Shakespeare Sonnet 101 Analysis, O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 101. 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 101 (Original Text)

O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends
For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed?
Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say
Truth needs no color, with his color fixed,
Beauty no pencil, beauty’s truth to lay;
But best is best if never intermixed?
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?
Excuse not silence so, for ’t lies in thee
To make him much outlive a gilded tomb,
And to be praised of ages yet to be.
Then do thy office, Muse. I teach thee how
To make him seem long hence as he shows now.
WIKI

Shakespeare Sonnet 101 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 101 modern English translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 101 Analysis

The poet calls his muse a truant and ask s her how she will make it up to him “O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends” for neglecting his beloved who is the very epitome of beauty “For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed?” he says the virtues of truth and beauty depends on his love “Both truth and beauty on my love depends;” and his muse too depends on his love that brings the muse her dignity “So dost thou too, and therein dignified.”

He tells the muse to answer and speak in a happy tome “Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say” and that truth does not need to be described as it is connected to beauty being his lover “Truth needs no color, with his color fixed,” and beauty does not need poetic words to be described as it is attached to truth (he means truth and beauty are like one) “Beauty no pencil, beauty’s truth to lay;”and the best things are always good when not mixed up with anything else “But best is best if never intermixed?”

Although his love does not need praise, it does not mean the muse should remain silent “Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?” and that the slience of the muse cannot be excused “Excuse not silence so, for ’t lies in thee” because the muse has the power to inspire poetry that will make the poet’s love immortal and outlive death “To make him much outlive a gilded tomb,”

He then tells the muse to do its job and that he will teach it how “Then do thy office, Muse. I teach thee how” to make his love live longer and look the same in the future “To make him seem long hence as he shows now”

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