Sonnet 75

1084 WordsMay 15, 20115 Pages
Both Spenser 's Sonnet 75 and Shakespeare 's Sonnet 19 similarly claim to bestow immortality upon the beloved. Despite similar themes, however, these sonnets contrast sharply. Spenser 's sonnet ostensibly reports a conversation between the poet and his beloved, whereas Shakespeare 's sonnet directly addresses personified time, and shows the greater dramatic flair. Spenser 's first two words, "One day", eschew drama by setting his poem in a vague and unparticularised past. Line 1 tells how he wrote his beloved 's name on the beach, and line 2 of how the waves washed that name away. Lines 3 and 4 tell of how he rewrote the name and the sea repeated the act of erasure, this cycle of erasures mimetically echoing the cyclic action…show more content…
This is a very heavily stressed line, containing a string of three heavy stresses which fall on "time", "blunt" and "thou". Line 2 is regular iambic pentameter, but line 3 opens with a trochaic foot followed by the two strongly stresed words "keen" and "teeth". Line 4 is again irregular, with heavy stresses on both "long" and "lived", and a third heavy stress directly afterwards on the first syllable of "phoenix". This disruption of the expected metrical pattern of the sonnet emphasises the dissonant nature of time, which is being invited to perform violence upon the strongest of creatures - it being understood by the reader that time will perform such violence anyway, even if not invited. The direct command which opens Shakespeare 's sonnet is followed by others - "blunt," "make," "Pluck," "burn," and "make glad" - all of which are phrased as permissions. This vigorous string of permissions culminates in a grant of total licence - "And do whate 'er thou wilt" - in opposition to which there is set one prohibition, in that time is forbidden the "heinous crime" of ageing the beloved, here male. This opposition emphasises the poet 's horror of the "heinous crime". "Heinous" is one of a copious supply of adjectives, most linked to concrete nouns such as "teeth" and "jaws", which help carry the highly charged emotions of this sonnet. In contrast to Shakespeare 's vivid and specific instancing of concrete
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