William Shakespeare Sonnet 65 [Semester 6] BA English Notes

William Shakespeare Sonnet 65: Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea. Easy notes for BA English Students of BBMKU University Semester 6.

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William Shakespeare Sonnet 65

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
   O, none, unless this miracle have might,
   That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

Sonnet 65 summary

Sonnet 65, written by William Shakespeare, explores the theme of time’s destructive power and its ability to erode everything in its path. The poet contemplates the inevitable decay of beauty and youth, but he also finds hope in the power of his verse to preserve the beloved’s memory. Here’s a line-by-line summary of the sonnet:

Line 1: Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea –
The poet begins by stating that neither metal (brass), stone, earth, nor vast sea is immune to the effects of time.

Line 2: But sad mortality o’ersways their power,
“Sad mortality” refers to the impermanence of all things caused by human mortality, ultimately defeating these elements’ power.

Line 3: How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
The poet questions how beauty can withstand the destructive force of time.

Line 4: Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
Time’s action is as feeble as that of a delicate flower.

Line 5: O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
The sweet breath of summer, symbolizing youth and beauty, cannot resist time’s relentless march.

Line 6: Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
“Wrackful siege” refers to the fateful attack of passing days, battering and wearing away everything in their path.

Line 7: When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Even the most substantial rocks, once considered impregnable, succumb to the forces of time.

Line 8: Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
Time can decay even the most robust gates made of steel.

Line 9: O fearful meditation! where, lack,
The poet reflects on the fearful contemplation of this harsh reality.

Line 10: Shall Time’s best jewel from Time’s chest lie hid?
The “best jewel” could refer to the beloved or the poet’s verse, wondering if it will be hidden away or lost to time’s relentless march.

Line 11: Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
The poet ponders if any force is strong enough to restrain the swift foot of time from advancing.

Line 12: Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
Who can prevent time from ravaging the beauty of the beloved?

Line 13: O, none, unless this miracle have might,
No one can prevent time’s destructive power unless a miracle can stop it.

Line 14: That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
The sonnet concludes on a hopeful note, suggesting that the poet’s love, preserved in his verse (“black ink”), can shine brightly and endure despite the ravages of time.

In Sonnet 65, Shakespeare skillfully explores the transitory nature of existence while finding solace in the enduring power of poetry to immortalize love and beauty.

William Shakespeare Sonnet 65 Complete Summary

Sonnet 65 by William Shakespeare is another contemplation on the theme of time but with a slightly different approach compared to Sonnet 60. Here’s a complete summary of Sonnet 65:

The sonnet opens with the speaker acknowledging the destructive power of time. He compares time to a ruthless and violent force that destroys everything in its path. The personification of time as an adversary sets the tone for the rest of the poem.

In the second quatrain, the speaker delves into how time wreaks havoc on the beauty of both natural elements and artistic creations. He mentions that the “brass” (a symbol of strength and endurance) can be eroded over time, and even the most beautiful and skillfully crafted objects will eventually decay. This serves as a reminder that nothing is immune to the effects of time, no matter how impressive or robust it may seem.

Moving on to the third quatrain, the focus shifts to the impact of time on human beings. The speaker notes that the most significant monuments and memorials erected in honour of influential individuals will also succumb to time’s influence. Even the deeds of mighty kings and rulers will eventually fade into obscurity as time erases the memory of their accomplishments.

In the final couplet, the speaker reflects on the power of poetry and how it can defy the ravages of time. He declares that as long as people can read and appreciate his sonnet, the poem’s subject will live on, defying the oblivion that time threatens to impose.

In summary, Sonnet 65 by Shakespeare meditates on the all-encompassing power of time and its ability to destroy even the most robust and magnificent aspects of nature, art, and human civilization. However, the poet finds solace in the enduring nature of poetry, which preserves the memory and essence of the subject, allowing it to transcend the boundaries imposed by time.

Shakespeare Sonnet 65 Critical Analyze

Sonnet 65 by William Shakespeare is a poignant exploration of the theme of mortality and the passage of time. In this sonnet, the poet reflects on the destructive power of time, which spares nothing in its path, not even the most vital elements like brass, stone, earth, or the boundless sea. The opening lines set a sombre tone by emphasizing the inevitability of decay.

Shakespeare personifies time as a force that overpowers everything, regardless of its strength or beauty. The use of “sad mortality” suggests that the impermanence of all things is a sorrowful aspect of human existence. This personification is further developed as time is portrayed as a violent force laying siege to beauty and youth, battering them like a destructive army.

The sonnet’s central question revolves around how beauty, symbolized by “summer’s honey breath,” can withstand the assault of time. The comparison of time’s action to that of a fragile flower emphasizes the vulnerability of beauty and youth to the passage of time. The poet laments the inevitable loss of beauty and wonders if any force can halt time’s swift progression.

In the final quatrain, Shakespeare raises a philosophical question: Can anything prevent time from taking away the best aspects of life, such as beauty and love? The answer appears to be no, except for a miraculous power. However, the poet finds hope in the power of his poetry (“black ink”) to preserve and immortalize love, allowing it to “shine bright” even in the face of time’s relentless march.

The poem’s overall tone is contemplative and melancholic, revealing the poet’s grappling with human life’s impermanence and beauty’s fleeting nature. It is a profound meditation on mortality, encapsulated in Shakespearean style with iambic pentameter and a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG.

Sonnet 65 is not merely a lamentation of the inevitable decay caused by time but also a testament to the enduring power of poetry to preserve the essence of love and beauty. It emphasizes the poet’s belief in the ability of his verse to transcend time and provide a lasting legacy for the beloved. The sonnet exemplifies Shakespeare’s skill in capturing the complexities of human emotions and existential contemplations in a concise and beautifully crafted form.

FAQs

Q: Who wrote Sonnet 65?
A: Sonnet 65 was written by William Shakespeare, a renowned English playwright and poet.

Q: What is the theme of Sonnet 65?
A: The theme of Sonnet 65 is the destructive power of time and its ability to erode all things, including beauty and youth.

Q: How many lines does Sonnet 65 have?
A: Sonnet 65 consists of 14 lines, following the typical structure of a Shakespearean sonnet.

Q: What is the rhyme scheme of Sonnet 65?
A: The rhyme scheme of Sonnet 65 is ABABCDCDEFEFGG, a typical pattern for Shakespearean sonnets.

Q: What is the tone of Sonnet 65? A:
The tone of Sonnet 65 is contemplative and melancholic, reflecting the poet’s musings on the impermanence of life and beauty.

Q: What are the primary poetic devices used in Sonnet 65?
A: Sonnet 65 employs various poetic devices, including personification (e.g., time as a destructive force), metaphors (e.g., comparing time’s action to a flower’s fragility), and alliteration (e.g., “sad mortality” and “summer’s honey breath”).

Q: When was Sonnet 65 written?
A: The exact date of composition for Sonnet 65 is not known, but it was likely written in the early 17th century, during Shakespeare’s career.

Q: What is the central message or takeaway from Sonnet 65?
A: The central message of Sonnet 65 is that time’s passage is inevitable and relentless, causing everything to decay and fade. However, the poet finds solace in the power of his verse to immortalize love and beauty despite the ravages of time.

Q: What is the literary significance of Sonnet 65?
A: Sonnet 65 is considered one of Shakespeare’s profound meditations on mortality and the transient nature of life and beauty. It showcases the poet’s skill in capturing complex emotions and existential contemplations within the concise structure of a sonnet.

Q: Is Sonnet 65 part of a more extensive collection?
A: Sonnet 65 is part of Shakespeare’s more extensive collection of 154 sonnets, first published in 1609. These sonnets cover various themes, including love, beauty, time, and mortality.