But wherefore do not you a mightier wayMake war upon this bloody tyrant, time,And fortify yourself in your decayWith means more blessèd than my barren rhyme?Now stand you on the top of happy hours,And many maiden gardens, yet unset,With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers,Much liker than your painted counterfeit.So should the lines of life that life repairWhich this time’s pencil or my pupil penNeither in inward worth nor outward fairCan make you live yourself in eyes of men.To give away yourself keeps yourself still,And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.
Shakespeare Sonnet 16 Analysis
In sonnet 16 the poet asks the youth why doesn’t he put in more effort “a mightier way” to beat the effect of time “war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?” He asks the youth to get children that will protect his name from dying “fortify your self in your decay” and this would be a bigger blessing “more blessed” than being immortalized in the bard’s poetry “my barren rhyme?”
He tells the youth that he is in the prime of life “top of happy hours” and that he will get many young virgin women “many maiden gardens, yet unset” who would be willing to bear children “bear you living flowers” who would resemble the youth better than a painted portrait “much liker than your painted counterfeit”
Shakespeare says that children will remedy the youths old age or death through continuation of his lineage “lines of life that life repair” much better than the poet could hope to do so with his poetry my pupil pen” and that written poetry is not the same as reality where the youth lives on in the eyes of others “live your self in eyes of men.”
When the youth gives himself to a woman, “give away yourself “ he can get a child as his own creation of beauty “drawn by your own sweet skill.”