Shakespeare Sonnet 94 Analysis, They that have pow’r to hurt, and will do none

Shakespeare sonnet 94 theme analysis and summary

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 94. 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 94 (Original Text)

They that have pow’r to hurt, and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who moving others are themselves as stone,
Unmovèd, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces,
And husband nature’s riches from expense.
They are the lords and owners of their faces;
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flow’r is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die.
But if that flow’r with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity.
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
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Shakespeare Sonnet 94 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 94 modern text translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 94 Analysis

The poet says those who possess beauty and capability to hurt others but won’t do so, “They that have pow’r to hurt, and will do none,” and who do not use their power even though that is what they possess most. “That do not do the thing they most do show,” They may try to encourage and attract others to do things “Who moving others are themselves as stone,” but they themselves are unmoving, cold-hearted and emotionally slow even to be tempted “Unmovèd, cold, and to temptation slow,”

These are the people who will be blessed by heavens graces “They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces” and who save natures riches from being wasted; “And husband nature’s riches from expense” they are in total control of themselves and their beauty “They are the lords and owners of their faces;” while the rest or other people are too busy allowing their beauty to be used by others “Others but stewards of their excellence.”

The flowers of summer seems sweetest to us in summer “The summer’s flow’r is to the summer sweet,” although to itself the flower is just living and dying, “Though to itself it only live and die.” but if the flower was to be infected, “But if that flow’r with base infection meet,” even a weed would look more dignified than it “The basest weed outbraves his dignity.”

Things or people that are sweet or beautiful can look sour by their poor actions “For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds” like beautiful Lilly flowers which if they begin to rot stink more than weeds “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds”

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