William Shakespeare
Warwickshire
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Sonnet Cliv

Rating: 2.8
The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd;
And so the general of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
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COMMENTS
Fabrizio Frosini 23 February 2016
shakespeares-sonnets.com/ 1. The little Love-god lying once asleep, The little Love-god = Cupid, who was usually depicted as a babe, or a young boy. 2. Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, Laid = had laid, having laid. heart-inflaming brand = torch which inflames hearts with the passion of love. 3. Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep nymphs - in 153 they were maidens who accompanied Diana as she hunted wild animals. The same is probably intended here, especially as they had vowed to be chaste, one of the requirements of belonging to Diana's band. A nymph was strictly speaking a minor goddess who inhabited woodland and countryside. chaste life to keep = to observe, to honour a vow of chastity. 4. Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand Came tripping by = came past walking lightly, with carefree steps. Compare Milton's Come and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastic toe. Milton. L' Allegro.33-4. 5. The fairest votary took up that fire votary = maiden who was dedicated (vowed) to a life of purity. A votary is one who has taken a vow to observe a religious or otherwise special style of life. Compare: Who are the Votaries my loving Lords, That are vow-fellowes with this vertuous Duke? LLL.II.1.37-8. took up = picked up. that fire = Cupid's torch. ...
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Fabrizio Frosini 23 February 2016
... 10. Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual, Which - i.e. the well, which became heated. Love's fire = Cupid's brand; symbolically, the passion of love. heat perpeual = everlasting heat. As in 153, A dateless lively heat, still to endure. 11. Growing a bath and healthful remedy, Growing a bath = becoming a bath, being converted into a bath etc. As in 153, grew a seething bath. 12. For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall, For men diseased = for men who have love sickness; for men who have syphilis. my mistress' thrall = a slave to my mistress. 13. Came there for cure and this by that I prove, there = to the bath, the well. this by that I prove = my experience at the bath (this) shows that etc. I prove = I demonstrate by experience. 14. Love's fire heats water, water cools not love. Love's fire - see line 10. shakespeares-sonnets.com/
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Brian Jani 26 April 2014
Awesome I like this poem, check mine out
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* Sunprincess * 26 December 2013
...........definitely a wow poem....enjoyed! ! ! Sonnet CLIV The little Love-god lying once asleep Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand The fairest votary took up that fire Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd; And so the general of hot desire Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd. This brand she quenched in a cool well by, Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual, Growing a bath and healthful remedy For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall, Came there for cure, and this by that I prove, Love's fire heats water, water cools not love. William Shakespeare
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