In “Sonnet 65” William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) doesn’t only bring forward the way someone can express love. It also brings forward the love towards a young man. The sexuality of Shakespeare has always been a subject of recurring debate. A poem like “Sonnet 65” is a piece of evidence, some say, about Shakespeare’s sexual orientation.
About “Sonnet 65”
This is love. This sonnet ‘speaks’ love. But it also raises questions.
The sonnet is from Shakespear’s “Fair Youth.” The total collection of sonnets is 154. This sonnet is a continuation of the previous one (“Sonnet 64”). The main subject is Time’s destruction. In a way, the love he describes is a test of Time. When the years pass, the blackness of the ink he used to write down his words will still shine. Consider that as a love that will last. This is the opposite of the things he mentions earlier. Things that are solid or vast, but will or can break. It’s Time that responsible for this. He asks himself if beauty can also be broken when time passes.
In the end, we must accept our mortality. This will rule over everything in this universe. When writing these words down, he wants to make sure they will stand the test of Time. Well, in a way they did. Even after the centuries, he wrote them down, this is considered as a classic love poem.
The sonnet is probably the most quoted poem and shared between lovers. When taking into consideration that he wrote them for a young man, there’s also another message. Love can withstand time and it doesn’t matter what kind of love this is.
Although Shakespeare got married, there is evidence of him being bisexual. You can read more about this on a special Wikipedia page about the sexuality of William Shakespeare. This poem raises questions about his sexuality. These questions should never drown out the beauty of this poem. As said: love is universal!
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
— William Shakespeare