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Sonnet 143: Lo, As A Careful Huswife Runs To Catch

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Lo, as a careful huswife runs to catch
One of her feathered creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe and makes all swift dispatch
In pursuit 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 runn'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,
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Fabrizio Frosini 31 January 2016

Although this sonnet follows the previous one in requesting that the woman be kind to him and take pity on him, it differs considerably from its predecessors. It takes the form of a lengthy simile in which the beloved is compared to a flustered housewife, the poet's rival is a chicken in flight, and the poet himself is a tear-stained, blubbering child. Not exactly the sort of images which exalt the participants in any way. This is far removed from the typical Petrarchan sonnet in which the beloved is a goddess or a saint, the lover is a penitent hermit clothed in sackcloth, and no rivals are seen unless they are permitted to adore and wonder from a safe distance. Nevertheless the Petrarchan tradition had been expanded by Italian and French sonneteers to include far-fetched and curious comparisons, and their influence had spread to the English sonnet writers, who blatantly borrowed from their Continental counterparts, usually without any acknowledgement.

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Fabrizio Frosini 31 January 2016

The use of extended similes in poetry dates back to the epic poems of Homer - The Iliad and The Odyssey, of about 900 - 700 BC. Chapman was working on his translation of Homer at about this time, for some books of The Iliad were published in 1598. The works would have been known before that in Latin translations. The poetry of Virgil, especially his epic poem The Aeneid, was also well known to the Elizabethans. It is difficult to guess how much Shakespeare might have been influenced and inspired by these sources. shakespeares-sonnets.com/

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Brian Jani 26 April 2014

Awesome I like this poem, check mine out

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Egal Bohen 11 February 2008

Deserted and abandoned, e'en Will It seems needs love To load with ink his gifted quill

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