Themes in Sonnet 19

Themes Examples in Sonnet 19:

Sonnet 19 3

"wrong..."   (Sonnet 19)

On a formal level, the speaker’s final argument falls apart. The end rhyme of “wrong”/“young” is a slant rhyme, and does not offer the full forcefulness of a typical rhyming couplet. The meter of the final line is conspicuously weak as well. The pentameter falters on “ever,” which forces the syllables into unnatural stress patterns. The noticeable weakness of the final couplet underscores the weakness of the speaker’s fight against time. Despite his attempts to preserve his love through verse, time cannot be bested.

"Him..."   (Sonnet 19)

The odd syntax of this line makes “Him” the focus of the line rather than Time, the actual actor within the line. In the speaker’s attempt to make the youth the focus of this line, he ironically weakens his command against Time. This move reflects the theme of the poem: the speaker’s fervent attempts to preserve the youth against time prevent him from making a strong argument that will actually be able to combat time.

"thine antique pen..."   (Sonnet 19)

By placing a pen in time’s hand, the speaker further deepens the illusion of a discourse between himself and time. By imagining that both he and time operate through the same medium, the speaker strengthens his belief that time can be confronted and defeated. In the context of the “antique pen,” it becomes clear that the sonnet itself serves as the speaker’s armament. This rhetorical argument is a theme throughout the sequence.