Shakespeare Sonnet 11, As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st

Shakespeare sonnet 11


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As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou grow’st
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this, folly, age, and cold decay.
If all were minded so, the times should cease,
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish.
Look whom she best endowed, she gave the more,
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish.
She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

Shakespeare Sonnet 11 Analysis

Continuing the theme of procreation, Shakespeare says that you may age fast, “thou shalt wane” but you will see yourself growing in your children. The “fresh blood” or child which you create can be rightly called your own when you turn into an old man “when thou from youth convertest”.

Shakespeare defines ageing as wisdom and beauty “Herein lives wisdom” where man has learned to procreate. Being childless is stupidity “without this, folly” because life becomes meaningless and wasted “cold decay.” He says if everyman felt the same “If all were minded so” and didn’t have children, then the human race would have ended in sixty years “threescore year would make the world away” which is the assumed dying age of the times.

He goes on to say that those who don’t get children “nature hath not made for store;” should be destroyed “barrenly perish.” If nature has given you the ability to procreate, “she best endowed” then you should appreciate this by adding to it and getting children “thou shouldst in bounty cherish.”

He ends by saying that nature has stamped man with her “seal carved thee for her seal,” Man should get children to allow his own personality to continue “thou shouldst print more” instead of letting it die with him barren and childless. “not let that copy die”.

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