Shakespeare Sonnet 146 Analysis: Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth

Shakespeare Sonnet 146 Analysis: Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth

This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 146. 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 146 (Original Text)

Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth,
[ Thrall to ] these rebel pow’rs that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body’s end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant’s loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more.
So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
And death once dead, there’s no more dying then.

WIKI

Shakespeare Sonnet 146 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 146 modern english translation
-via Sparknotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 146 Analysis

The poet addresses his soul calling it a poor soul which is the center of his world “Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth,” and that his body rebels against it “thrall to these rebel pow’rs that thee array, “He asks why does it starve itself and suffer from lack or nourishment “Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,” even as it dresses externally in expensive clothes “Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?

Why does it waste so much resources when it has such a short time “Why so large cost, having so short a lease,” spending upon a body that will ultimately age “Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?” and be eaten by worms after death “Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,” he asks his soul does it want to spend on something to be eaten by worms? “Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body’s end?

He says that his body’s loss is his soul’s gain “Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant’s loss,” and that his body should suffer for his soul’s enrichment “And let that pine to aggravate thy store;” He tells it to sell all the hours of time wasted ion earth to purchase precious time in heaven “Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;” and that it should nourish itself within the body without bothering about external desires and riches “Within be fed, without be rich no more.”

In this way, his soul will conquer and feed on death “So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,” because once a man is dead, he cannot die anymore than that and the soul lives on “And death once dead, there’s no more dying then.”

Back to top
Succeed with Literature:Essential Tips to get success with English Literature. Submit your Email Now.