Sonnet 138

When 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 subtilties.

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 t’have years told.

Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,

And in our faults by lies we flattered be.


“The speaker of Sonnet 138 argues that happiness in love is based upon lies.”

Agree or disagree with the above proposition, and justify your response with examples from the poem. you may wish to discuss elements such as word choice, language use, the sonnet’s structure, and/or contextual information which has been raised in class (though this is not a checklist of necessary elements). If you wish to remark upon similarities or differences between this sonnet and those we have already discussed, you may do so, but please remember that this is not an extended exercise in comparing and contrasting two or more poems.

Please remember that every essay assignment for this course needs a complete bibliography of all sources that you’ve used for the paper.

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