This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 142. 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 142 (Original Text)
Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving.O but with mine compare thou thine own state,And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine,That have profaned their scarlet ornamentsAnd sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine,Robbed others’ beds’ revénues of their rents.Be it lawful I love thee as thou lov’st thoseWhom thine eyes woo as mine impórtune thee.Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows,Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,By self-example mayst thou be denied.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 142 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 142 Analysis
The poet says that his sin is loving his mistress but her virtues are nothing but hate for him “Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,” The hate arises from her own sins of loving others “Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving.” He asks her to compare her condition to his “O but with mine compare thou thine own state,” and that will prove why he should not be reprimanded “And thou shalt find it merits not reproving”
But if he has to be reprimanded, it should not be by her lips “Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine,” which she has degraded “That have profaned their scarlet ornaments” her lips have kissed too many others and spoken false promises of love just as he has done “And sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine,” where they have both betrayed other people and robbed them of sexual favors “Robbed others’ beds’ revénues of their rents.”
He states that if he is allowed to love his mistress in the same way that she loves others “Be it lawful I love thee as thou lov’st those “other men whom she is always trying to seduce with her eyes even as he pleads with her “Whom thine eyes woo as mine impórtune thee.” To have pity on him because if she does “Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows,” then that same pity make her deserving of pity herself “Thy pity may deserve to pitied be.”
And if she wishes to sleep with others secretly while denying him “If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,” That example will be used against her and she too will be turned down just as she turns down the poet. “By self-example mayst thou be denied.