Summary and Analysis Sonnet 76



Complaining that his verse is sadly limited, the poet acknowledges that his praise of the young man allows no new form of argument. As a traditionalist, the poet rejects innovation for innovation's sake. Failing to keep abreast of modern inventions, he watches other poets experiment with new and exciting subjects and styles of writing: "Why, with the time, do I not glance aside / To new-found methods and to compounds strange?" He answers that, because his writing is all about the youth, and he can add nothing to the youth's beauty, it would do him no good to try newer styles because "all my best is dressing old words new, / Spending again what is already spent." The poet's verse is as recognizable as his name because, ultimately, his arguments are remarkably unvaried: "For as the sun is daily new and old, / So is my love still telling what is told."