I reckon we should all memorize this sonnet. It will assist us when Mr. and Mrs. Vanity Fair come knocking on our doors to have fun and more fun. I should also like to establish a Beauty Salon and Tattoo Shop and have this same sonnet engraved, etched, carved and graffitied on the main entrance door. You are probably thinking I would lose business, not in the least! After all in Australia, people still purchase cigarettes in packs covered with pictures of burnt and cancerated lungs. Get my point? hopefully not!
By now you've understood the sonnet - it's simple!
1. See how rudely old age will jump in on us? Notice the aggressive military terms (besiege, trenches). Add forty years to your age, not just forty ordinary years, but forty winters! And it's certain when that one season goes round 40 times you know he won't be the coolest or best-tempered guy when he meets you.
Actually this sonnet frightens me sometimes. See how beautiful our eyes are right? Well this rude fellow, age, is going to make them baggy someday, yes, and those of our loved ones. But luckily for us, I hope, we aren't the silly Narcissus mentioned above.
2. In brief: young and pretty today, and praised by all, tomorrow shagged and disregarded by all. A coming fact, watch out! Timon of Athens can explain to you how this feels.
3/4. As if to be mocked by our own selves or by others, the question pops up: so....where is all of your beauty now?
The more I think on it and write, the more I freak out! All the pictures and videos I have on the internet, Nosebook, and Wetube and the fair tweets and zmz messages people have sent my way because they saw my fine picture on www.sillysinglesmatchmaker.go - o dear, what's going to happen to me when I become a tattered weed of small worth held? O dear again!
And my response? It was a waste of time, all the praise I received did not feed me, they gnawed on me. Hopefully the funny-in-public but sad-behind-doors clown of fool that Narcissus is won't end up in suicide, like many of our dear and entertaining superstars.
5. Don't get carried away! The vain creature we are talking about is still Narcissus - the one who won't marry. If he had had a more responsible life, he would have at least gone offline and settled down. And the issue of all this: This fair child of mine. Look! I was not wasted by self, I invested in life! Such sweet responsibility, I think, makes us grow old well and accept age in a more decent and unchildish manner. Now, not all of us will marry but at least we won't occupy ourselves with the things of Narcissus and will have other ways, perhaps even better, to cope with old age.
6. Imagine a happy father with a young child in his arms. That father has two lives now, not a bad thing! so the waning of the first, his, will not wrinkle his face with undue sorrow since the second is full of life and far-removed death.
This child, this is it - my excuse! It will excuse me in my old age (hopefully).
And then the passerby might say: Ah senor! this child (hopefully a boy) looks like you. He is as handsome as you are (were), you indeed imprinted yourself on your successor. (Note! this beauty we talk of is not necessarily only of looks. It is deeper).
7. Notice the tone of the sonnet: the ifs and the woulds. These are the blessings that Narcissus missed out on. He so messed up his life with self-entertainment and now, o now...! On Self-Entertainment we could go on for another 76 pages, but let that pass.
The sweet seeming contradictory conclusion: to see thy blood warm (the blood given to your child - now it's its but also yours) when thou feels't it cold (your own blood drying up and going the path of all flesh - dying)