This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 100. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection of Shakespeare Sonnets with analysis. It is highly recommended to buy “The Monument” by Hank Whittemore, which is the best book on Shakespeare Sonnets.
Shakespeare Sonnet 100 (Original Text)
Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget’st so longTo speak of that which gives thee all thy might?Spend’st thou thy fury on some worthless song,Dark’ning thy pow’r to lend base subjects light?Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeemIn gentle numbers time so idly spent;Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem,And gives thy pen both skill and argument.Rise, resty Muse; my love’s sweet face survey,If time have any wrinkle graven there;If any, be a satire to decay,And make time’s spoils despisèd everywhere.Give my love fame faster than time wastes life;So thou prevent’st his scythe and crookèd knife.–WIKI
Shakespeare Sonnet 100 Modern Text (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 100 Analysis
The poet questions his muse asking where was she and if she has forgotten “Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget’st so long” to inspire him to write so that he can empower her influence. “To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?” He asks if she is spending her influence and inspiration on some useless poetry “Spend’st thou thy fury on some worthless song,” that shadows her power just to make unworthy poems brighter “Dark’ning thy pow’r to lend base subjects light?
He asks her to return to him and redeem herself “return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem” and make up for the time she has lost “In gentle numbers time so idly spent;” and inspire the poet whose gives her importance “Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem,” and who gives her poetic talent and value, as well as something to write about “And, gives thy pen both skill and argument.”
He tells his muse to awake and look at his lovers face “Rise, resty Muse; my love’s sweet face survey,” and to see if time has aged and wrinkled it “If time have any wrinkle graven there;” and if any are there then satirize or make fun of times decaying abilities “If any, be a satire to decay,” so that its aging abilities are despised and scorned everywhere “And make time’s spoils despisèd everywhere.”
He asks the muse to make his love famous faster than time can age her in immortal poetry “Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;” so that his poetry inspired by the muse can prevent the power of time to destroy his loves name and memory like a knife that cuts “So thou prevent’st his scythe and crookèd knife.”