Some Shakespearian Scholars
consider this sonnet to be a kind of nexus
for sonnets I
, in which The Bard
is addressing himself to a younger male friend
Three themes run through this series: (with modern colloquial translations)
- Marry young ("don't end up like me")
- A promise that the youth will be immortalized in verse ("You're not really dead until you're forgotten")
- Proclamations of his beauty ("you're such a hottie"; or, for those of us still caught in the early 90s, "You're so money")
All three themes are stated clear as crystal in this one sonnet; examples, respective with the above list:
- (line 13): "But were some child..." (presuming ol' Bill is frowning upon accomplishing this end by way of illegitimacy)
- (line 1): "Who will believe my verse...", (line 9): "So should my papers..."
- (line 5,6): "beauty of your eyes... all your graces"
While it is only later in the series that sonnets actually addressed to women appear, I never claimed to be a Shakespeare scholar, plus the text is completely gender neutral, so I have no qualms about letting a girl swoon as I recite it for her.