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Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

In one sense, Shakespeare's poem doesn't really have a setting. The speaker never tells you that he is standing in a particular place, or living at a particular time. But the speaker's mind does take us to several distinct places: first, the seashore (quatrain 1), then, a vision of the rising sun (quatrain 2), then a multifaceted description of agricultural life, combined with the destructive actions of time (quatrain 3). Because the couplet ends by talking about the "cruel hand" of time, it keeps us in the same mental space, generally speaking, as quatrain 3—or at least we think so.

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