This sonnet has been dismissed for being simple, and it's true that apart from the reference to Saturn (a traditionally gloomy God) there's nothing here to confuse anyone. It has a single message: it may be lovely out there, but I can't enjoy it if you're not with me.
In some ways this is the perfect poem for our time - except that over the last year most of us seem to have realised that we are made of sterner stuff than this. And there's Zoom, too, of course.
Still, even the receipt of a poem can be extremely cheering, can't it?
From you have I been absent in the Spring,
When proud pied April dress'd in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any Summer's story tell.
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion of the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem'd it Winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
But then things don't have to be complicated, do they? And the line Nor praise the deep vermilion of the rose has to be one of the most sumptuous in the whole language.
Word To Use Today: vermilion. This word comes from the Old French vermeillon, from the Latin vermiculus, which describes both insects of the genus Kermes and the red dye which comes from them. Vermiculus means little worm.
Well, the whole thing was lovely until then, wasn't it?