William Shakespeare farewells his lover in a Sonnet using many mercantile and legal metaphors (1609)

William Shakespeare

Found in Twenty-Five Sonnets of Shakespeare

This sonnet is striking for its use of mercantile and legal metaphors, perhaps drawing upon William Shakespeare’s own experience as an entrepreneur:

Farewell! Thou art too deare for my possessing, And like enough thou knowst thy estimate, The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing: My bonds in thee are all determinate. For how do I hold thee but by thy granting? And for that riches where is my deserving? The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting, And so my patent back again is swerving. Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not knowing, Or me to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking; So thy great gift, upon misprision growing, Comes home again, on better judgement making. Thus have I had thee as a dream doth flatter, In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

In some of his plays and poems William Shakespeare uses metaphors which indicate that he was well aware of some of the political, military, economic, and legal changes which were taking place around him, In this sonnet, the mercantile and legal language is striking.