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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

[ Edited ]

 Sonnet #5

 

Those hours that with gentle work did frame

The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell

Will play the tyrants to the very same

And that unfair which fairly doth excel;

For never-resting time leads summer on

To hideous winter and confounds him there,

Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,

Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness everywhere.

Then, were not summer's distillations left

A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,

Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,

Nor it nor no remembrance what it was.

   But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,

   Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

 

 

**

 

 

Nice reading, Benedict.

 

I'm seeing that the same force, Nature, that brings the summer will also bring winter.  Winter sounds quite cruel in this poem--"Sap checked with frost;" "Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness everywhere." 

 

"flowers distilled" might be perfume--if there is perfume extracted from the flowers of summer, "their substance still lives sweet" in winter.

 

Our featured edition has this note beside "A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass":

 

"See Philip Sidney's Arcadia:  'Have you ever seen a pure rosewater kept in a crystal glass, how fine it looks, how sweet it smells, while that beautiful glass imprisons it?' (1590 ed., p. 380)." 

 

Notes in this edition also say that Sonnet #5 is the first of two linked sonnets, so we can keep that in mind later in the week when we consider Sonnet #6.

Message Edited by ConnieK on 04-14-2009 12:46 PM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Benedict3
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

I’m not sure if I ever want to read an “experts” opinion on what Shakespeare wrote, but I do like conversations such as this about Shakespeare.  I read and I feel, you read and you feel, the sharing through text is fine with me.  The reading of dogmatic text from an expert is not.

I am not a scholar, yet I like reading Shakespeare and sharing what I read.

“flowers distilled” makes parts of me come alive as I read your insight.  Thanks.  Those two words representing so much; I continue to be in awe by one person who wrote so many years ago, it amazes me, reminds me how small I am, and how grateful I am that I can at least appreciate his writing unlike so many in society.

“flowers distilled”

 

At the moment that a flower is in full bloom is an experience of beauty when seen and smelled.  But the recollection of that moment allows us to understand it.  Much like the processing of the chemicals extracted from the flower take time to condition in order to make perfume.  When we are older and we understand the significance of our days within our child bearing years, that processed knowledge made of something that has passed is like the perfume made from the life of a flower that has passed.  And yet the perfume is enjoyed, and the understanding of the full bloom of human existence during child bearing years is enjoyed, even after the flower is long gone, and our youth is long gone.

It may be the child bearing years that we always look to with awe, but it is our path that we are on in the here and now that can mesh our internal Nature to the Nature around us that exposes the bounteous beauty that is the here and now.

Enjoy what you have, its all there is, witness through your eyes, nobody can tell you.  Like King Lear feeling the rain on his body, nobody can tell you how you will feel when your internal Nature is allowed to mingle with the Nature that surrounds you.  Even though nobody else can tell you…  that experience is the experience of your life.

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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

[ Edited ]

Sonnet #6:

 

 

Then let not winter's ragged hand deface

In thee thy summer ere thou be distilled.

Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place

With beauty's treasure ere it be self-killed.

That use is not forbidden usury

Which happies those that pay the willing loan;

That's for thyself to breed another thee,

Or ten times happier, be it ten for one.

Ten times thyself were happier than thou art

If then of thine ten times refigured thee;

Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,

Leaving thee living in posterity?

   Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair

   To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.

Message Edited by ConnieK on 04-17-2009 02:51 PM
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets


ConnieK wrote:

Sonnet #6:

 

 

Then let not winter's ragged hand deface

In thee thy summer ere thou be distilled.

Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place

With beauty's treasure ere it be self-killed.

That use is not forbidden usury

Which happies those that pay the willing loan;

That's for thyself to breed another thee,

Or ten times happier, be it ten for one.

Ten times thyself were happier than thou art

If then of thine ten times refigured thee;

Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,

Leaving thee living in posterity?

   Be not self-willed, for thou art mich too fair

   To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.


 

 

 

The beauty and Nature that is within, like the perfume that is distilled, should not be forgotten.  “Make sweet some vial”.

Just like our own child bearing beauty fades, so does that of the one that we are coupled with.  We only borrow that time from each other and from Nature.  But, the Usurer(borrower and lender) who takes advantage of using this borrowed treasure is the happiest of all.  Unlike the borrower of money.

During this time of borrowing beauty from Nature, we give birth to kids.  And these kids being replicas of ourselves, possibly even ten of them, each being just as happy as you were during those years.  The reflection that you see in ten kids of yourself, allows you to see ten times the happiness that you yourself could experience if you only looked at a reflection within a mirror of yourself.

Thinking of your kids as being a reflection of yourself, what happens when you die, your reflection lives on.  What happens if you spend your time paying attention to your reflection in the mirror putting on makeup?  Well, when you are gone, it is gone and the worms are thine heir.

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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets


Sonnet #6:

 

 

Then let not winter's ragged hand deface

In thee thy summer ere thou be distilled.

Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place

With beauty's treasure ere it be self-killed.

That use is not forbidden usury

Which happies those that pay the willing loan;

That's for thyself to breed another thee,

Or ten times happier, be it ten for one.

Ten times thyself were happier than thou art

If then of thine ten times refigured thee;

Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,

Leaving thee living in posterity?

   Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair

   To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.


[sorry for the typo in "much" earlier--fixed it now].

 

I'm wondering if there is another way to read the poem that would have to do with art?

 

Art could be an artist's "bequest," something that reflected him or her that was passed on after s/he died.

 

"Make sweet some vial" might equate to 'create some art.'

 

"Ten times thyself were happier than thou art" -- maybe creating several things--10 sonnets, 10 paintings, 10 books?

 

I'm not sure the reading holds up with the money terms, though:  "usury," "loan," etc.

 

Hmm.

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet 7:

 

 

Lo, in the orient when the gracious light

Lifts up his burning head, each under eye

Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,

Serving with looks his sacred majesty;

And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,

Resembling strong youth in his middle age,

Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,

Attending on his golden pilgrimage.

But when from highmost pitch with weary car

Like feeble age he reeleth from the day,

The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are

From his low tract and look another way.

   So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,

   Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.

 

 

 

 

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets


Sonnet 7:

 

 

Lo, in the orient when the gracious light

Lifts up his burning head, each under eye

Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,

Serving with looks his sacred majesty;

And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,

Resembling strong youth in his middle age,

Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,

Attending on his golden pilgrimage.

But when from highmost pitch with weary car

Like feeble age he reeleth from the day,

The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are

From his low tract and look another way.

   So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,

   Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.

 

 

 

 


It seems the speaker has not given up trying to convince the addressee to procreate!  What reasons or examples does he give this time?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet #7:

 

After the sun rises and we see by the light of the day, each of us does homage to the sun simply by utilizing the light that it gives us by looking at the things in Nature around us.  As though Nature is part of the sun is part of Nature.  Buy simply participating in Nature and seeing what is around us in the light of day we give homage to entity of Nature/Sun.

18 year olds are often considered to be fearless.  And disregard the threat of death and ‘unlooked on diest’.  But then after we have children, we often desire to make sure that those children do well, and we work for their safety with a sense of responsibility.  Part of this responsibility is to be there for them, requiring a fear of death.

But if we reach middle age and do not have children, what would cause us to fear death any more that when we were 18?  Without children after we are “over the hill” or if we were the son, after we passed high noon, we may remain ‘unlooked on diest’ to the end.  But with children to take responsibility for, we must fear death because death would prevent us from helping our offspring, which can include a son.

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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

In reading these sonnets, I am moved to mention a perspective.  Reading Shakespeare requires a sort of a paradoxical shift in perspective.  And here is a shift that I believe I see between Shakespeare’s writing and all others.  When writing poetry we are all limited by the words that we have to choose from within the chosen language.  But we, as poets also are limited by our societies current point of view; seeing the world in a way that we “Should see the world”.  The latter limitation seems to be the predominant variable in most everything that I read excepting Shakespeare.  The perspective of a person limited by the “should’s” in society is stale in comparison to a description of Nature.  This stale perspective, is prevalent in most all literature, albeit enjoyable in the fact that we appreciate the literature as coming from this person from this century and this location.

We all have our perspectives of history, locations, icons, and we place what we read in context to what we know.  This is our paradox that we are trapped within.  Shakespeare on the other hand was limited by his available choice of words, not a pigeon holed view of our human reality.  The discrepancy between being limited by contemporary social perspectives and being limited by the choice of words within a language, to me is a paradoxical shift in the reading of Shakespeare and all other writing.

Needless to say, I am enjoying reading his Sonnets.

 

Thanks,

Chuck

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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets


Benedict3 wrote:

 

Needless to say, I am enjoying reading his Sonnets.

 


And we're enjoying reading your 'perspectives,' Chuck!  :smileyhappy:

~ConnieAnnKirk




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friery
Posts: 209
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

The images of this sonnet are terrific--summer/winter, vigor/death, time and beauty.  

 

The line "A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass" is spectacular.  Its meanings exist on several level--it's the remaining essence of the flower, or perfume.  It is also, according to Vendler, an image of the sonnet and the sonnet form itself.

 

Vendler makes another point that I hadn't noticed--this is the first sonnet that's totally impersonal.  It doesn't contain the words I, thou, we, etc.

 

Lastly, notice the use of the words "unfair" and "fairly" in line four.  These words have occurred throughout the first few sonnets.  They refer to the beauty of the youth, and also to the debt owed to society to procreate.

 

 


ConnieK wrote:

Sonnet #5:

 

 

Those hours that with gentle work did frame

The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell

Will play the tyrants to the very same

And that unfair which fairly doth excel;

For never-resting time leads summer on

To hideous winter and confounds him there,

Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,

Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness everywhere.

Then, were not summer's distillations left

A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,

Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,

Nor it nor no remembrance what it was.

   But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,

   Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.


 

Correspondent
friery
Posts: 209
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

The opening word, "then," tells us that this is the next part of Sonnet No. 5.  (The images in the first three lines of summer/winter, distillation and vial also support this.)

 

The metaphor of the usurious lender and the happy borrower is interesting, but the use of the wealth image and the repeating of the word "ten" make that image come to life (no pun intended.)  "Ten" is repeated five times.  I got to 10,000 if my math is right.  And Vendler points out that the "tens" all conclude in the tenth line.

 

Note that the word "fair" turns up once more in the penultimate line.

 

The most interesting and disturbing thing to me is the use of the phrase "self-killed" in line four.  This suggests suicide, which is a pretty heavy accusation to someone for not having progeny.  The "tens" in the middle section move us off this, but Shakespeare subtly brings us back in the eleventh line with the phrase "self-willed."  "Self-killed" and "self-willed" are echoes of each other.  And the last line, with the image of death and decay, made me tremble.

 

 

 

 


ConnieK wrote:

Sonnet #6:

 

 

Then let not winter's ragged hand deface

In thee thy summer ere thou be distilled.

Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place

With beauty's treasure ere it be self-killed.

That use is not forbidden usury

Which happies those that pay the willing loan;

That's for thyself to breed another thee,

Or ten times happier, be it ten for one.

Ten times thyself were happier than thou art

If then of thine ten times refigured thee;

Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,

Leaving thee living in posterity?

   Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair

   To be death's conquest and make worms thine heir.

Message Edited by ConnieK on 04-17-2009 02:51 PM

 

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Posts: 49
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets


friery wrote

The most interesting and disturbing thing to me is the use of the phrase "self-killed" in line four.  This suggests suicide, which is a pretty heavy accusation to someone for not having progeny.  The "tens" in the middle section move us off this, but Shakespeare subtly brings us back in the eleventh line with the phrase "self-willed."  "Self-killed" and "self-willed" are echoes of each other.  And the last line, with the image of death and decay, made me tremble.

 

 

 

Friery,

The link between “self-willed” and “self-killed”, is a central part of each of his writings, be they Sonnets or Plays.  They are flip sides of the same coin.

To me, “self-willed” stems from the Will generated from the individual, which lies within the consciousness of the individual.  Whereas our true natural Nature or the place that we are when we are just ‘to be’ and without self controlling, is at once our true connection with everything else and our Natural individuality within everything else.  This place paradoxically existing with no decided line being drawn between the Nature that surrounds us and the natural Nature within us.  For lack of a better term, and not knowing what Shakespeare called it directly, other than just describing it, I’ll use the term‘Buddha Self’ to describe this individual natural Nature.  By being ‘Self-Willed’ we prevent ourselves from experiencing our Buddha Self, in other words our ‘Self-Will’ kills our ability to experience our Natural self, or Buddha Self, and the event of ‘self-killed’ occurs.

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friery
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

Thant's an excellent analysis.  Thanks.

 


Benedict3 wrote:


friery wrote

The most interesting and disturbing thing to me is the use of the phrase "self-killed" in line four.  This suggests suicide, which is a pretty heavy accusation to someone for not having progeny.  The "tens" in the middle section move us off this, but Shakespeare subtly brings us back in the eleventh line with the phrase "self-willed."  "Self-killed" and "self-willed" are echoes of each other.  And the last line, with the image of death and decay, made me tremble.

 

 

 

Friery,

The link between “self-willed” and “self-killed”, is a central part of each of his writings, be they Sonnets or Plays.  They are flip sides of the same coin.

To me, “self-willed” stems from the Will generated from the individual, which lies within the consciousness of the individual.  Whereas our true natural Nature or the place that we are when we are just ‘to be’ and without self controlling, is at once our true connection with everything else and our Natural individuality within everything else.  This place paradoxically existing with no decided line being drawn between the Nature that surrounds us and the natural Nature within us.  For lack of a better term, and not knowing what Shakespeare called it directly, other than just describing it, I’ll use the term‘Buddha Self’ to describe this individual natural Nature.  By being ‘Self-Willed’ we prevent ourselves from experiencing our Buddha Self, in other words our ‘Self-Will’ kills our ability to experience our Natural self, or Buddha Self, and the event of ‘self-killed’ occurs.


 

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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

Sonnet 8:

 

 

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?

Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.

Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,

Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?

If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,

By unions married, do offend thine ear,

They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds

In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.

Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,

Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,

Resembling sire and child and happy mother

Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing;

   Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,

   Sings this to thee:  "Thou single wilt prove none."

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

    Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?

Don’t understand this line, other than possibly a rhetorical question.

   Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
   Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,
   Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?

Another rhetorical question

   If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
   By unions married, do offend thine ear,
   They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
   In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.

Tolerance of those around you.

   Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
   Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
   Resembling sire and child and happy mother
   Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing;

This is a complex concept.  Or maybe not complex, I don’t know, but it brings us to a common theme present in much of his writings.   And the most beautiful line in this sonnet, giving reason for the preceding two lines.(still don’t get the first line)

Think of one person holding one end of a string and another holding the other end of the string.  The string is then plucked and resonates creating a tone.  Neither person having a roll without the other.  They are linked together in the creation of the tone being made.  Then multiple men, holding multiple strings each participating in society creating a tone with others in society.  One man can not make a tone, it requires one individual at each end of the string to do so.  With multiple couples holding strings, and each string creating a sound, music is created.  The music being beautiful and the sound of society.  When the music is looked at and not the individual strings, the society playing the music act as one.

The individual arguing between men to produce for their family including offspring and wives, creates a harmony in society.  Each man fighting for his individual family, and in doing so also fights for the well being of society at large as he holds onto the end of that one string during each argument with other men as the symphony continues.

      Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
      Sings this to thee:  "Thou single wilt prove none."

The many interactions between people playing the symphony of society, ‘seeming one’.  But if we try and do everything ourselves, which I do, we exclude ourselves from this symphony, and “Thou single wilt prove none”.  How can you be a part of the music if you don’t on occasion hold onto the other end of the string creating a tone?  In order to join the symphony, we must engage in the fight to provide for our families.  Otherwise we are nothing.
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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets


Sonnet 8:

 

 

Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?

Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.

Why lov'st thou that which thou receiv'st not gladly,

Or else receiv'st with pleasure thine annoy?

If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,

By unions married, do offend thine ear,

They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds

In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.

Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,

Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,

Resembling sire and child and happy mother

Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing;

   Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,

   Sings this to thee:  "Thou single wilt prove none."


Family = harmony?

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

[ Edited ]

Sonnet #8:

 

Family=harmony?

The temptation to link these two together is tempting.  But in this direction of argument I prefer to simply say ‘love’=harmony.

Plato in his discourses in love within the Symposium (which Shakespeare had access to) came to mind each time that I read this sonnet.  However, there are no direct quotes.  On the other hand neither is ‘family’ or ‘harmony’ mentioned.  However we are extrapolating out in words while remaining at the heart of what we think the concept of the Sonnet is about.

I do not have the paper in front of me, however, from what I remember about the Symposium, Agamemnon had a drinking party and every one was made to drink heavily according to the kings wishes.  The next night he wanted another dinner, but at first didn't want to drink as much, this time including Socrates.  Everybody at the dinner table was asked to describe their opinion of what love is one at a time in a clockwise fashion.  (where I believe the concept of Mark Antonie remaining on Caesars right hand came from.  Socrates was made to sit to the right of the king allowing the king to always hear what Socrates has to say at the same time as allowing Socrates to speak last in the clockwise discussion).

Pertaining to how this paper relates to Sonnet #8:

There was a poet, a doctor, and I think a music player, and others.  Well one of them described how different sounds that offend the ear, when made at the right time can mix together and make music.  As though multiple bad sounds can come together in a higher organization making a unity of symphony that is beautiful.  Alone each one may be ugly, but together, glory and love.  Or something like that.

Family…  Those are definitions ingrained within our society.  Some societies raise their kids as though all adults are the parents of all the children, what is their family?  Society and family intertwined and homogeneous.

Our drive to have kids and procreate, and our human element unbound by society definitions:

Love, (as described in the Symposium)

accepting all of the bad sounds with faith, that Nature is using those sounds in its symphony that we are unable to appreciate at times.

 

 

 

love=harmony?

Message Edited by Benedict3 on 04-25-2009 05:35 AM
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friery
Posts: 209
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

I found echoes of Greek epic poems in this sonnet.  The opening sounds like an invocation.  Compare it to the opening of Homer's Odyssey: "Tell me, O muse..."  The reference to Helios's chariot (in line 9, for example) also had an Attic flavor.

 

The opening words of the four segments of the sonnets were interesting: lo, and, but, and so.  I found even more interesting the odd rhymes (probably indicating that certain words were pronounced differently in Elizabethan times: eye...majesty, age...pilgrimage, noon...sun.  But is there significance to the fact that there are so many of these in this poem?

 

But, here's the issue that's been troubling me throughout the series of sonnets: why is procreation so important to Shakespeare?  To partially answer my own question, perhaps it's an issue of historical context.  The Black Death still occasionally raged across Europe.  This depleted the population, so having children had a much greater significance than in today's world.

 

I have some other theories.  One involves the death of Shakespeare's son Hamnet, another Shakespeare's possible closet Catholicism.  But those for another time. 

 

 


ConnieK wrote:

Sonnet 7:

 

 

Lo, in the orient when the gracious light

Lifts up his burning head, each under eye

Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,

Serving with looks his sacred majesty;

And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,

Resembling strong youth in his middle age,

Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,

Attending on his golden pilgrimage.

But when from highmost pitch with weary car

Like feeble age he reeleth from the day,

The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are

From his low tract and look another way.

   So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,

   Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.

 

 

 

 


 

Correspondent
friery
Posts: 209
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Shakespeare's Sonnets

I hadn't checked Helen Vendler before I made my post about Sonnet No. 7.  She has some insightful comments.

 

First (or last), the poem ends with the word "son."  That's a pun on the primary image of the poem--the rising and setting of the sun. And yet, incredibly, Shakespeare never uses the word "sun" in the poem.  Aha!

 

Vendler also notes that there is what she call a keyword in each segment of the sonnet--the word "look."  Here, it's looks, looks, looks, and unlooked.  Each use of the word is tied in to the sun/son image.

 

She also thinks there are anagrams in the poem.  These are plays on the French word for gold--"or," on the word "age," and on the word "car" (as in the sun's "car" in line 9).  For example, "car" is reflected in the words "gracious," "sacred," and "tract."  See if you can find all the anagrams.

 


ConnieK wrote:

Sonnet 7:

 

 

Lo, in the orient when the gracious light

Lifts up his burning head, each under eye

Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,

Serving with looks his sacred majesty;

And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill,

Resembling strong youth in his middle age,

Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,

Attending on his golden pilgrimage.

But when from highmost pitch with weary car

Like feeble age he reeleth from the day,

The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are

From his low tract and look another way.

   So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon,

   Unlooked on diest unless thou get a son.

 

 

 

 


 

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