When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme
In praise of ladies dead, and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And, for they look'd but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Had eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.
CVI. The poet, reviewing the history of the past, finds, in the descriptions therein contained of beauteous ladies and "lovely knights," types and partial prophetic adumbrations of the marvellous beauty of his friend; which is felt to surpass all praise. Cf. lix.
1. Wasted time. Time expended and past.
2. The fairest wights. The most beautiful persons.
3. Old poems still resplendent with the beauty celebrated therein, or
8. You master now. You now possess in completeness.
11. Divining eyes. Eyes which could but dimly foresee the coming revelation of beauty in Mr. W. H.
12. Skill. Q. "still."
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/106.html >.
A Note on the Sonnets... The turning point in Shakespeare's career came in 1593. The theatres had been closed since 1592 due to an outbreak of the plague and, although it is possible that Shakespeare toured the outlying areas of London with acting companies like Pembroke's Men or Lord Strange's Men, it seems more likely that he left the theatre entirely during this time to work on his non-dramatic poetry. The hard work paid off, for by the end of 1593, Shakespeare had caught the attention of the Earl of Southampton. Read on...