Summary and Analysis Sonnet 43



The next sonnet series on absence begins here with Sonnet 43 and continues through Sonnet 58. Throughout this new sequence, different meanings of the same words are developed in versatile constructions and juxtapositions. Note the curious double use of "shadow" and "form" in "Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright, / How would thy shadow's form form happy show . . ." Three rhyme links to Sonnet 44 — "so"/ "slow," "stay"/"stay," and "thee"/"thee" — reveal a closely unified theme. Also, "darkly bright . . . bright in dark" in Sonnet 43 is echoed in "bright," "light," "night," "sightless," "nights," and "night's bright" in the other sonnets.In Sonnet 43, the poet surmises that his only consolation in being separated from the youth is at night, when he can dream of the youth's beauty. Images of reversal are prevalent, and all of them address how the young man affects the poet. For example, the poet says that at night he is content because he best sees the youth in his dreams: The youth — a "shade" — casts off light that illuminates his beauty. But during the day, the poet grieves, for then the youth's absence is most acute. These paradoxical situations between day and night and between the youth's presence and absence are most fully described in the sonnet's concluding couplet: "All days are nights to see till I see thee, / And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me." The poet's world is upside down.