Summary and Analysis
Sonnet 100 marks a change in the poet's thinking from previous sonnets, in which the simplicity of his poetry was expected to win favor against rivals, and suggests the poet's ebbing affection for the youth. We know that some time has elapsed since he wrote the previous sonnet because the poet rebukes himself for having neglected writing verse about the young man: "Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long / To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?" In an easy, relaxed tone, the poet exhorts himself to compose compliments about the youth, for now there is no rival poet to curry the youth's attention: "Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem / In gentle numbers time so idly spent." Note the scythe and "crooked knife" references to death and time's decay in the concluding couplet; the poet seems unable — or unwilling — to create new images in his verse.