Shakespeare Sonnet 48 Analysis, How careful was I, when I took my way

Shakespeare sonnet 48

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 48. 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.

Shakespeare Sonnet 48 (Original Text)

How careful was I, when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
That to my use it might unusèd stay
From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust.
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou best of dearest, and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not locked up in any chest,
Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art,
Within the gentle closure of my breast,
From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
And even thence thou wilt be stol’n, I fear,
For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.

Shakespeare Sonnet 48 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 48

Shakespeare Sonnet 48 Analysis

The poet says he was very careful “How careful was I “when he travelled “I took my way” taking care to secure his possessions “Each trifle” with reliable locks “truest bars to thrust” that were extremely useful for him “to my use” by keeping criminals away “From hands of falsehood”

But he says his friend the youth and fair lord is much more valuable than his jewels “thou, to whom my jewels trifles” and who is his source of comfort “worthy comfort” but also his grief “my greatest grief” and worry and the youth is extremely dear to him among others “Thou best of dearest” because the youth is extremely vulnerable as a prey for every thief “prey of every vulgar thief”.

He says he has not locked the youth in any chest “not lock’d up in any chest,” except the place where the youth isn’t there “where thou art not” although he feels he is “though I feel thou art” and that is his own heart “gentle closure of my breast” where the youth enters and leaves as he pleases “thou mayst come and part;”

This is why the poet fears he will be stolen away from him “even thence thou wilt be stol’n I fear” because even honest people will be tempted by the youth’s beauty to turn into thieves and steal him away “truth proves thievish for a prize so dear”.

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