Sonnet Iii: Look In Thy Glass, And Tell The Face Thou Viewest

Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose unear'd womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou through windows of thine age shall see
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember'd not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.

by William Shakespeare

Comments (3)

The youth is urged once more to look to posterity and to bless the world by begetting children. No woman, however beautiful, would disdain to have him as a mate. Just as he reflects his mother's beauty, showing how lovely she was in her prime, so a child of his would be a record of his own beauty. In his old age he could look on this child and see an image of what he once was. But if he chooses to remain single, everything will perish with him.
PARAPHRASE Look in your mirror and tell the face you see That now is the time it should form another [create a child]; If you do not renew yourself, You rob the world, and prevent some woman from becoming a mother. For where is the woman whose unploughed womb Would frown upon the way you plough your field? Or who is he so foolish to love himself so much but let Himself perish? [To make a tomb of self-love and not have a child to carry on his beauty? ] You are the mirror of your mother, and she is the mirror of you And in you she recalls the lovely April of her youth: So too will you see when you are old, Free of wrinkles [now], these are your best years. But if you live your life avoiding being remembered. You will die childless, and your image will die with you. shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/3
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