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Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73

Sonnet 73 The time of year thou mayest in me behold is about the ageing or appearance of ageing of the poet. The feeling is of melancholy. Each of the three quatrain deals with a different image. The first quartet is time set to nature, the season of autumn: the yellow leaves. But there are leaves, then none, then few. This is illogical. He is fighting time by disrupting time. Autumn moves to winter, the boughs shake against the cold. And now the branches are bare like the ruined churches of the land. In the second quatrain the unit of time is compressed, from the seasons to the span of a day. Time is getting shorter, day moving into night, into twilight. Death’s second self is nighttime, a form of death. In the third quatrain time compresses again, to the brining down of a fire, just a short time now. The glowing embers give way to the gray ashes, which finally extinguishes the fire. That which gave the fire life consumes it. The couplet at the end concludes that time is short; I am going to go, love me now before your attention turns elsewhere.

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