Shakespeare Sonnet #54

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumèd tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their maskèd buds discloses;
But for their virtue only is their show
They live unwooed and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, by verse distils your truth.

This sonnet struck me because of the analogies it makes. Beauty is in the petals, Truth in the scent. We who are born of imperishable seed and united to the Heavenly Vine have the Truth in us. Indeed, through Christ, we are the Rose of Sharon, the bud on Aaron’s staff. If we abide in Him we will blossom, and when we die in Him, we will be most sweetly remembered by the scent we leave behind. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15 (ESV)

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