SUMMARY OF THE POEM
This great sonnet of William Shakespeare reveals the limitations of wordly glory and grandeur. All the great monuments, memorials and statues erected by princes, rulers and the rich to perpetuate their memory are subject to decay, destruction and deterioration. The ravages of time and the agents of destruction destory and damage all such monuments and memorials. Only the powerful rhyme of the poet and great poetry will survive the ravages of time. Through the written words of this poem, the poet will immortalise the memory of of his friend till the day of the Last Judgement.
Written in the form ofa sonnet, With fourteen lines, I\:'ot Marble, nor the Gilded Monuments is a poem 'with three quatrains (a tour-lined stanza) followed by a couplet at the end that in nutshell conveys the message of the whole poem.
The first quatrain talks about how time will not. destroy the powerful rhyme (the poem), though it shall destro\' the world's most magnificent structures. Comparisons between the poetry and various monuments are drawn out to show how poetry is stronger than these structures. Neither the precious marble nor the gold plated wel1-knovm monuments meant to be the graves of princes and well-known figures can match the powerful effect of the poem that the poet has written in praise ofhis voung friend, Sluttish time destroys eyenthing. Even the great monuments once carefully presened are tarnished and left uncared with the passage oftime. But the time will have no sway over the poem that glorifies the young friend in its lines.
The second quatrain also reinforces the idea propagated by the poet in the first quatrain as it deals with the ravages of time on monuments contrasted with the powerful rhyme that the poet has written to eulogize his friend. The ravaging \vars over the years have overturned and destroyed great statues. With the passage of time great 'works of architecture have perished. But neither Mars (the god of war), his sword or the war's quick grabbing fires shall do any harm to this poem that is a written memon of the life ofpoet's fi'iend that exists even after he is dead.
The third quatrain states that the recorded memory of his friend shall be honoured and remembered until posterity. 'Ihe poet emphasises that like a powerful man, his friend shall stride forward against all destructive forces and will be praised e\"en by the future generations to come. His memory will outwear this \mrld and sunive until the doomsday (the last day of humanity).
The couplet sums up suggesting the thought of the poet that the young man will 'live' in this (poem) until the last day of judgment, this rna\' be appreciated by lovers. 'When the humanity will be united with the great soul (the Almighty) that will declare the 'fall' (hell) and 'rise' (heaven) of the souls.He at this stage shall receive indiyidual judgment and ,yill rise to the heaven.
Q.1: Not marble, not the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme ;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
(a) The poet's friend will outlive :
(i) big buildings of stone and gold
(ii) buildings of gold and stone built by princes
(iii) gold-plated or buildings of stone built in the memory of someone
(iv) old buildings of gold and stone.
(b) The rhyme scheme of the stanza is :
(i) ab, ab (ii) aa, ba (iii) aa, bb (iv) ba, ba
Ans. (a) (iii) gold-plated or buildings of stone built in the memory of someone
(b) (i) ab, ab
Q.2: So, till the judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.
(a) This poem of Shakespeare is a sonnet of
(i) fourteen lines (ii) fifteen lines (iii) thirteen lines (iv) sixteen lines
(b) Where will the poet's friend dwell ?
(i) in the words of the poem (ii) in lovers eyes (iii) in next generations (iv) in his statues
(c) "Till the judgement" here means :
(i) till the doomsday (ii) till the day of the Last Judgement
(iii) till his fate will be decided (iv) the last day of the world
Ans. (a) (i) fourteen lines (b) (ii) in lovers eyes (c) (ii) till the day of the Last Judgement.
Q.3: What do the princess and rulers do and why ?
Ans. The princes, rulers and the rich erect monuments and memorials built of stone and plated with gold. They do so to perpetuate their memory. By building such monuments and memorials they want to keep their memory alive in the hearts of the coming generations. Actually, they want to be remembered and loved of the people long after they are dead.
Q.4: What will outlive all these monuments and memorials and how ?
Ans. All those monuments, memorials and statues built by the princess, rulers and the rich will face the ravages of the times. People will ignore and tarnish them with their unclean and immoral practices and habits. However, the words written in this poem in the praise of the poet's friend and patron will survive and outlive all those huge gold - plated buildings and monuments of stone. The contents of this poem will not diminish or fade with the passage of time.
Q.5: How will the 'sluttish time' besmear the monuments, memorials and statues erected by the princess, rulers and the rich ?
Ans. The monuments, memorials and statues erected by the princess, rulers and the rich will remain neglected, unswept and unattended with the passage of time. The unclean, evil and immoral practices and behaviour of the people living in different times will tarnish and defile them. Wasteful wars, tumults and the ravages of the times will destroy or ruin them.
Q.6: How will 'wasteful wars' and broils affect the works of masonry and monuments erected to perpetuate the memory of the princess, rulers and the rich ?
Ans. It is a human tendency of be remembered after death. So the princes, rulers and the rich erect monuments, memorials and statues to keep their memory alive in the coming generations. However, wasteful and unnecessary wars overturn all such memorials and statues. Tumults and turmoils 'root out the work of masonry' and destroy huge buildings of stone. The ravages of times and evil practices will damage and destroy all such memorials.
Q.7: How will 'the living record' of the poet's friend and his memory will survive wasteful wars, broils and even the mighty sward of Mars ?
Ans. The words of this poem written in praise of the poet's friend and patron will survive as a living record of his memory. His friend will be remembered by the coming generations through the words of this poem. Neither the wasteful wars nor conflicts or tumults will diminish or dim the shining glory of these words. The words of this immortalise his memory.
Q.8: How will the poet's friend partron find a permanent place in the eyes of coming generations and lovers ?
Ans. This great piece of poetry will not be ravaged by the times. The words of this sonnet will outlive all man-made monuments and memorials. The poet's friend will find a permanent place in the eyes of all the future generations. This poem will immortalise his memory till the doomsday or the day of the Last Judgement. He will dwell in the eyes of lovers till the day of Judgement.
Q.9: What is the message that the poem or sonnet intends to give to the readers ?
Ans. Great poetic art survives all man-made monuments, memorials and statues. The poetic art outlives all such gold plated monuments and memorial of stone. The sonnet written in the praise of the poet's friend and patron will immortalise him in the eyes and hearts of the coming generations and lovers. Great poetic creations remain unaffected by the ravages of the times, wasteful wars to tumults and turmoils.
Q.10: Describe a sonnet. How does Shakespeare develop the theme of his friend's praise as the living record of his memory in the sonnet using various poetic devices ?
Ans. A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines, each containing ten syllables, and fixed pattern of rhyme. This sonnet contains three quatrains and a couplet. The rhyme scheme is ab, ab; ab, ab; ab, ab; aa. A single thought is developed thorougly living record of his memory. It will survive wasteful wars, tumults and the ravages of time.
In the first quatrain, the poet draws a comparison between poetry and monuments. The princes, rulers and the rich erect gold-plated monuments and memorials of stone. They erect these memorials and statues to perpetuate their memory .But with the passage of time these monuments and memorials lie neglected, damaged and besmeared with 'sluttish' time. However, the words of this 'powerful rhyme' outlive these memorials and monuments.
The same idea is developed in the second and third quatrains and concluded in the couplet. Wasteful wars and tumults overturn statues and 'root out' the work of masonry or huge monuments of stone. But this poem will outlive all these and even the wrath of Mars. It will survive as living memory of his friend and patron. Neither death nor enmity will obscure his 'praise' and memory. He will find a permanent place in the eyes of lovers and the coming generations. This poem will immortalise him till the day of the Last Judgement.
The poet uses metaphors like 'sluttish time' and 'oblivious enmity'. He also makes very effective use of alliterations like 'shall shine, shall still' and unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish'. The use of blank verse heightens the effect to perfection.
Q.11: The ravages of times and wars can affect the monuments, memorials and statues but not the great poem that immortalises the poet's friend and patron. Justify the statement by giving examples from the text.
Ans. 'Not Marble. Nor the Gilded Monuments' is Sonnet 55, of the 154 sonnets written by William Shakespeare. In this sonnet the poet develops a single theme. The ravages of time spare none. All signs of worldly power, glory and grandeur fade away with the passage of time. All the gold plated monuments, memorials and statues of stone lose their glory and grandeur and fall to utter neglect, decay and deterioration. Only great poetry outlives all such monuments and memorials Neither the ravages of times nor wasteful wars and tumults can obscure its glory and grandeur. The words of 'this powerful rhyme ' will be a living record of the memory of the poet's friend and patron. Neither death nor enmity and wars will affect it. This powerful rhyme' will immortalise him and his memory. He will find a permanent place in the eyes and hearts of the coming generations and all the lovers. This sonnet will kept his memory alive till the doomsday or the day of the Last Judgement.
The theme of immortality of powerful rhyme or poetry is forcefully developed in the sonnet. In comparisonall the grand monuments, memorials and statues erected to perpetuate the memory of the princes, rulers and the rich meet their gradual decay and deterioration with the passage of time.
Q.12: The powerful rhyme is immortal but 'Not Marble, nor the Gilded Monuments'. Justify the statement and also the title of the poem.
Ans. Time has always been portrayed as the mighty destroyer. The sickle of time spares none. The princes, rulers and the rich make vain attempts to perpetuate their memory. It is a human tendency to be loved, liked and remembered even after one's death. The princes and rulers erect monuments, memotrials and statues of gilded-gold and stones. They make a show of their power, wealth and grandeur through them. They think that such monuments and memorials will bring them immortality. But ironically it proves only to be their delusion. The ravages of time spare non. With the passage of time those monuments lose their glory and grandeur. The ravages of 'sluttish time' decay, destroy and deteriorate them. There are other agents of decay, deterioration and destruction. Wasteful wars, tumults and turmoils overthrow such statues and root out the work of masonry'.
The poet knows how he can immortalise his friend and patron. He knows that his 'powerful rhyme' written in the praise of his friend and patron will outlive all such agents of destruction or deterioration. Neither death nor wars can affect the poet's powerful rhymes'. The great poetry will immortalise the memory of his friend and patron. He will make a permanent place in the eyes and hearts of the coming generations and lovers. Through the words of this powerful poem he will be remembered till the day of the Last Judgement.