Couplets that end Shakespeare’s sonnets often give lie to the old saw that they are throwaway rhyming lines written solely to satisfy the requirements of the form. The couplet that concludes Sonnet LXXIII is a case in point and sums up my feelings, both ecstatic and sad about the “handiwork of time”: This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,/To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.Here is the entire Sonnet 73...
That time of year thou mayst in me behold,It's a nice coincidence that a Shakespeare sonnet gets a shout-out in the NYTimes when I've just completed my video shout-out. Although I discuss Sonnet 147, which goes like this:
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day,
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.
My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
Th’uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I, desperate, now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed:
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.