The Speaker-Message-Receiver in Sonnet LXXX is much more specific than many of the other sonnets. It is about "Guy A" loving a woman he has no chance with. "Guy B" is a much more worthy contestant for the woman's love. Guy A is very jealous, but he is so in love that he would rather die than give up on winning her love.
In the first quatrain, the poet, Guy A, states his problem as "I love you, I write about you, but a man I cannot compete with also loves you." The second quatrain already hints at a solution. The poet suggests that his saucy bark, or stubborn ship, will continue to fight for the love of the woman he loves. The third quatrain continues the solution by saying, "Please give me some hope so that I can continue the fight, even though I know Guy B has all the hope in the world." Finally, the couplet does not give a solution. The poet merely says that Guy B will probably win her love and he, Guy A, will die because of his unrequited love.
The poet uses an extended metaphor of ships and the ocean. Through this metaphor, the poet shows that he is the underdog of the two ships trying to win the worth of his love which is represented as the ocean. The "worth" of the woman may also represent her virginity. This makes sense when understanding that both men/ships wish to "ride" her "soundless deep.".
1. But since your worth (wide as the ocean is).
2. The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,.
3. My saucy bark, inferior far to his,.
4. On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
1. I value your virginity like the ocean.
2. Any man can be intimate despite size.
3. My equipment is probably smaller than his.
4. But I would love the opportunity to have your virginity.