Summary and Analysis Sonnet 124


Developing further the theme of constancy from the previous sonnet, the poet argues that love — “that heretic” — is not subject to cancellation or change. Unlike other people’s love, which is “subject to Time’s love or to Time’s hate,” his constant love is not susceptible to injurious time: “No, it was builded far from accident; / It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls / Under the blow of thralled discontent.”

This obscure sonnet is fraught with political and religious references. The poet hypothetically calls his love “the child of state” but rejects this assertion in the concluding couplet, in which he castigates those people — “the fools of Time” — who “die for goodness, who have lived for crime” — that is, people who repent at the last moment of their lives. The figure of speech “fools of Time” also alludes to the poet’s rivals, who pursue material reward, patronage, and self-interest in the name of love.


thralled oppressed.