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Free Essay: Analysis of Sonnet 64

Analysis of Sonnet 64

When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d

The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;

When sometime lofty towers I see down raz’d,

And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;

When I have seen the hungry ocean gain

Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,

And the firm soil win of the watery main,

Increasing store with loss and loss with store:

When I have seen such interchange of state,

Or state itself confounded to decay,

Ruin hath tought me thus to ruminate-

That Time will come and take my love away.

This thought is as a death, which cannot choose

But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

As A. Kent Hieatt did a great job in citing certain similarities in Sonnets to Spencer’s Ruines of Rome: by Bellay, I was surprised enough not to dfind any parallels on sonnet 64 to that of Ruines of Rome. This sonnet delivers, moreso, the theme of Rome succumbing to time rather than textual correlations. I will provide a quatrain by quatrain explicaton that cites certain allusions to Spencer’s text. In the first quatrain, time has destroyed Rome, the “buried age,” having lived too long (“outworn”) as a prosperous civilization. The “lofty towers” being “raz’d” echoes Rome being “Heapt hils on hils, to scale the starrie sky”; the first “hils” in Spencer refers to the Roman civilization and the physical buildings, whereas the latter “hils” refers to the mountains on which Rome was built. Thus, being “raz’d” are all of the monuments of Rome that are subject to mutability. Ambiguity in the second quatrain allows for two readings following the Roman theme. First, the “hungry ocean” is the sea itself which gains on Rome, “the kingdom of the shore,” but if the ocean is rising against Rome, it is incongruous to say that the “firm soil” defeats the “watery main.” A more appropriate alternate reading still refers to Rome as “the kingdom of the shore,” but the “hungry ocean” refers to other civilizations that have tried to conquer Rome yet failed. 5-7: ‘When I have seen usurping nations hostily advance towards Rome, and then steadfast Rome defeat the opposing navy,’. This latter reading more supports line 8, in which Rome ‘increases [its] wealth through the gains of (Rome’s) conquests [thus, “with loss”], and yet at the same time increases [its] loss “with store,” (that is, time’s store [of time])’.

Free Essays On Shakespeare’s Sonnet 65

Analysis of Sonnet 65

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,

But sad mortality o’ersways their power,

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,

Whose action is no stronger than a flower?

Oh how shall summer’s honey breath hold out

Against the wrackful siege of battering days,

When rocks impregnable are not so stout

Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?

Oh fearful meditation! where, alack,

Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?

Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?

Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

Oh none, unless this miracle have might-

That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

This sonnet shares several similarities in imagery as sonnets 63 and 66, and also to the theme of time and Rome as seen in Spencer’s translatory sonnet sequence, _Ruins of Rome by: Bellay_. To best understand this sonnet we must realize to what or whom the pronouns refer to. My explication relies on “their” in line 2 referring to both time and ruin, a theme sustained from sonnet 64. 1-2: ‘Only depressing mortality can overturn the tyranny of time and ruin, considering that brass, stone, earth or sea cannot prevent it’. Thus, death is an escape from time and the ruin which it imposes. The second quatrain is reminiscent of the thematic imagery of Rome’s susception to time in sonnet 9 of _Ruines of Rome_: “Why were not these Romane palaces / Made of some matter no lesse fime and strong? . . . All things which beneath the Moone haue being / Are temporall, and subject to decay.” Echoing the elements in the first line of the sonnet, Shakespeare is iterating the inability to avoid and prevent time. “Battering days” also shares this imagery as “Time’s injurious hand crush’d”; which, to note further, appears as “iniurious time” in Spencer’s work. Knowing this, he appeals to dreadful and injurious knowledge in line 9: ‘where should we hide time’s most precious jewel [our youth] from the vault it is held in’. the reason I believe the jewel to be a symbol of youth stems from sonnet 63, in which time steals “away the treasure of his spring.” Spring here, and in many other sonnets of Shakespeare, refers to youth and sexual prime.

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