Sonnet 2

Sonnet 2
By William Shakespeare

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a totter’d weed of small worth held:
Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv’d thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

The poet looks ahead to the time when the youth will have aged, and uses this as an argument to urge him to waste no time, and to have a child who will replicate his father and preserve his beauty. The imagery of ageing used is that of siege warfare, forty winters being the besieging army, which digs trenches in the fields before the threatened city. The trenches correspond to the furrows and lines which will mark the young man’s forehead as he ages. He is urged not to throw away all his beauty by devoting himself to self-pleasure, but to have children, thus satisfying the world, and Nature, which will keep an account of what he does with his life.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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