A commentary on Shakespeare’s 106th sonnet
‘When in the chronicle of wasted time’ is one of the more famous poems in Shakespeare’s cycle of 154 sonnets. Before we proceed to an analysis of the poem’s features, here’s a reminder of Sonnet 106.
When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have expressed
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And for they looked but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing: Read the rest of this entry
A close reading of Blake’s classic poem
‘The Clod and the Pebble’ is a William Blake poem that first appeared in his 1794 volume Songs of Experience, the companion-piece to his 1789 collection Songs of Innocence. The poem stages a conversation between a clod of clay and a pebble to make a point about the nature of love. Before we proceed to an analysis of ‘The Clod and the Pebble’, here’s a reminder of the poem.
The Clod and the Pebble
‘Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.’
So sung a little Clod of Clay
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet: Read the rest of this entry
A commentary on Shakespeare’s 94th sonnet
Considered one of the most challenging and ambiguous of all the Sonnets, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 94, beginning ‘They that have power to hurt, and will do none’, is, for our money, also one of the top five best sonnets in the whole sequence. One scholar and poet, J. H. Prynne, has even written a whole book about this one sonnet. Before we proceed to an analysis of this enigmatic poem, here’s a reminder of Sonnet 94.
They that have power to hurt, and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces,
And husband nature’s riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others, but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself, it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity: Read the rest of this entry