And summer’s lease hath all too short a date

Shakespeare’s sonnet Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? is all-encompassing, expressing love and evanescence, life and death.

A more than apt poem for a beautiful graveyard on sunny Scottish summer’s day: Dervaig burial ground.

 

 

 

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date

The temptation of monochrome is easily desisted when colours get as intense on a light infused afternoon on the Isle of Mull.

Summer seems all too short.

Light does not want to linger, it seems, all appears transient, life and light, even memory.

All is part of nature’s changing course.

Autumn and its darker days cast shadows over cloudy skies; harbinger of change.

The graves a stage for Shakespeare’s depth of emotion, the drama of death and the final curtain. Such depth of interpretation immortalized this sonnet.

By putting his love’s beauty into the form of poetry, the poet is preserving it forever.

Gravestones are more solid preservers of emotion where death dissolves all boundaries.

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

 

All ends in the closing couplet.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch: The Oxford Book of English Verse (1250 – 1918). Oxford, University Press; 1900

 

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