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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 thyself deceivest
By wilful 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.
Take all my loves, my love—yes, take them all: Take my love for you, take away your love for me, and take a lover from me. What do you have now that you didn’t have before? My love, you haven’t acquired true love, because my true love was yours to begin with, before you took this extra from me. If, instead of accepting my love, you make love to the person, love, I can’t blame you, because you’re only taking advantage of my love. But, you should be blamed if you deceive yourself by taking from one person what you won’t take from another—if you willingly make love to one person while refusing to make love to me. I forgive you for stealing from me, gentle thief, although you’re taking the little I have. And yet every lover knows that it hurts more to be injured by a lover than by an enemy. You, who are gracious even when succumbing to lust, you in whom everything bad looks good—even if you kill me with injuries, let’s not become enemies.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets