Tag Archives: enmity

Sonnet LV

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover’s eyes.
– William Shakespeare

“Sonnet LV” by William Shakespeare is a rather complicated tribute to the beauty or character of the speaker’s loved one. According to the speaker, her beauty will live on within the sonnet.

Theme:
Creative works can endure for centuries (and give longer life to those people the works describe).

Techniques:
Sonnet structure, comparison, allusion, alliteration

Issues:
Can a rhyme outlive statues or more permanent structures? Can that rhyme give life to the beauty it describes (“But you shall shine more bright in these contents”)?

Summarize the sonnet in your own words.

According to Shakespeare, what else will endure besides his “powerful rhyme”?

Shakespeare argues that the works of the imagination are more enduring than material things. To what extent do you agree with him?