The poem begins with the narrator acknowledging that numerous ('divers') men overreact and become too sentimental and emotional when their lover’s infidelity is revealed. He says that their unending ('never for to lynn'), dramatic reactions are an attempt to make the wounded lovers feel better.
The narrator then goes on to detail other male reactions, where the spurned lover becomes more direct and passionate in his condemnation of his unfaithful lover, yet is quick to begin the pursuit of other women.
In the concluding sestet the narrator explores his own response to betrayal. He decides not to mourn to excess, or to be cruel, but attributes the change in a relationship to the natural inconstancy of women. He suggests that the transience of relationships with women has to be expected as this is their nature.
The sonnet gives a diverse view of the reactions of men to the infidelity of women, and seems to be implying that what is at fault is not the natural temperament of women, but men’s unrealistic expectations and management of them. The painful ‘weeping’ of those in ‘woe’ appears to be mocked as an unseemly display of weakness. The emotional reaction is a childlike over-dramatization in the eyes of the narrator.
In the second part of the octet the narrator condemns those who react with violence and aggression in their disapproval of the faults of the weaker sex. The poet vilifies this hypocritical behavior, as these men who rail against infidelity end up seeking other women.
In the sestet the narrator presents his measured yet cynical observations. He will not be subject to over-exaggerated performance of grief, nor to brutal condemnations of his lost love. He puts the behavior of women down to their natural inclinations, and that men should be content to accept this fact of life that has been catalogued through the ages. Popular proverbs across Europe categorized the fickleness of women along with the unpredictability of nature and the elements. The narrator’s conclusion is delivered as calm and reasoned, but has an underlying tone of scorn and derision against the fairer sex.