Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,And delves the parallels in beauty's brow, (9-10)
Throughout quatrain 3, time acts as if it were a farmer… of humans. Could this also be designed to heighten the sense of time as unnatural and thus make it easier for the reader to hate this personified version? Or maybe Big Willy just had it out for farmers.
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand. (13-14)
Because humans create works of art—pretty much the definition of an unnatural activity—they are able to defy the natural processes of change and death. Win! This doesn't mean that "verse" makes anyone live forever, but it definitely is a weapon in humanity's arsenal. For more on this topic, check out our discussion of the theme of "Art and Culture."