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Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend. Nativity, once in the main of light, Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d, Crooked elipses ’gainst his glory fight, And Time that gave doth now his gift confound. Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow, Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth, And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow: And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand, Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand. Summary This sonnet attempts to explain the nature of time as it passes, and as it acts on human life. In the first quatrain, the…show more content…
In the third quatrain, the metaphor becomes one of time as a personified force, a ravaging monster, who digs trenches in beauty, devours nature, and mows down all that stands with his scythe. Clearly, these images develop from one another: the first describes the way time passes, the second describes the way a human life passes, and the third describes the way time is responsible for the ravages in human life. Each quatrain is a single four-line sentence, developing a single argument through metaphor: time passes relentlessly, human life is cripplingly short before it quickly succumbs to age and decay, time is the ravager responsible for the downfall of men’s lives. This is one of the great themes of the sonnets. In the couplet, the speaker then stunningly declares that he has found a way to confound time: his verse, despite time’s “cruel hand,” will live on, and continue to praise the worth of the beloved. This is the often-invoked corollary to the great theme of time’s passage: the speaker, disappointed that the young man will not defy time by having
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