Shakespeare Sonnet 151 Analysis: Love is too young to know what conscience is

Shakespeare Sonnet 151 Analysis: Love is too young to know what conscience is

This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 151. 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 151 (Original Text)

Love is too young to know what conscience is,
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove;
For, thou betraying me, I do betray
My nobler part to my gross body’s treason.
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love—flesh stays no father reason,
But, rising at thy name, doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize—proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.
No want of conscience hold it that I call
Her “love” for whose dear love I rise and fall.

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Shakespeare Sonnet 151 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare Sonnet 151 Modern English translation
-via Sparknotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 151 Analysis

The poet says that cupid or love is too immature to have a conscience and know right from wrong “Love is too young to know what conscience is,” but everybody knows that conscience is born only out of love. “Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?” he addresses his mistress as a gentle cheater and not to criticize his mistake “Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,” because she may end up being guilty for the same faults “Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove;

He says when she betrays him, he betrays “For, thou betraying me, I do betray” his own noble soul to the treason of his body “My nobler part to my gross body’s treason “and that his soul tell his body “My soul doth tell my body that he may” that it can be victorious in love and his flesh won’t wait to hear anymore “Triumph in love—flesh stays no father reason,” But when it hears his mistress name, it rises up and points out to her “But, rising at thy name, doth point out thee”

As a prize to be won and his body is proud of possessing her “As his triumphant prize—proud of this pride,” and is content to be like a poor worker “He is contented thy poor drudge to be,” and help in her businesses only to fall by her side later “To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.”

He says not to assume he lacks any conscience just because he calls “No want of conscience hold it that I call” The woman he calls “love” and for whom he rises but also falls “Her “love” for whose dear love I rise and fall.


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