«Against that time, if ever that time come,
When I shall see thee frown on my defects».
All pride is missing in this sonnet, whose first four lines continue the poet’s fear of the “truth” evoked in the preceding sonnet.
Against that time, if ever that time come,
Moreover, the poet is prepared to place blame on himself for the youth’s no longer loving him: “And this my hand against myself uprear . . .” In this carefully structured poem, there is no mistaking the poet’s humility and sadness, indicated especially in the repeated phrase “Against that time” at the beginning of each quatrain.
The first two instances of this phrase describe the youth’s future desertion; the third defends it. Writing of the young man, the poet accepts the inevitable time “when thou shalt strangely pass”; he shall scarcely blame the youth for leaving “poor me.”
English audio from YouTube Channel Socratica
Summary from Cliffsnotes.com