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Vocabulary in Sonnet 94

Vocabulary Examples in Sonnet 94:

Sonnet 94

🔒 4

"stewards..."   (Sonnet 94)

The metaphor of aristocratic land ownership continues. The alternative to owning, and thus controlling, one’s beauty is to be “steward” of it. A steward tends the land of another, rather than owning it. A beautiful person who acts as “steward of their excellence” allows their beauty to be used according to the agenda of others.

"expense..."   (Sonnet 94)

“Expense” has connotations of reckless spending and waste. It also has sexual undertones. The connotations of this word point to the extended class metaphor threaded throughout the poem. Those who have inherited “heaven’s graces,” beauty and high social class, must keep both beauty and class pure by preventing “expense”— in terms of reckless actions, wasteful spending, or sexual affairs with those of lower status.

"husband nature's riches..."   (Sonnet 94)

“Husband” means the care, breeding, and cultivation of plants and animals. This meaning of the word reflects the idea of “inherit” from the previous line, as landed gentry “inherited” land which they would then have to cultivate. Because this word takes place in a love poem, it evokes the marital definition of “husband” as well.

"stone..."   (Sonnet 94)

“Stone” takes on two connotations. On one level, to be “as stone” suggests an impersonal demeanor—a “cold personality,” as the fourth line suggests. “Stone” may also refer to a “lodestone,” a naturally-occurring magnetic mineral. This connotation accounts for the magnetic beauty of “they that have power.”

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