Shakespeare's Sonnets Translation Sonnet 143
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.
Behold, as an anxious housewife runs to catch
One of her birds, that has broken out of its cage,
She puts down her baby and makes haste
In pursuit of the thing that she would like to keep;
While her neglected child runs after her,
Crying to catch her, whose busy care is focused
To follow that thing fleeing just ahead of her,
Neglecting her poor child's unhappiness:
Similarly, you run after that which runs away from you,
While I, your baby, chase you from far behind.
But if you catch the thing you want, turn back to me,
And play the role of the mother, kiss me, be kind.
So I will pray that you have your Will,
If you turn back and stop my loud crying.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
- Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
- Downloads of 942 LitCharts Lit Guides
- Explanations and citation info for 21,593 quotes covering 942 books
- Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
- PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms