Sonnet 116 Review

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marriage...impediments (1-2): T.G. Tucker explains that the first two lines are a "manifest allusion to the words of the Marriage Service: 'If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony'; cf. Much Ado 4.1.12. 'If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined.' Where minds are true - in possessing love in the real sense dwelt upon in the following lines - there can be no 'impediments' through change of circumstances, outward appearance, or temporary lapses in conduct." (Tucker, 192). bends with the remover to remove (4): i.e., deviates ("bends") to alter its course ("remove") with the departure of the lover.

ever-fixed mark (5): i.e., a lighthouse (mark = sea-mark).
Compare Othello (5.2.305-7):

Be not afraid, though you do see me weapon'd;
Here is my journey's end, here is my butt,
And very sea-mark of my utmost sail.

the star to every wandering bark (7): i.e., the star that guides every lost ship (guiding star = Polaris). Shakespeare again mentions Polaris (also known as "the north star") in Much Ado About Nothing (2.1.222) and Julius Caesar (3.1.65).

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken (8): The subject here is still the north star. The star's true value can never truly be calculated, although its height can be measured.

Love's not Time's fool (9): i.e., love is not at the mercy of Time.

Within his bending sickle's compass come (10): i.e., physical beauty falls within the range ("compass") of Time's curved blade. Note the comparison of Time to the Grim Reaper, the scythe-wielding personification of death.

edge of doom (12): i.e., Doomsday.
Compare 1 Henry IV (4.1.141):

Come, let us take a muster speedily:
Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.
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