Sonnet 1 - "From fairest creatures we desire increase"

Essay by gpcr55College, UndergraduateA+, October 2014

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 2 times

"From fairest creatures we desire increase / That thereby beauty's rose might never die,"

We want the best-looking people to have children so that their beauty can be appreciated by future generations,

"But as the riper should by time decease / His tender heir might bear his memory:"

For once the elder has passed away, his young will share the memory of his ancestor's beauty (and may look like the elder):

"But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes / Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,"

But you, obsessed with your own beauty, selfishly consume all of that beauty's light,

"Making a famine where abundance lies / Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:"

Depriving the world of that beauty when there is plenty to be had by all; you are your own enemy, you are cruel to your own sweet self, for not having a child to carry on your memory.

"Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament / And only herald to the gaudy spring,"

You who are now a beautiful thing on earth, and the one who announces the coming of spring,

"Within thine own bud buriest thy content / And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding:"

Are burying your self-satisfied beauty within yourself, and wasting it by being selfish.

"Pity the world, or else this glutton be / To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee."

Have pity on the world and bear a child; otherwise you are a glutton, keeping your beauty to yourself by taking it with you to the grave.

Why is he saying it?

Sonnets 1-126 comprise the first unit of Shakespeare's sonnets, although the second unit is considerably smaller, comprising only 28 sonnets. We often call sonnets 1-126 the "fair lord sonnets" because...