Lo, in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climb'd the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, 'fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract and look another way:
So thou, thyself out-going in thy noon,
Unlook'd on diest, unless thou get a son.
When the first rays of the sun appear in the east,
And the sun lifts up his burning head, men's eyes
Pay tribute to his new-appearing sight
Serving his majesty [the sun] with looks of awe;
And when he climbs that hill to heaven [ascends back into the sky],
Like a strong young man in the prime of life,
Mortals still worship his glory,
Watching closely his climb into the sky;
But when from his zenith he, with his weary chariot,
Reels downwards like men decline with age,
The eyes [of men], before dutiful, now turn away from him
They turn away from his path in the sky and look elsewhere:
So you, youself nearly past your prime,
Will too go unregarded [like the sun], unless you have a son.
Did You Know?... A metrical foot consisting of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable is called an iambus; a foot composed of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable is called a trochee; and a foot composed of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable is called an anapest. The anapest is sometimes substituted for the iambus. Read on...
Notes on the Sonnets... In Sonnet 73 the poet is preparing his young friend, not for the approaching literal death of his body, but the metaphorical death of his youth and passion. The poet's deep insecurities swell irrepressibly as he concludes that the young man is now focused only on the signs of his aging -- as the poet surely is himself. This is illustrated by the linear development of the three quatrains. The first two quatrains establish what the poet perceives the young man now sees as he looks at the poet: those yellow leaves and bare boughs, and the faint afterglow of the fading sun. Read on...