Shakespeare Sonnet 65 Analysis, Since brass, nor stone, nor earth,


This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 65. 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 65 (Original Text)

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o’ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?
O fearful meditation! Where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil or beauty can forbid?
O none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

Shakespeare Sonnet 65 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 65 Modern text translation

Shakespeare Sonnet 65 Analysis


The poet says that neither the heaviness of brass or stone “Since brass, nor stone”nor the greatness of earth, or the power of the infinite ocean “nor earth, nor boundless sea” is enough to stop or prevent the negative sad forces of man’s mortality “sad mortality o’ersways their power” In the face of such anger and rage “How with this rage” that takes men’s lives, how can the youth’s beauty hope to plead “shall beauty hold a plea” especially when his beauty is not stronger than a flower? “no stronger than a flower”

How can the youth’s beauty compared to the sweetness of a summer’s breath manage “how shall summer’s honey breath hold out” against the destructive force and assault of time “Against the wrackful siege” against which huge rocks “rocks impregnable are not so stout,”and steel gates “Nor gates of steel” do not possess the strength enough to resist time’s decaying power “but time decays?”

He says it is frightening to even think about “O fearful meditation” and he sighs at the fact that there is no place to hide this jeweled beauty “Shall time’s best jewel” from time “from time’s chest lie hid?”

He also asks whose has a hand strong enough “what strong hand” to slow down time “can hold his swift foot back” or if there is anyone who can prevent time form destroying the youth’s beauty with death

He says there is no one unless “who his spoil or beauty can forbid?” the only miracle possible that might prove effective “O none, unless this miracle have might,” is the words of his poetry in which the person he loves can still live on “That in black ink my love may still shine bright”

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