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Lo! as a careful housewife runs to catch Just as a thrifty housewife, running to catch
One of her feather'd creatures broke away, One of her chickens scampering away,
Sets down her babe and makes an swift dispatch Sets her baby down and hurries
In pursuit of the thing she would have stay, After the bird she wants back,
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase, While her disregarded baby chases behind,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent Crying after her, while she is to preoccupied
To follow that which flies before her face, To follow that which flies before her,
Not prizing her poor infant's discontent; Disregarding her poor babe's cries:
So runn'st thou after that which flies from thee, In the same way do you chase after that which flees from you,
Whilst I thy babe chase thee afar behind; While I, like the baby, chase after you far behind.
But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me, But if you catch your prize, turn back to me
And play the mother's part, kiss me, be kind: And, like a mother, kiss me and be kind.
So will I pray that thou mayst have thy 'Will,' So I will pray that you may have your 'Will';
If thou turn back, and my loud crying still. If you turn back to me and stop my loud crying for you.

[Lines 13-14]* Can be paraphrased "If you stop running after that other Will and turn back to make love with me I will see that you get all you desire from one who is after all "Will" too." (Dover Wilson, Shakespeare's Sonnets. Cambridge University Press, 1969, [183])


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