Sonnet 75: So Are You To My Thoughts As Food To Life – Shakespeare

November 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Pour mon amour.

There’s much I love about sonnet LXXV, particularly the two extremes of satiety and starvation – for which there is no equilibrium.

…………………………………………………………

So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As ‘twixt a miser and his wealth is found.
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure;
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then bettered that the world may see my pleasure;
Sometimes all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starvèd for a look;
Possessing or pursuing no delight
Save what is had, or must from you be took.
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

…………………………………………………………

PARAPHRASE
As food is to the body so are you to my soul and mind,
Or as spring showers are to the ground;
And for the contentment you bring me I allow such inner strife
As the conflict between a miser and his money;
Who takes joy in his wealth, but soon
Fears that ruthless competitors will steal his treasure
Now thinking it best to have you alone,
Then thinking that the world should see how happy I am;
At one moment wholly satisfied by feasting on your sight
And the next moment utterly starved for a look at you:
Having or seeking no pleasure
Except what you have given me or what I will demand.
And so I starve or feed to excess depending on the day,
Either gorging on you, or not having you at all.

…………………………………………………………

SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
The poet is torn by contrary feelings that he cannot reconcile. His relationship with the youth alternates between pleasure β€” “Sometime all full with feasting on your sight” β€” and uneasiness β€” “And by and by clean starved for a look.” Nor does he know whether to be alone with his love or show it off to the world. Embedded in these words lurks a sense of dependence: “So are you to my thoughts as food to life, / Or as sweet-seasoned showers are to the ground.” Following as it does the morbid sonnets dealing with death, in this sonnet the poet gains no pleasure either from fulfillment or desire: “Possessing or pursuing no delight / Save what is had or must from you be took.”

SUMMARY and ANALYSIS courtesy of Cliffsnotes, originally published here
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