Read the following poems by William Shakespeare and write an essay about the poems in which you address the following questions.
How does the poem work? How would you explicate its meaning? What does the poem accomplish aesthetically, intellectually, and/or philosophically?
If the dull substance of my flesh were thought, Injurious distance should not stop my way; For then despite of space I would be brought, From limits far remote, where thou dost stay. No matter then although my foot did stand Upon the farthest earth remov’d from thee; For nimble thought can jump both sea and land, As soon as think the place where he would be. But, ah! thought kills me that I am not thought, To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone, But that so much of earth and water wrought, I must attend time’s leisure with my moan; Receiving nought by elements so slow But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.
The other two, slight air, and purging fire Are both with thee, wherever I abide; The first my thought, the other my desire, These present-absent with swift motion slide. For when these quicker elements are gone In tender embassy of love to thee, My life, being made of four, with two alone Sinks down to death, oppress’d with melancholy; Until life’s composition be recured By those swift messengers return’d from thee, Who even but now come back again, assured Of thy fair health, recounting it to me: This told, I joy; but then no longer glad, I send them back again, and straight grow sad.
Since the poems were sonnets, both have 14 lines. Sonnet 44 had a rhyme pattern of abab/cdcd/aeafgg whilr Sonnet 45 had a abab/cdcd/eded/ff.