Shakespeare Sonnet 64 Analysis, When I have seen by time’s fell hand defaced

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 64. 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 64 (Original Text)

When I have seen by time’s fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 64 ModernText (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 64 Modern text, translation

Shakespeare Sonnet 64 Analysis

The Poet says he has seen how time has destroyed “I have seen by time’s fell hand defaced” and defaced the beautiful monuments “rich proud cost” of famous men, “outworn buried age” and tall monuments razed down to the ground “ lofty towers I see down-razed,” and how the metal brass has become a subject of human rage and destruction “brass eternal slave to mortal rage”

He has seen how the powerful the hungry ocean “I have seen the hungry ocean gain” has swallowed up land “Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,” and again how land itself has reclaimed the same from the ocean “the firm soil win of the watery main” turning loss with gain and gain with loss “Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;”

And after he has seen such differences of natural states “I have seen such interchange of state” that keep interchanging into other and when the same things get rotten and decayed, “state itself confounded to decay” the destruction of such things “Ruin hath taught me” has caused him to reflect upon the fact “thus to ruminate that a time” will come when his love the fair youth will also be taken away. “Time will come and take my love away.”

Such thoughts he says are like death to him “This thought is as a death” which makes him weep and mourn “which cannot choose,” But weep over what he has in life which he is afraid of losing. “to have that which it fears to lose”

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