Creepy Uncle Bill certainly wants pretty people to have kids. In the first five sonnets, he made that abundantly clear. In this second set of five, he has moved on from simply telling his young listener he should have kids to coming up with metaphors that help support his assertion. He is really stuck on this theme and it’s just plain uncomfortable at this point. However, we press on.
Sonnet 6 is just a variation on the familiar theme with a bit of a darker edge. The speaker is telling his young listener that he’s really wasting his life if he doesn’t have any kids. Not only is he wasting his great purpose but it is an empty pursuit to try to recapture or retain your youth, because if you try then you will “be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir”. I mean, yeesh. Sometimes a young man just needs some time to figure out who he is before settling down and having kids. Not sure I really want to be thinking about the grave quite yet.
In Sonnet 7, we find a metaphor that is sort of clever, but left me scratching my head a bit. He likens the movement of the sun across the sky to a man’s life, which makes intuitive sense, but then Bill tells his listener that once the sun is past noon, everyone turns away from it, just as they do old men. I don’t quite get that. Then he does a little wordplay with son and sun, suggesting that having a child will always keep the world sunny and bright. I suppose that’s a good thing. Nighttime is pretty good too, though.
Music is the metaphor for Sonnet 8. Bill says that music makes one glad in its harmonies and only a sad soul would be saddened by music. If you were happy and fulfilled by having a family, you would appreciate music all the more because your domestic harmony would resonate with whatever music you are listening to.
Sonnet 9 is Shakespeare’s PSA for the widows of the world. Imagine those commercials showing neglected dogs with Sarah McLachlan playing in the background, but for widows instead. Bill is telling us that widows need a good man, if nobody else. So please, do it for the widows. In fact, the world will be your widow if you don’t leave any children behind.
Finally, Sonnet 10 is a classic guilt trip. Uncle Bill starts off all flattering by saying everybody loves you because you’re great. So how can you be so selfish not to love a woman back and start a family? Bill says you need to have a kid unless you want to personally show him your “murderous hate”. That’s right. He said it. He meant it, too. So stop being such a selfish jerk and get out there and have some kids!
I’m not sure I’m loving this whole poetry journey with Shakespeare. The plays are a pretty good time, but the sonnets just leave me feeling icky. Hopefully the next ten sonnets are a little more fun and less… intrusive.