The title is added by the editor, but it’s a good title, because the main theme is the relation between love and time. It was one of the most influencial themes in the literature and the thoughts of that day. What he says is briefly as follows: the marriage of true minds is a lasting one. True love always remains constant and will survive independently of any changes of heart in the loved one. Time has no detrimental effect on love. True love will survive the passing of time.
Sonnet 116 (*) is a typically Shakespearean sonnet. The sonnet has three quatrains, followed by a final rhyming couplet. It follows the typical rhyme scheme of the form abab cdcd efef gg and is composed in iambic pentameter, a type of poetic metre based on five pairs of metrically weak/strong syllabic positions. (Wikipedia)
The two opening verses echo the formula of the English marriage ceremony in which it is said that there are three kinds of impediments: affinity (e.g. the relation between a man and his sister-in-law), consanguinity (blood-ties) and spiritual relation (e.g. a godfather and a godchild).
First stanza: what true love is not (changeable).
Second stanza: what true love is (constant).
Wij hebben het sonnet besproken in de werkgroep geleid door Johan De Vos in de eerste kandidatuur Germaanse, maar de precieze datum weet ik niet meer.
Ronny De Schepper
(*) In the 1609 Quarto it is mis-numbered as 119.