The poet contemplates the concept of true love where there are no impediments and no changes.
Although love can be seen, its real value can never be measured. Neither is it the plaything of Time,
something that shrinks with the onset of old age.
Indeed, the brightness of youth may disappear as old age advances, but love will continue even till death.
A LITTLE ANALYSIS
The poet speaks of true love in the image of a union of true minds.
The classical form of marriage was something that was indissoluble, could never be broken or set aside.
Indeed, even before the marriage was allowed to happen, the couple and their community were required
to testify that they were aware of no impediments which would be in the way of the marriage. If such
impediments existed, the marriage could not be sanctioned.
So it is with true love: no impediments can exist to get in its way. Once the marriage has happened, it
is permanent. True love is not something that changes even in the face of change.
In Quatrain 2, the poet compares love to something that is permanent and unchanging, a lighthouse which
can be lashed by storms and heavy seas but it does not move or crumble.
It is also like the stars at night which are used to navigate ships across the oceans. Just as a star can
never be measured in terms of value, so is it for true love.
In Quatrain 3, the poet points out that Love is also not a clown -- the "fool" -- of Time.
Old Man Time -- the "Grim Reaper" -- is commonly depicted as using his sickle to harvest life,
reaping all the beauty of youth like "rosy lips and cheeks".
Time, the poet argues, can never harvest true love which remains constant even to the point of death --
"edge of doom".
In the Rhyming Couplet, the poet concludes that he is so certain about what he has argued that he is
prepared to stake on it even his reputation as a poet.
If he is wrong, he says, then he has never written any poetry and no-one in the whole world has ever been
Since, however, we know that he is indeed a famous poet and we know people have fallen in love, it can
be concluded therefore that his argument is quite correct.
The poem is therefore a controlled exposition of love but through it one is aware of a profound sense of
awe and admiration of the concept of true love.
Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?