In none too subtle terms he stated
the consequence of wasted harvest.
He pitied those who contemplated
taking to the grave a treasure chest
of spring-time sweets and summer jewels.
He reminded those, who chose to self-invest,
that unstoked love consumes; more so than fuels.
In wisdom, nature’s rules suggest
beauty thrives on life repeated;
and so, laments the spinster’s nest
and he who loves himself conceited.
. Time strips beauty of its youthful zest,
. the womb, not the tomb, does future best.
© Tim Grace, 10 July 2011
To the reader: In an agricultural age, full of uncertainty, populate or perish must have been an accepted adage; giving guidance to family planning. In his first handful of sonnets, Shakespeare’s advice to a youthful sire is to go forth and spread his seeds in beauty’s empty fields. The agricultural advice promotes a robust tillage of vacant plots; making the most of spring-time’s lustful days for “thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee, calls back the lovely April of her prime”.
To the poet: Just as one word does not make a sentence nor does one reading of one sonnet suffice to meet Shakespeare’s purpose. The various sets of sonnets were written over a short enough period to have overlapping features that connect them as siblings to a family. One word will evolve its use (niggard); and phrases will roll one into another, as with: golden time (3), on a golden pilgrimage (7) to his gold complexion dimmed(18).