Shakespeare Sonnet 98 Analysis, From you have I been absent in the spring

Shakespeare sonnet 98 theme, analysis, summary and modern english translation

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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 98. 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 98 (Original Text)

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leapt with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flow’rs in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Shakespeare Sonnet 98 Modern Text (Translation)

Shakespeare sonnet 98, modern english translation

-via SparkNotes

Shakespeare Sonnet 98 Analysis

The poet says that he was away from his love for the spring “From you have I been absent in the spring,” at a time when egoistic April dressed with the freshness of new blooms “When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,” made everything look new and young again “Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,” to the point of Saturn (considered an old god) also taking part in the enjoyment “That heavy Saturn laughed and leapt with him.”

But he says the songs of the bird and the scents of spring “Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell” of the different flowers that are varied in both smells and colors “Of different flow’rs in odor and in hue,” could make the poet feel it was summer “Could make me any summer’s story tell,”. He did not also feel like plucking fresh flowers “ Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.”

He did not even feel like being amazed at the whiteness of Lilies’ “Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,” or even bother to praise the bright red color of the rose “Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;” he says such things sweet and objects of delight “They were but sweet, but figures of delight,” created as imitations of his love “Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.”

And because of the separation, it still seemed like winter “Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,” and the poet only appreciated these things by remembering and thinking these objects’ to be a reflection and memory of his beloved “As with your shadow I with these did play.”

 

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