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Word Count: 682
Shakespeares sonnets can be by most considerations split into two parts In the first part sonnets 1-126 the speaker is talking to a young boy The second part sonnets 127-152 the speaker is addressing a dark lady For the purposes of this essay I would like to look at the last sonnet of the first part sonnet 126 In this sonnet the speaker is issuing a warning to my lovely boy of the inevitability of time over nature The sonnet begins O thou my lovely boy who in thy power Dost hold times fickle glass his sickle-hour Shakespeare makes ten uses of the word glass in his sonnets In this particular use he is referring to glass as a mirror Times fickle or unpre- dictable mirror only shows the persons face at the present time His sickle-hour is probably referring to the hour of ones death because we associate sickle with reap- ing or the grim reaper The sonnet continues by saying Who hast by waning grown and therein showst Thy lovers withering as thy sweet self growst In other words the youth is growing in age by waning or decline which is what happens in old age but the youth is still beautiful and only sees his lovers fading beauty In the next portion of the sonnet nature is introduced as a sovereign mistress over wrack Therefore she is the ruler over the destruction or ruin that time brings about The speaker goes on to describe natures skill and purpose As thou goest onwards still will pluck thee back She keeps thee to this purpose that her skill Even as the youth goes forward in time nature has the power to preserve and main- tain the beauty In doing this nature disgraces time May time disgrace whose sole purpose is to destroy and decay
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