Analysis Pages

Vocabulary in Sonnet 5

Vocabulary Examples in Sonnet 5:

Sonnet 5

🔒 5

"Leese..."   (Sonnet 5)

“Leese” means to lose. In this couplet, the speaker argues again for the distillation of beauty. If a flower is distilled it can meet with winter and “still lives sweet.” It loses its “show,” or physical outward appearance, but it does not lose its substance, or the essence of the beauty. Here, the speaker argues that beauty exists outside the physical realm in an idealized space.

"bereft..."   (Sonnet 5)

“Bereft” means forcibly deprived or robbed. Reading this line within the context of the two that came before, the speaker claims that without the “distillation” of beauty, beauty and its effect will be lost. This is his argument for the need to distill and preserve beauty.

"lusty..."   (Sonnet 5)

“Lusty” in this context means joyful, merry, or lively. The speaker juxtaposes “lusty” with the “frost” here to collapse the time between the joyful summer and barren winter. He uses this imagery to demonstrate how quickly life, youth, and beauty can become bareness and decay.

"lovely gaze..."   (Sonnet 5)

“Lovely gaze” refers to the youth’s gaze, which is both beautiful and tempered. This gaze is so beautiful, so refined, that it attracts the eyes of everyone in the room. However, this “lovely gaze” could also be that of the speaker gazing on the youth. The “lovely gaze” then becomes the gaze of the lover looking at his beloved and recognizing that “every eye” dwells in this gaze.

"gentle work..."   (Sonnet 5)

Often in Shakespeare’s sonnets, the subject of a phrase is spread across two or three lines of poetry. In these lines, the “hours’ shape the youth’s “lovely gaze” with gentle work. “Gentle work” refers both to kindness or tenderness and the noble class. In other words, the youth’s gaze was kindly shaped by hours or shaped by social expectations of the noble classes.

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