William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet Cxliii

Poem by William Shakespeare

Lo! as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feather'd creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe and makes an 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,
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.

Comments about Sonnet Cxliii by William Shakespeare

  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (2/27/2016 5:57:00 AM)


    this sonnet with its chicken chasing imagery might have its counterpart in the works of Ronsard, Du Bellay, Desportes, or their numerous imitators, and an assiduous search might reveal it. However Shakespeare was less slavishly dependent in his sonnets on what had gone before, and in so far as his work was derivative, he tended to draw and absorb materials from a wide variety of sources. Commentators have suggested that he would have recalled an episode from The Nun's Priest's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:(Report)Reply

    20 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (2/27/2016 5:56:00 AM)

    This sely widwe, and eek her doghtres two, widow, daughters
    Herden these hennes cry and maken woo, heard, woe
    And out at doores sterten they anoon, started, immediately
    And syen the fox toward the grove goon, saw
    And bar upon his bak the cok away; bore, back, cock
    And cryden 'Out! harrow! and weylaway! cried, hunting cries
    Ha, ha, the fox! ' and after him they ran,
    And eek with staves many another man etc. also, cudgels CT.4565-4572(OUP 1962) .(Report)Reply

    19 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (2/27/2016 5:56:00 AM)

    Also the description of a fowl from the Faerie Queene by Spenser.
    As fearefull fowle, that long in secret cave,
    For dread of soaring hawk herself hath hid,
    Nor caring how her silly life to save,
    She her gay painted plumes disorderid etc. FQ.II.3.36.(Report)Reply

    22 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (1/7/2016 12:09:00 PM)

    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.(Report)Reply

    27 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Brian JaniBrian Jani (4/26/2014 9:37:00 AM)

    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Read all 5 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: kiss, child, mother, hope, sonnet, running, children

Poem Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2001

Poem Edited: Friday, May 18, 2001

[Report Error]