Shakespeare Sonnet 86 Analysis, Was it the proud full sail of his great verse

Shakespeare sonnet 86 theme, analysis and modern text translation

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 86. 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 86 (Original Text)

Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,
Bound for the prize of all too precious you,
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse,
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew?
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night
Giving him aid, my verse astonishèd.
He, nor that affable familiar ghost
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,
As victors of my silence cannot boast.
I was not sick of any fear from thence;
But when your countenance filled up his line,
Then lacked I matter, that enfeebled mine.

Shakespeare Sonnet 86 Modern text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 86 modern text translation

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Shakespeare Sonnet 86 Analysis

The poet asks the fair lord if it was the proud and impressive poem that his rival wrote “was it the proud full sail of his great verse” which prevented the poet from writing a poem upon the ultimate prize being the fair lord “Bound for the prize of all too precious you,” and which suppressed his creative thoughts “That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse” before they could be put into verse making his mind a grave for his words instead “Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew?”

Was it the immense creativity that may have been assisted by spirits of dead writers “Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write” which makes the rival poet write better than any mortal that has silenced the poet? , “Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?” He then disagrees saying no it wasn’t his poetry nor his night visitors “No, neither he, nor his compeers by night” that has amazed the poet to remain silent “Giving him aid, my verse astonishèd.”

It was neither the rival poet nor his so called ghostly assistance “He, nor that affable familiar ghost” who could be giving him false information “Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,” which can boast that they have silenced the poet. “As victors of my silence cannot boast.” Neither says the poet that he was sick of any of them “I was not sick of any fear from thence;”

It was when the youth was impressed with the rival poet’s lines and looked upon him favorably “But when your countenance filled up his line,” which increased its reputation that made the poet silent with a loss for words and which also weakened the works of the poet “Then lacked I matter, that enfeebled mine”

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