Class 10 English Notes

CBSE Class 10 English Poetry 3 Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments (Sonnet 55)

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Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments (Sonnet 55) – William Shakespeare


Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments


William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. ‘Not Marble, Nor the Gilded Monuments’ is one of them. In this poem, he has used poetic means to create aesthetic effects.

In this poem, Shakespeare tries to convey the message that nothing in this world can outlive his poetic verses, be it marble or the monuments, that are covered with gold. The monuments wear away with the passage of time but his poetry written for his friend will live longer than the stone monument which has been left uncared for.

Next, he has contrasted his verses with the ravages of time on monuments. The fighting wars all overturn the monuments. They get demolished forever and everybody forgets about them after some time. But neither Mars, the god of war, nor fire can erase the written memory of his friend’s life.

It will continue even after his death. The future generations will also admire him and he will live in the hearts of people till the doomsday, i.e., the day of the last judgment.

Important Questions

Q. How do wars affect the monuments erected by great men to be remembered after their death?

A. Wasteful and unnecessary wars destroyed all monuments, memorials, and statues erected by the powerful rulers with a hope to be remembered by posterity. The conflicts of the rulers and the turmoil ruin even the monuments built of stones. The fire of war leaves nothing except the written memory of a lover for his beloved.

Q. Materialistic things don’t really last. What matters most are the people we care about and the values we live with. Explain this reference to the poem Not Marble nor the Gilded Monuments.

A. The icy hands of time destroy everything in nature sooner or later. With the passage of time, all signs of glory, grandeur, and worldly power fade away. Even the gold-plated monuments, memorials, and statues of stones lose their grandeur and glory and fall to litter neglect, decay, and deterioration. The powerful people who had got them built through that such monuments and memorials would bring them immortality. But it was nothing but their delusion.
Only the love and affection that one has in his or her heart for their beloved or loved ones will remain permanent. Such things are remembered by posterity. Such things move from generation to generation. Even the powerful sword of Mars cannot destroy them. People must realize it and act accordingly.

Q. What according to the Shakespear, outlives the ravages of time?

A. According to the Shakespear, his poetry outlives the ravage of time. The poet asserts that his portrait of the Youngman written in verse will outlive even marble, memorials of the prince, which will inevitably become neglected. His poetry is eternal and will immortalise the subject of the poetry.

Q. In what ways wars are wasteful?

A. The wars are really wasteful in many ways. First, a war kills many innocents. Second, it destroys houses and other properties. Third, it never establishes peace. In the context, In the Secound World War a bomb blast killed the boys’ father and destroyed their homes.

Q. In the poem, “according to the Shakespear”, what is time portrayed as?

A. Time is portrayed predominantly as a negative force relating to death and decay. It has been compared unfavourably to a female subject who loses her glow and beauty. It condemns human attempts to achieve immortality by building stone-monuments.

Q. In what ways is the poet stronger than powerful rulers?

A. The poet is stronger than the powerful rulers as his creations, i.e., his poetry can’t be destroyed by the time. Poetry will outlive mankind and will not be ravaged by time unlike statues and monuments.

Q. In what context, does the poet mention “death” and “oblivious” enmity?

A. Man has a desire to be remembered and immortalized in order to overcome death. The poet suggests that the force that conspires to ensure that an individual is forgotten such as war’s quick fire and the all oblivious enmity of the other people, is worse than death.

Q. How will the poet’s friend dwell in lover’s eyes?

A. This poem will immortalize the poet’s friend. Poetry can’t be ravaged by time, so this poem will be a living records of his friend’s memory. Neither will time nor war be able to destroy it. He will stay in the eyes of lovers till doomsday.

Q. The poet says that neither will time nor war be able to destroy his poetry. What qualities of the poet is reaveled through these lines?

A. These lines state that the poet is proud of his creations. He is confident of his skill of creating art and literature. He consideres them to be permanent. Moreover, these lines reveal his contempt for arrogant rulers.

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