Thursday, November 1, 2007

About Time

Sonnet 60
William Shakespeare

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

Some thoughts came to me during yesterday morning's prayer time: "Another week has already reached the halfway point; another month is now ending; another year is almost at its end. It seems to have just started." Time is passing, so quickly now. It's as if Time is on a journey, and it's swiftly traveling through my life. I thought about the days when I'd go horseback riding and how the horse always would speed up when he neared home. So it is with Time on its journey, it seems. And so it is with us all, to some measure. Hope that doesn't sound gloomy; I don't mean it to.

Then I needed to grade this sonnet that my daughter had to memorize as her latest poetry selection in her English class. And it seems to mirror so many of the thoughts which I had about Time. I knew little Shakespeare in my younger years, so I can't say I understand his writings very well. I remember doing a paper once on Othello and understanding that okay, but little else. At my high school, I got little encouragement to appreciate literature; it's only now in my later years that I'm enjoying it more.

At any rate, I wish you would read this beautiful little sonnet and tell me if you see it as a hopeful one. I do. It seems that Time is the cruel one. But it seems to me that "Praising thy worth" could refer to God, who reigns over Time. Any Shakespearian scholars out there that can tell me if that's a legitimate assessment? Do any of you see it as I'm seeing it, or have something different to offer?

All I know for sure is that whether Shakespeare was trying to say it or not, eventually Time will bring death, but death has been swallowed up in victory by and through our Lord Jesus.


Mimi said...

not being a Shakespearian scholar I would say that your explanation is as good as any...
To me it gives hope... because we have hope in the Lord, knowing that death is the final victory, through Jesus Christ!!
maybe one of the true Shakespearian scholars will have a better idea... but personally I like yours!!

Maxine said...

Thanks for your input, Mimi. I want to see it that way, even if it's not the literary explanation. My daughter (she's a ninth grader btw) told me the explanation that her video teacher gave. My daughter has been busy with her exams this week, so I didn't bother her about it when I made the post. This morning she was telling me that the teacher said this is a romantic piece and the poet is saying that even though Time may rob the other person physically, that person's worth to his/her lover remains unchanged. Something like that. She (my daughter) says she didn't really get this one--she just tried to memorize it.:)
Well, my love for Christ remains unchanged no matter how quickly Time moves, and I still say even though it (Time) is moving towards death, Christ is the victor.

Anonymous said...

I thought the same as I read "praising thy worth," and I do agree when our time is up, we experience the victory over death by seeing our Lord face to face.How I long for that day!

Maxine said...

Amen, Debbie!

Susan said...

Hi Maxine,

Oh, that was so beautiful! I felt the same way as you and yes, I long for that day too.

We have 2 very special women of God waiting to greet us at the gates. Maybe our mother's have met.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I always enjoy coming to yours.

Blessings to you my friend,


Susan Kelly Skitt said...

I like your interpertation :) Praising my Savior, all the day long...

Maxine said...

Susan, You got me all teary. Such precious memories and such hopes for eternity. Thanks for those words, Sister.

sks(too many Susans), thanks for that--Praising my Savior, indeed!

SO--We'll all do what we want with Shakespeare's words and defy any lit professor to dispute us, right ladies?

Cami said...

My personal opinion is that the classics have become so because God has saved them, they are generally good stuff. I say "generally" because I haven't read everything, of course! But I personally stick to them for my entertainment and inspiration, because they have passed the test of time, which is for our benefit. I liked your analogy about your horse. And I agree with your assessment, I find sooooo much of God in the old poetry!

Beverly said...

I agree with your interpretation of the poem - whether or not Shakepeare meant it so! I remember learning this poem in ABeka in my high school days. I'd rather take this poem from a Christian perspective, and I enjoyed re-reading this. I also think we can disagree that Time has a "cruel hand." Every moment that passes brings us closer to Glory!