Shakespeare Sonnet 118 Analysis: Like as to make our appetites more keen

Shakespeare sonnet 118 Analysis, theme, summary and modern English translation

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 118. 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 118 (Original Text)

Like as to make our appetites more keen
With eager compounds we our palate urge;
As, to prevent our maladies unseen,
We sicken to shun sickness when we purge;
Ev’n so, being full of your ne’er-cloying sweetness,
To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding;
And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness
To be diseased ere that there was true needing.
Thus policy in love, t’ anticipate
The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,
And brought to medicine a healthful state
Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured;
But thence I learn, and find the lesson true,
Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 118 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 118 Modern English Translation

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Shakespeare Sonnet 118 Analysis

The poet says just as we like to increase your appetites “Like as to make our appetites more keen” by eating more pungent and tasty food “With eager compounds we our palate urge;”and to prevent illnesses that are unknown “As, to prevent our maladies unseen,” we make ourselves vomit “We sicken to shun sickness when we purge;”

In same way he was full of the sweetness of the fair youth “Ev’n so, being full of your ne’er-cloying sweetness,” but he instead changed to more bitter things “To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding;” and he became tired of being healthy so he found an urge “And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness” to be sick and influenced by other people to prevent him being sick (influenced ) from the youth “To be diseased ere that there was true needing.”

The poet says he adopted this policy in anticipation “Thus policy in love, t’ anticipate” of faults that didn’t exist but eventually became true where he got used to cheating on the youth “The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,” and brought upon a circumstance where medicine was required in a healthy state “And brought to medicine a healthful state” and attempted to cure what was already goodness with illness instead “Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured;”

But he says he learned a very big lesson “But thence I learn, and find the lesson true,” that the medication he used were actually poisonous because he was too lovesick over the youth “Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.”

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