Allusion in Sonnet 94

Allusion Examples in Sonnet 94:

Sonnet 94 3

"only live and die,..."   (Sonnet 94)

These two lines are an allusion to the Bible, “For none of us liveth to himself, neither do any die to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord: or whether we die we die unto the Lord.” (Romans 14:7-8). This passage from the Bible claims that all men, regardless of status, external appearance, or good deeds, live and die with God; essentially, they should not be judged by fellow men because God judges all mankind.

"temptation..."   (Sonnet 94)

“Temptation” has religious connotations from the Lord’s Prayer —”and lead us not into temptation.” This suggests that the “stone, unmoved, cold” demeanour characterized by the first three lines is positive despite the speaker’s admonishing tone. The stoic state allows these beautiful people to resist temptation. This positive message is delayed until the end of the quatrain suggesting tension between the message of the poem —those with beauty and power should exercise restraint —and the speaker’s opinion of this restraint.

"power..."   (Sonnet 94)

The content and phrasing of the first line comes from the Latin proverb “Posse et nolle, nobile,” meaning “To be able to harm, and not to do it, is noble.” As the poem progresses, it becomes clear that the type of power the speaker alludes to is beauty, narrowing the subject to the fair youth.