Sonnet 60 Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow, (9-10)
Did you know that the word culture actually comes from cultivation? Hmmmm. These lines, by drawing their metaphors from human agriculture, remind us of another way in which human art and culture transforms nature. Of course, the one doing the farming in these lines isn't a human being at all, but time. Why do you think Shakespeare chose to build in this ironic reversal of our expectations?
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow. (11-12)
The ironic description of time the farmer continues, as humans find their own processes of farming and cultivation turned against them. Does this say anything about the power of human art in the broad sense—including technological development, and so on?
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand. (13-14)
The last two lines of the poem bring us back to the most familiar sense of art, when the speaker refers to his verse. The speaker hopes to use art as a weapon against time and death, by preserving a memory of his beloved—and himself—for further generations. He doesn't claim that art is all-powerful—it's still under the gun of time's "cruel hand"—but at least it's something.