Shakespeare Sonnet 143 Analysis: Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch

Shakespeare Sonnet 143 Analysis, theme, summary and modern English translation.

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 143. 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 143 (Original Text)

Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feathered creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe and makes all swift dispatch
In púrsuit of the thing she would have stay;
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant’s discontent:
So run’st thou after that which flies from thee,
Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee afar behind.
But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,
And play the mother’s part, kiss me, be kind.
So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will,
If thou turn back and my loud crying still.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 143 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare Sonnet 143 modern English translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 143 Analysis

The poet says just like a careful housewife who runs “Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch” after her chickens when they try to run away “One of her feathered creatures broke away,” by putting down her child so that she can move faster “Sets down her babe and makes all swift dispatch” in pursuit of the item that she desperately needs to keep “In púrsuit of the thing she would have stay;

And while her child runs after her also “Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,” and keeps crying to catch hold of her even as she is too busy” Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent” following the thing (chicken) which flies around before her “To follow that which flies before her face,” so much so she doesn’t even notice the plight of her child “Not prizing her poor infant’s discontent:

In the same way he says his mistress runs after other men “So run’st thou after that which flies from thee,” and compares himself to the baby who runs behind her “Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee afar behind.” He says if she catches what she wants, then she should turn to him also “But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,” and act like a mother and kiss him and show him kindness “And play the mother’s part, kiss me, be kind.”

He says he will make sure she gets what she wants “So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will,” if only she turns around and pays attention to his crying “If thou turn back and my loud crying still.

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