From you have I been absent in the spring,
Sonnet 98 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It's a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the persona expresses his love towards a young woman. It is the second of a group of three sonnets (97 to 99) to treat a separation of the speaker from his beloved.
We were apart during the spring, when everything feels young, even aged Saturn; however, none of the beauty I saw around me could bring me into sympathy with my surroundings. I could not admire the lily or the rose, since these were to me only images of you. Thus, it still seemed winter to me, since you were away.
Source and analysis
As Sidney Lee notes, this poem, like most Renaissance sonnets on similar themes, derives ultimately from Petrarch's sonnet 42; he cites examples from Surrey and Sidney. Edward Dowden notes a resemblance to Spenser's Amoretti 64. G. Wilson Knight connects the rose and lily of this poem to what he sees as a pattern of flower symbolism in the cycle.