Sonnet 45

Shakespeare. Sonnet 1

«The other two, slight air and purging fire,
Are both with thee, wherever I abide».

This sonnet continues and completes the idea of Sonnet 44, but here air and fire — symbolizing the poet’s thoughts and desires, respectively — are linked to the youth because the poet continuously thinks about and desires the young man.

Sonnet 45
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The other two, slight air and purging fire,
Are both with thee, wherever I abide;
The first my thought, the other my desire,
These present-absent with swift motion slide.
For when these quicker elements are gone
In tender embassy of love to thee,
My life, being made of four, with two alone
Sinks down to death, oppress’d with melancholy;
Until life’s composition be recured
By those swift messengers return’d from thee,
Who even but now come back again, assured
Of thy fair health, recounting it to me:
This told, I joy; but then no longer glad,
I send them back again and straight grow sad.

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Figuratively, the sonnet implies not so much direct communication as the telepathic exchange of emotions.

Alone, the poet “sinks down to death, oppressed with melancholy,” and does not recover until the youth sends his well-wishes and love back to him. However, the poet’s melancholic emotions are cyclical, for as soon as the young man sends back these greetings, the poet begins to think about and to desire the youth, and shortly he feels alone again.

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English audio from YouTube Channel Socratica

Summary from

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