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Herbert

SONNET NO. 2

 

         When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
         And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's  field,
         Thy youth's  proud livery , so gazed on now,
         Will be a tottered  weed of small worth held:
         Then being ask'd, where all thy beauty  lies,
         Where all the treasure of thy lusty  days;
         To say within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
         Were an all eating shame  and thriftless praise.
         How much more praise deserv'd thy beauties  use,
         If thou could'st answer this fair child of mine,
         Shall sum  my count and make my old excuse,
         Proving his beauty by succession  thine,
         This were to be new made when thou  art old,
         And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

 

  • Note the repetition of the following words, we find-thy  beauty,
    thy  beauty, thy beauty, thy lusty days, thy brow, thy  youth,
    thy  blood.
    3rd Line.  "Thy youth's proud livery."  Livery can mean the
               beauty and glow of youth gazed on with admiration
               by others.
    8th Line.  "All  eating" shame refers to  " the gluttony"
               mentioned in the first Sonnet.
               We read-this fair child of his shall sum his count
               -that is balance the account and make an acceptable
               audit with nature as referred to in lines 11 and 12
               of the fourth Sonnet.
      Here Bacon tells Herbert that when he is in his middle age
    and no longer beautiful-his  youth's proud livery (distinctive
    dress) then looked on shall then be nothing but a tottered
    (ruinous) weed (garment) worth little and that if he is asked
    where his beauty has gone and where is the treasure (riches)
    of his youth (lusty days) and that if he replies that it is only
    in his eyes would be an all eating (consuming) shame and
    thriftless (extravagant) praise but that it would be better if he
    could answer that he had a child and prove his beauty by leaving
    a successor and that by doing this---his beauty would be renewed
    and made new when he was old.
 

 

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