SONNET NO. 56
Sweet love, renew thy force! Be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite;
Which but today, by feeding is allay'd,
Tomorrow sharpen'd in his former might:
So, love be thou! Although today thou fill
Thy hungry eyes even till they wink with fullness
Tomorrow see again, and not kill
he spirit of love, with a perpetual dullness.
Let this sad interim like the ocean be,
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love- more blest may be the view;
As call it winter, which being full of care
Makes summers welcome, thrice more wish'd, more rare.
6th Line. Wink = close.
8th Line. Dullness = drowsiness-see " The Tempest"
Act 1 Scene 2 when Prospero says of Miranda's slumber:
"Tils a good dulness."
Sad interim = period of absence.
10th Line. Contracted new = lately betrothed.
This sonnet is addressed to the poet's muse, sweet love. He says that at one time he had deserted his muse but has now returned and asks his sweet love to renew her force (power) and enable him to write again, so as to see again " the spirit of love." He compares the interval between his going and returning to the sea and its two daily tides. He writes that " the return of love is like summer taking the place of winter and being more welcome.
Compare this sonnet with Sonnet No.97 where we see the same ideas expressed in a different way.