Shakespeare Sonnet 125 Analysis: Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy

Shakespeare Sonnet 125 Analysis, theme and modern english translation

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 125. 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 125 (Original Text)

Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy,
With my extern the outward honoring,
Or laid great bases for eternity,
Which prove more short than waste or ruining?
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favor
Lose all and more by paying too much rent,
For compound sweet forgoing simple savor,
Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent?
No, let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mixed with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee.
Hence, thou suborned informer! A true soul
When most impeached stands least in thy control.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 125 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 125 modern English translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 125 Analysis

The poet asks how it would matter to him if he were to walk under a canopy like a monarch waking in procession “Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy,” honoring with his appearance the display of his power “With my extern the outward honoring,” or would it be more important for him to lay the foundation of monuments that last forever “Or laid great bases for eternity,” that actually last as long as it starts to decay “Which prove more short than waste or ruining?”

He implies that he has seen those who think about appearances only trying to gain favor from the powerful “Have I not seen dwellers on form and favor” but lose instead everything because of the expense on their obsessions “Lose all and more by paying too much rent,” and who sacrifice the simple pleasures of life for more lavish desires “For compound sweet forgoing simple savor,” he calls them pitiful people who spend everything on material desires “Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent?”

He says he will be faithful to the far lord in his heart “No, let me be obsequious in thy heart,” and asks the fair lord to accept this offering of friendship and love which is freely given “And take thou my oblation, poor but free,” and is not diluted with secondary additions “which is not mixed with seconds, knows no art,” but is based on mutual surrender where the poet says he belongs only this love. “But mutual render, only me for thee.”

He then admonishes a man who is accusing him saying to get out of his sight because he is sincere “Hence, thou suborned informer! A true soul” and because he is sincere, he cannot be judged by the likes of spies “When most impeached stands least in thy control.

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