This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 111. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection of Shakespeare Sonnets with analysis. It is highly recommended to buy “The Monument” by Hank Whittemore, which is the best book on Shakespeare Sonnets.
Shakespeare Sonnet 111 (Original Text)
O for my sake do you with Fortune chide,The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,That did not better for my life provideThan public means which public manners breeds.Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,And almost thence my nature is subduedTo what it works in, like the dyer’s hand:Pity me then, and wish I were renewed,Whilst like a willing patient I will drinkPotions of eisel ‘gainst my strong infection;No bitterness that I will bitter think,Nor double penance, to correct correction.Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,Ev’n that your pity is enough to cure me.
Shakespeare Sonnet 111 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 111 Analysis
The Poet says his love curses the poets bad luck “O for my sake do you with Fortune chide, “and blames lady luck for the poets mistakes and harmful deeds “The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds” which did not even provide him any means to lead a good life “That did not better for my life provide” which forced him to live a low life in public and become vulgar and ill-mannered because of the influences of his condition “Than public means which public manners breeds.
And because of this condition, he has gained a bad reputation “Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,” and ultimately his true nature is suppressed “And almost thence my nature is subdued” and is forced to exist in a deplorable and bad state as if dyed like a cloth into a different color “To what it works in, like the dyer’s hand” for such a state he asks his love to pity him and wish that he recovers “Pity me then, and wish I were renewed,”
The poet will abide by his love’s wishes and be a good patient recovering from illness “Whilst like a willing patient I will drink” and will drink vinegar like medicine without making a fuss ( in the 15th century, people were given vinegar as a cure for illness) “Potions of eisel ‘gainst my strong infection;” and he will not think it bitter to complain “No bitterness that I will bitter think, “or complain on having to do double penance to cure himself of such behaviorism “Nor double penance, to correct correction.
He tells the fair lord that if he looks upon him with it, he will definitely make amends and change himself “Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,” because the pity is enough to cure him “Ev’n that your pity is enough to cure me.”