Tag Archives: lv

Not only marble, but the plastic toys

“Not only marble, but the plastic toys” by Wendy Cope is a parody of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet LV”.

Theme:

Creative works cannot endure.

Techniques:

Sonnet structure, comparison, parody, allusion.

Issues:

See Shakespeare’s “Sonnet LV”.

Summarize this sonnet in your own words using your summary of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet LV” as a starting point or model.

Do you think Wendy Cope has successfully refuted Shakespeare’s position, or is the purpose of this poem merely to entertain?

Write your own parody of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet LV”.

“Not only marble, but the plastic toys” by Wendy Cope
Not only marble, but the plastic toys
From cornflake packets will outlive this rhyme
I can’t immortalize you, love – our joys
Will lie unnoticed in the vault of time.
When Mrs. Thatcher has been cast in bronze
And her administration is a page
In some O-Level text-book, when the dons
Have analysed the story of our age,
When travel firms sell tours of outer space
When aeroplanes take off without a sound
And Tulse Hill has become a trendy place
And upper Norwood’s on the underground
Your beauty and my name will be forgotten –
My love is true, but all my verse is rotten.

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?