Summary and Analysis Sonnet 16



Sonnet 16 continues the arguments for the youth to marry and at the same time now disparages the poet's own poetic labors, for the poet concedes that children will ensure the young man immortality more surely than will his verses because neither verse nor painting can provide a true reproduction of the "inward worth" or the "outward fair" of youth.

Although the poet has tried to immortalize the youth's beauty in his sonnets, the youth's sexual power is, as line 4 states, endowed "With means more blessed than my barren rhyme." The poet concedes that his poetry ("painted counterfeit") is "barren"because it is a mere replica of the young man's beauty and not the real thing itself, whereas a child ("the lines of life") will keep the young man's beauty alive and youthful in a form more substantial than art can create.