Sonnet 56

Shakespeare. Sonnet 1

«Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite».

Much like in Sonnet 52, the poet accepts that separation can be advantageous in making their love that much sweeter when the youth and the poet resume their relationship. The poet asks the abstract love to be renewed so that he can be reunited with the youth.

Sonnet 56
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Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but to-day by feeding is allay’d,
To-morrow sharpen’d in his former might:
So, love, be thou; although to-day thou fill
Thy hungry eyes even till they wink with fullness,
To-morrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dullness.
Let this sad interim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;
Else call it winter, which being full of care
Makes summer’s welcome thrice more wish’d, more rare.

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He begs, “Sweet love, renew thy force,” and likens this “sad interim” to an ocean that separates two shores, whereon two lovers stand, hoping to catch a glimpse of each other and increase their love. Or else, the poet says, consider this “dulness” a winter, which implies the coming of summer and makes that coming all the more wished for. The sonnet has a sad, wistful tone as the poet seeks a way to rekindle the love that bound their relationship.

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English audio from YouTube Channel Socratica

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