V / CLIV
- Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
- Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
- For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
- Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness every where:
- Then were not summer's distillation left,
liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
- Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
- But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
How long do you think a Maestro could possibly withstand an insolent piece of his work, no matter that it is his best creation? Being vain and unproductive, the masterpiece must face his master's wrath.
1. A cute face indeed. A wonderful beauty encapsulated. The owner of the face or body thinks he is a gem, a delicate sweet, trapped in time, encased, unchangeable, in an amber.
Alert! although everyone, including the owner, is looking and appreciating the fine gaze of this vain youth, Nature, the absolute artist of that face, who painstakingly carved the youth, is not quite pleased. All the passersby stop at the shop only to get carried away with one of Nature's statues. Hmmm...!
2. This same gaze, this same face, this same youthful body, yes, Nature will angrily smash it. She, who is the good Greek Tyrant of the youth's body, will now change role; she will play the Tyrant, in the modern sense of the word. And with no qualms neither, for she has power over life and death.
The youth, whose beauty exceeds fair, has proven to be most unfair, being ultra vain. And Nature is going to teach him an unforgettable and age-old lesson
3. See how the Poet makes us experience what Nature will do to him? Okay, Nature is Time. And as they say, falsely : Time heals all wounds. Time here will create an incurable wound, a dent, a gash in the statue, that even Time can not heal.
Time ever plots and lures beautiful Summer, trickily, by the nose, through those nice Sun-filled months and years of vanity, make-up, self-prostitution, super-abundant and immortal childishness (the list goes on), Time leads Summer to that scary and flaky season of frost and haggardness, Winter. This is what it is to enter Old Age ungracefully and suddenly, to be dragged into it by force, unprepared.
4. Ever tried to tap a maple tree? Now imagine the inside frozen, and nothing coming out of those tubes. Isn't the tree quite useless? Lusty green and attractive leaves all withered. All those years of body-building; our youth trying to have the perfect shape. Muscles turned into flab. Our youth, our celebrity now is all withered. The Sun has set. It is no longer Summer for him. And passersby will inevitably ignore his gaze. Isn't Time just cruel? And justly so!
5. Alas and no alack! Nature is actually kind. See? there is some remnant of hope for this aged sir. His juice! He could sire another little sir, thus making Nature happy. If during his Summer Time, he had allowed himself to be distilled, he would then have left behind a veritable remembrance of himself, or rather, of the gift of beauty given him by Nature.
6. If our youth was not distilled during his Summer, then when he dies all his qualities would die with him, namely his Beauty (of body and character). He, Beauty, and a possible child (Effect, a copy) would be gone. And therefore, after his death, it would be hard to know or remember what Beauty looked like.
7. Now the sweet verdict. Remember how the Alchemists sort the fifth essential element, the quintessence, the core of things? How they invented distillation Know how sweet smelling Lavender Oil can be? When a flower is distilled, it is as though its very substance is extracted. It may lose its leaves and physical form, but its Oil, can even be grander.
BUT, if our youth spent his Summer well, and fathered a child, he might still live on in his Oil even after death.