Within his bending sickle’s compass come…
This is one of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare. In only fifteen words, Shakespeare demonstrates why he is a true master of the sonnet form, imagery, cadence and the English language itself.
Through language, Shakespeare gives form to the triumph of Love over time and the subversion of beauty to age. The phrase, “Love’s not Time’s fool” signals rebellion in the way it breaks the sonnet form. Shakespeare then neatly repackages the couplet back into iambic pentameter, drawing the sonnet back into its traditional rhythm, almost like a clock ticking with the unstoppable passage of time.
Like all great poetry, it is a writer’s attempt at expressing the inexpressible — and, despite the inherent limits of language, succeeding.