Shakespeare Sonnet 141 Analysis: In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 141. 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 141 (Original Text)

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But ’tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue’s tune delighted,
Nor tender feeling to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone.
But my five wits, nor my five senses, can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart’s slave and vassal wretch to be.
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin awards me pain.
WIKI

Shakespeare Sonnet 141 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare Sonnet 141 modern English Translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 141 Analysis

The poet tells his mistress he doesn’t love her with his eyes “n faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,” because he sees hundreds of flaws each time he looks at her “For they in thee a thousand errors note;” and it is his heart that loves her despite the character flaws that his eyes despise “But ’tis my heart that loves what they despise,” and in spite of how he perceives her, he still dotes on her “Who in despite of view is pleased to dote.”

He says even his ears do not like what she speaks “Nor are mine ears with thy tongue’s tune delighted” neither does he want to corrupt his hands that are sensitive to feelings by touching her “Nor tender feeling to base touches prone, and neither does his sense of taste or smell want to indulge “Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited” in any sensual and physical feast that involves her “To any sensual feast with thee alone.”

But all of his intelligence and senses cannot “But my five wits, nor my five senses, can” prevent him from loving and serving her “Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,” he has become an empty shell of a man “Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,” and a servant to his mistress’ proud heart “Thy proud heart’s slave and vassal wretch to be.

The plague of this woman has only brought him one gain “Only my plague thus far I count my gain,” that in sinning with her brings him pain ( Shakespeare invokes the Christian act of penance or pain for sinning)

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