Sonnet 2

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Sonnet 2

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 tattered 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 deserved 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.

–William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's 2nd sonnet is another procreation sonnet and inquiry into Time's destruction of Beauty, urging the young man of the sonnet to have a child.

Synopsis and analysis[edit]

The theme of necessary procreation found in Sonnet 1 continues into Sonnet 2. The man's beauty will be lost and become like a "tattered weed." "Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held" unless he reproduces. People will ask where his beauty is "Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies."

The only way for this beauty to be preserved is to have a child. Therefore when the man described is old, his heir will be young — "This were to be new made when thou art old."

Simpler and more Detailed Analysis[edit]

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,

when forty winters {many years} had come, and the traces of it shows on your brows, which is forehead which may implies that the user will have a lot of wrinkles

And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,

his beauty will not last, {dig deep trenches} meaning die/grave

Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,

his youth, which is very much desired {so-gazed on now}

Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:

his youth will no longer worth anything, not desirable anymore, just like a piece of damaged/tore clothes/garments

Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,

people will ask where his beauty is

Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,

{lusty days} meaning young, {treasure} meaning when we're young we have strength, beauty and happiness

To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,

he will reply the people who'd asked him where his beauty is that it still lies in his {deep-sunken eyes ; face that looks like a skull ; which is the attributes of old people] eyes

Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.

the user should be ashamed of himself, because he is throwing praises on himself like a {thriftless} person who spends more than what he has

How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,

he will be praised by using his {beauty- because of his looks, he can have all those lusty and vigorous days, and he can use it} to reproduce and pass it down

If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine

{this fair child of mine} meaning reproduce a child, passing down all this beauty to his child, thus, people will praise him a lot if he uses his beauty {his looks, and because he had the looks, he can have all those lusty and vigorous days} to reproduce a child.

Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,

{shall sum my count - which links back to 'thriftless' in the poem} {make my old excuse - when a person ask where did his beauty goes, he can use his child and say he had passed it all down to his children} it means that he can use his child to bear all the praise that he had when he was young{because linking back to thriftless, he threw all the praise on himself for being young and beautiful instead of being old, and thus shall sum my count", his child can bear all his praise for him, and can also use his child to answer somebody if they ask about the whereabouts of his beauty.

Proving his beauty by succession thine!

his child can prove that the user is beautiful when he was young to the other people that said or think that the user should be ashamed of himself where he is not beautiful but he kept saying he was beautiful, to sum it up, having a child can show or continue his line of beauty, getting praise once more.

This were to be new made when thou art old,

his beauty can be re-born again when he grows old, by having a child to inherit his beautifulness

And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

if the user is old and his blood is cold, when he look at his child whom his beauty had been passed down to, he will feel young and warm again.

Interpretations[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Alden, Raymond. The Sonnets of Shakespeare, with Variorum Reading and Commentary. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1916.
  • Baldwin, T. W. On the Literary Genetics of Shakspeare's Sonnets. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1950.
  • Booth, Stephen. Shakespeare's Sonnets. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.
  • Dowden, Edward. Shakespeare's Sonnets. London, 1881.
  • Hubler, Edwin. The Sense of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952.

External links[edit]