Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
- When we finally reach the heroic couplet that caps off this sonnet, the speaker repeats that it's the memory of the addressee's "sweet love" that makes him feel so rich that he wouldn't change places with the most powerful or wealthy guys (kings) in the world.
- So, what kind of "sweet love" are we talking about, exactly? Platonic love? Sexual love? Intellectual love? Familial love?
- Given the fact that the speaker boo-hooed earlier about feeling "all alone"(2) and not having any "friends" (6), it seems like he could be talking about friendship here, as if he's just remembered that, hey, he does actually have a pal after all: "thee."
- On the other hand, the speaker talks about the addressee's "sweet love" as if it's some kind of religious experience in lines 10-12.
- By the way, Shakespeare is playing around with a common conceit found in courtly love poetry, where a lover is often said to "worship" his beloved. And that's just a tad bit erotic, don't you think?
- Still, we really don't have much information at all about "thee" in this sonnet, so you decide.
- Okay. Remember how we said that Shakespeare makes a big deal out of the difference between spiritual wealth and financial wealth throughout this sonnet (especially in line 5)?
- He emphasizes the point again in this final couplet when the speaker says how someone's "sweet love" makes him feel "wealthy" (in the spiritual or personal sense).
- It's like the old saying goes: You're never really poor as long as you've got love.
- Word up, Shakespeare.