware of some of the political, military, economic, and legal changes which were taking place around him, In this sonnet, the mercantile and legal language is striking.

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11 October, 2004

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Shakespeare farewells his lover in a Sonnet using many mercantile and legal metaphors (1609)

Read the full quote in context here.

This sonnet is striking for its use of mercantile and legal metaphors, perhaps drawing upon Shakespeare’s own experience as an entrepreneur:

Farewell! Thou art too deare for my possessing,
And like enough thou knowst thy estimate,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing:
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

The full passage from which this quotation was taken can be be viewed below (front page quote in bold):

Farewell! Thou art too deare for my possessing,
And like enough thou knowst thy estimate,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing:
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

[More works by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)]