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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 6


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 6
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Sonnet 6



Continuing the argument from s. 5, the poet urges the young man to produce a child, and thus distill his own summerlike essence. The poet then returns to the beauty-as-treasure metaphor and proposes that the lending of treasure for profit—i.e., usury—is not forbidden by law when the borrower is happy with the bargain. If the young man lends his beauty and gets in return enormous wealth in the form of children, Death will be helpless to destroy him, since he will continue to live in his offspring.

Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer ere thou be distilled.
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
4With beauty’s treasure ere it be self-killed.
That use is not forbidden usury
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That’s for thyself to breed another thee,
8Or ten times happier, be it ten for one.
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee;
Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,
12Leaving thee living in posterity?
 Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair
 To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.