This poem takes you through season ie. the years of your life...Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness every where:
Then were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
But flowers distill'd, though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
1) The (hours) time that nature (gentle work) spent on you making (frame) you what you are - beautiful
2) The face (gaze - your face has eyes to gaze) or beauty that everyone sees
3) Well, those hours or time will be cruel (a tyrant) to that same beauty.
4) And make ugly (unfair) the beauty(fairly) that you have
5) Time will bring upon summer (time, another season, more years)
6) Til finally you reach the end (winter - last season) where it will destroy (confounds).
7) Young beauty (sap-spring) now old (frost -winter) well past prime (autumn leaves)
8) Beauty is gone and barren.
9-10) If you can't hold on to beauty like the fragrant flowers perfumed in a glass vial*
11) Then beauty will be lost (bereft)
12) The beauty and its remembrance of it would be lost.
13) But if you could capture it (flowers distilled), even if winter came,
14) The flowers (outward beauty) would be gone but the sweet smell (internal essence/being) will remain.
*This refers to the distillation of perfume from fragrant flowers, such as roses. Rosewater was much in demand for sweetmeats, confections and kissing-comfits. The distillate would be kept in a glass vessel, a vial.
PIC Source: Description des Royaumes D'Angleterre et D'Ecosse. Composé par Estienne Perlin.Par. 1558. Histoire de LEntree de La Reine Mere dans La Grande Bretagne.Par. 1639.
Re-printed by W.BOWYER and J.NICHOLS:For T. PAYNE and W. BROWN.LONDONM DCC LXXV(1775)
PIC Source: http://www.bottlebooks.com