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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: April ::
Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0162  Thursday, 8 April 2010

[1]  From:      Nicole Coonradt < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
     Date:      April 7, 2010 10:19:06 AM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0156  Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

[2]  From:      Andrew Fleck < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
     Date:      April 7, 2010 10:44:49 AM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0156 Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Nicole Coonradt < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         April 7, 2010 10:19:06 AM EDT
Subject: 21.0156  Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0156  Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

According to OED (etymology and date charts) contemporary meaning of "to grow" for Shakespeare is "to flourish"-- which seems particularly significant. Mari Bonomi indicated previously that the lines are written to future readers -- the eyes of the couplet that are necessary for all of this eternal-life-in-verse business to be realized. The sequence, esp. 17/18 support such a reading. This isn't a tribute to time, but to the beloved, who, when future eyes read the poet's verse, shall (though the beloved be long dead) flourish. The couplet is the kicker to which all else leads.

Nicole Coonradt
University of Denver

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Andrew Fleck < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         April 7, 2010 10:44:49 AM EDT
Subject: 21.0156 Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0156 Line 12 of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

I suppose I should be flattered to find my suggestions charming. However, I think I can have "misse[d] the point altogether" only if my remarks are selectively quoted.

Just before my misrepresented sentence, I wrote this one-sentence paraphrase:
...You will escape the shade of bad old Death "When" you (my young friend) continue to live (grow) until the [end of] time in my lines of poetry (which will survive until then and immortalize you along the way).

My next sentence was:

"Perhaps significantly, the idea of the growing youth (getting taller, more lively, more vibrant all the time) growing big/tall enough to get out from the shade cast by death further helps to link the two lines together."

And it was followed by this sentence: Now, on this sunny summer day, death is bigger and casts his shadow on the young man, but sometime down the road (*with the help of the immortalizing lines of the poet*), the youth will have outgrown the shadow cast by death (and maybe even cast his shadow down on death).

Which strikes me as not significantly different from (or NOT missing the point altogether of):

The youth can get as tall and vibrant as he likes -- precisely the reason why Shakespeare wanted him to reproduce himself -- but he will not escape age and death. The only way he can live on during the passage of time is by being recorded in verse.

Ironically, my suggestions began by remarking that one line shouldn't be read in isolation from others. Still, I'm happy to contribute to the discussion, even if it's to be misrepresented in order to help someone else grapple with the poetry.

Andy

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