My glass shall not persuade me I am oldSo long as youth and thou are of one date;But when in thee time’s furrows I behold,Then look I death my days should expiate.For all that beauty that doth cover theeIs but the seemly raiment of my heart,Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me.How can I then be elder than thou art?O therefore, love, be of thyself so waryAs I, not for myself, but for thee will,Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so charyAs tender nurse her babe from faring ill.Presume not on thy heart when mine is slain;Thou gav’st me thine not to give back again.
Shakespeare Sonnet 22 Analysis
The poet says that his mirror “my glass” does not convince him he is old “persuade me I am old” as long as the youth is still young “long as youth and thou”. But when he sees the youth ageing with wrinkles “in thee time’s furrows,” then he will prefer death “look I death” to amend for his own old age “days should expiate.”
He says that the youth’s beauty “beauty that doth cover thee”, is because of his love for the youth “raiment of my heart”, and his love resides in the youth’s heart “in thy breast doth live”, just as the youth loves resides in him “as thine in me”: With equality in love, how can their ages differ “can I then be elder”
He warns the youth to be careful “of thyself so wary” and he will also care for himself, for the youth’s sake “not for myself but for thee will”. He will protect the youths heart, “which I will keep” like a mother protects a baby from falling ill “babe from faring ill”
He then tells the youth not to expect his heart back “Presume not on thy heart” when the poet is dead “when mine is slain”, because the youth gave his heart to the poet “gav’st me thine” so it is his forever “not to give back again.”