A question regarding the use of “but” in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1 Does anyone understand the use of “but” in “But as the riper should by time decease”? : "From fairest creatures we desire increase, That thereby beauty's rose might never die, But as the riper should by time decease, His tender heir might bear his memory:" I don’t feel that line 3 and 4 in any way contrast line 1 and 2 and thus don’t see any reason to use a “but”. Thanks a lot for your help! The rest of Sonnet 1 is below, but I don’t feel that it explains the use of “but”: But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes, Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel, Making a famine where abundance lies, Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel: Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament, And only herald to the gaudy spring, Within thine own bud buriest thy content, And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding: Pity the world, or else this glutton be, To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.
Jan 14, 2017 6:37 PM
Answers · 7
Hi Mikkel, it is used for contrasting. lines 1 and 2 talk about have kids, the “But as the riper should by time decease” is talking about the parents passing away "the riper" with the 4th line talking about his memory passing on thorough his kids. so it is contrasting the differences in the first two sentences the riper is alive but in the 3rd sentence is talking about the riper dying.
January 14, 2017
hi! Genius.com is an amazing place to learn about the sub-context of certain literary texts from sonnets to songs to novels. https://genius.com/10386266 click on the sentence you wish to understand and it will give you some annotations on it to further your understanding. Good luck! Rebecca
January 14, 2017
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