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William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Easier questions to cut your teeth on!

Keith Tankard
Updated: 20 January 2014
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The poet contemplates the concept of true love where there are no impediments and no changes.

Although love can be seen, its real value can never be measured. Neither is it the plaything of Time, something that shrinks with the onset of old age.

Indeed, the brightness of youth may disappear as old age advances, but love will continue even till death.


William Shakespeare -- commonly known simply as "The Bard" -- was born in April 1564. Although he lived a mere 52 years, he has won himself the reputation of being the greatest of all English poets and playwrights.

He grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon where, at the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway with whom he had three children. Modern scholars love to question whether or not he was actually gay -- such is the energy-sapping research of these scholars.

The Bard established a most successful career for himself in acting and in writing for the stage. Ultimately he became the part-owner of The Lord Chamberlain's Men, a theatrical company which eventually came to be known as The King's Men.

In his early years in theatrics, Shakespeare focussed his attention on writing comedies and histories. Only later did he produce a series of tragedies such as Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear, the works for which he is preeminently known.

Although he wrote two lengthy narrative poems as well as several other shorter poems, his reputation as a poet was established through his amazing collection of sonnets -- 154 in all.

Indeed, his particular style of sonnet, commonly known as the Elizabethan form, is also referred to simply as "the Shakespearian sonnet".

In about 1613, he returned to Stratford-upon-Avon and died there in April 1616.

Scholars would later come to question not only his sexual stance but also whether or not it was he who actually wrote all the works attributed to him.

Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
  • What does the poet mean when he speaks about a "marriage of true minds"? (4)

[Need help?]

  • Explain the idea that "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds". (4)

[Need help?]

  • How can love "bend with the remover to remove"? (4)

[Need help?]

It is an ever-fixéd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
  • Explain these lines in your own words. (4)

[Need help?]

  • Why is there a diacritical mark over the "e" in "fixéd"? (4)

[Need help?]

It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
  • What is a "wand'ring bark"? (2)

[Need help?]

  • What is the relationship of the star to the "wand'ring bark"? (2)

[Need help?]

  • What is purpose of comparing love to measuring the star's "height"? (2)

[Need help?]

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come.
  • What is meant by "Time's fool"? (4)

[Need help?]

  • What do "rosy lips and cheeks" signify? (2)

[Need help?]

  • What is meant by "within his bending sickle's compass come"? (4)

[Need help?]

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