Free Essays On Shakespeare’s Sonnet 154
Analysis of Sonnet 154
The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow’d chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm’d,
And so the General of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm’d.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseas’d. But, I, my mistress’ thrall,
Came there for cure; and this by that I prove:
Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.
This sonnet appears to be another version of 153 rather than one of a series. These two sonnets, two renderings of the same ides, could either prove or disprove Shakespeare’s authorship. Only twice did Shakespeare rewrite any of his sonnets, both 138 and 144 appear slightly modified in _The Passionate Pilgrim_. These are evidence of Shakespeare’s rewritings, but the only problem is if one is out to prove the authorship on these grounds, over-revision remains a factor; that is, Shakespeare rewrote the two sonnets changing only a few words and not the entire sonnet. These seem to be the problems with citing Shakespeaare as their author, but equally disproving him as the author. If I were to argue for Shakespeare’s authorship, I would correlate “the help of bath” with being an allusion to “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in Chaucer’s _Canterbury Tales_. Shakespeare used Chaucer as a source in _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_ (from “The Kinght’s Tale” and “The Miller’s Tale”), _Troilus and Cressida_ (from _Troilus and Criseyde) and _The Two Noble Kinsmen_ (from “The Knight’s Tale”). Seeing that Shakespeare used Chaucer as a reference in the past for help, I suppose “the help of bath” could be a tribut to Chaucer and thus a possible source or allusion. But this does remain on unsubstantial grounds due to the possibility of it simply meaning a water-filled basin.