A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6: ‘Then let not winter’s ragged hand’

A critical reading of a Shakespeare sonnet

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6, which begins ‘Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface / In thee thy summer’, is not the most famous of the 154 Sonnets Shakespeare wrote. And yet it develops the theme of procreation – seen in the first 17 poems in the sequence – in interesting ways. Here is Sonnet 6, along with a brief analysis of its language and a summary of its argument.

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 thy self to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;

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