9 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2019
    1. For we

      Another volta, as per the Shakespearean rhyme scheme. Here, we move again to "we" and Shakespeare makes us fully present. Now, the speaker seems to say, we can no longer adequately "praise" beauty in our poetry.

    2. So

      The first volta, or turn. Here the speaker beings to turn toward "you," the addressee of the sonnet, and away from these old wights.

    3. dead

      In the midst of words like "beautiful" "beauty" and "lovely," "dead" seems to stand out and command our attention. The "ladies dead" do seem to come alive again a few lines later in their blazoned physical features.

    4. beauty making beautiful

      Note the repetition of both word and sound. This seems to emphasize the requirement of beauty in poetry.

    5. blazon

      An old literary device that lists a person's - usually a woman's - physical features. Think of this as a detailed catalog as well as a breaking apart. The Poetry Foundation notes that Italian sonneteer Petrarch used the blazon extensively and it was also very popular in 16th century England.

    6. Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best, Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,

      In line 5 the iambic pentameter varies quite a bit; more unstressed syllables seem to crowd together as do the stressed syllables. However, in line 6 the list - the acting out of the blazon - restores the meter.

    7. wights,

      In other words, 'fairest people,' though the OED includes two entries that suggest the wight could be a person of contempt or a supernatural being (like a fairy). Soon, Shakespeare clarifies these wights as ladies, knights, even poets.

    8. wasted

      As an adjective, "wasted" here could mean 'decayed' or simply 'past.' This contrasts well with the repeated attention to beauty in the following lines.

    9. chronicle

      The first definition of "chronicle" in the Oxford English Dictionary is "A detailed and continuous register of events in order of time; a historical record, esp. one in which the facts are narrated without philosophic treatment, or any attempt at literary style." Though a chronicle is usually without literary style, the sonnet's chronicle is full of beauty, rhyme, and praise. The OED further notes the figurative use of chronicle, which may apply here, too. Shakespeare's Henry IV describes elders as "time's doting chronicles."