Shakespeare’s Sonnet 49 is equally subtle in its study of the turn from inertia to determined action. It reflects explicitly on poetry as a form of action. It examines tensions and contradictions that arise in our experience of the flow of time. It explores the significance of philosophical problems about action and identity over time. Identifying the complexity in this apparently simple poem depends on registering the difficulty in grasping the exact sense of a Chaucer-type utterance. The occurrence of phrases of this sort leaves it unclear whether the verb-components name acts that the speaker might perform in uttering the phrases. This puts pressure on the first-person components and threatens to split that to which they refer.
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