A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 5: ‘Those hours, that with gentle work’

Interesting Literature

A critical reading of a Shakespeare sonnet

Sonnet 5 in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, which begins ‘Those hours, that with gentle work did frame …’ is another ‘Procreation Sonnet’ – many of these sonnets might also be described as carpe diem or ‘seize the day’ poems. A brief analysis of Sonnet 5 follows below. In the poem, Shakespeare once again urges the Fair Youth to have children, because time, which has helped to fashion his beauty, will also rob him of it.

Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o’er-snowed and bareness every where:

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