Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will

In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 135, the bard is playful and inventive as he embarks on an extended play on words using his first name, Will. He must have had fun writing this piece, and I certainly had fun reading it.

 
Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in over-plus;
More than enough am I that vexed thee still,
To thy sweet will making addition thus.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?
Shall will in others seem right gracious,
And in my will no fair acceptance shine?
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large will more.
Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.

 

From <http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/135&gt;

 

This is a love sonnet and seems designed to remind the poet’s lover of his name, by using it as much as he can in the poem. So in the fourteen lines of the sonnet we can find the word “will” no fewer than twelve times, but with a number of different meanings. We have will as the poet’s name; will as intention or purpose; will as desire; and will as material possession, as expressed in a legal will.

The sonnet is a tour de force of verbal inventiveness , a bit like a jazz musician improvising around a couple of notes in a melody, yet here everything works within the formal confines of the sonnet, and within the logic of the poet’s theme – an appeal by the poet to his lover.

So this is an example of Shakespeare at his most playful, and there are definitely parallels in theme and tone with the poem by Marot posted here yesterday.

 

The Poetry Dude

 

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