Sonnet 73 (That time of year thou mayst in me behold)
Is it early fall, late fall, middle fall?
- Word of A Gentleman (Mills & Boon comics);
- Shakespeare Sonnet That Time Of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold.
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- Sommer der Entscheidung (German Edition).
The speaker doesn't seem too sure. If there are still "yellow leaves" on the tree, then it is probably early fall. If there are none, then it sounds more like late fall—almost winter. And if there are "few," then that sounds like somewhere in the middle. Is the speaker totally open about which of these options is the true one?
Or does he change his mind twice—first from "yellow leaves" to "none," and then from "none" to "few"—so that the last option shows his true opinion? We're not sure that this line gives you enough information to answer this last question—we'll have to keep reading to find out for sure. Which raises the question: what's the autumn of a life? Now we're getting into, you know, that whole metaphor business. Is the speaker super old and geriatric? Nah, that's winter. We're betting autumn's a metaphor for middle age.
Depending on where the speaker is in his autumn phase he hasn't told us yet , he might be in early, middle, or late middle age. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. We don't even know where those leaves are hanging.
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Let's read on to find out. Line 3 Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Line 3 tells us where those leaves however many of them there are are hanging: on the "boughs" of some trees that are "shak[ing] against the cold. Actually, it's pretty simple. If the speaker is comparing himself to a tree, then the "boughs" or, if you like, limbs of that tree must be like… you got it: the limbs of his body. And the cold? We think it's pretty much up to interpretation, but we'd say it's got to have something to do with old age, death, sickness—you know, the general bad stuff that happens to you when you get old.
Anything else interesting going on in this line? Then, like a melancholy malcontent, He vails his tail that, like a falling plume Cool shadow to his melting buttock lent: He stamps, and bites the poor flies in his fume.
His love, perceiving how he is enrag'd, Grew kinder, and his fury was assuag'd. His testy master goeth about to take him; When lo! As they were mad, unto the wood they hie them, Out-stripping crows that strive to over-fly them. I prophesy they death, my living sorrow, If thou encounter with the boar to-morrow. William Shakespeare Three Songs Come unto these yellow sands, And then take hands: Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,-- The wild waves whist-- Foot it featly here and there; And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear.
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Hark, hark! Bow, wow, The watch-dogs bark: Bow, wow. I hear The strain of strutting chanticleer Cry, Cock-a-diddle-dow! This life is most jolly. Academy of American Poets Educator Newsletter. Teach This Poem. Follow Us. Find Poets. Read Stanza. Jobs for Poets. The couplet of Sonnet 73 has been analysed in rather different ways by critics. In fact, all of the images in the poem seem to take place outside among the elements of nature.
A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73: ‘That time of year thou mayst in me behold’
Again, just curious. Keep the analyses coming! But your reading, relying on the reality of the bare-branched tree without summer birds, speaks to the power of this vigorous metaphor. Those trees are not just a weak, decorative illustration, but a thing of themselves too. Thanks for the reply and clarification, Frank.
Sonnet 73 Analysis.
I had never heard of Empson , still we all live in semi-ignorance, but I had to laugh when he began to talk about the dissolution of monasteries. Keep digging out these gems. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.