Sonnet 116 and Hour - Moon on the Tides

  • Created by: Sunset
  • Created on: 04-01-14 18:08

Sonnet 116 and Hour - Moon on the Tides


  • Both suggest love is a good thing, a magical thing: Duffy says 'love spins gold, gold, gold from straw.' Which suggest it creates something special from nothing like magic, whilst Shakespeare says 'whose worth's unknown' which suggest love is so valuable it is impossible to measure
  • Both use natural imagery. Duffy talks about 'the whole summer sky and a grass ditch.' This is not generic, but shows each love is individual. Shakespeare's use of metaphors such as 'that looks on tempests .... It is the star' shows that love is a natural, essential part of human nature.
  • Shakespeare uses the form of a sonnet, as this is traditionally a love poem. Furthermore, the consistent ababcdcdefefgg rhyme scheme shows loves consistency over time. Duffy ends with a rhyming couplet like a sonnet, again reflecting a typical love poem.


  • Duffy suggests that time is an enemy of love, because lovers always want more time than they can have. For example, 'love's time's beggar' which suggests love begs for more time. However, Shakespeare says 'Love's not Time's fool' which suggests that love knows about time but continues to love despite the ageing process.
  • Shakespeare suggests that love does not fade with time and ageing: 'though rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickles compasss come;/Love alters not' Love, lasts until death, it does not change with time. Duffy, however, says 'Time ... Wants love poor' suggesting time. Suggesting time is always passing until it destroys love
  • Duffy regularly uses enjambement (eg back handing the night/ so nothing dark will end our shining hour) This slows down the pace, dragging it out in a similar way to the speaker who is trying yo make her one hour last. Shakespeare uses little enjambement because there is little need to try to slow time down, because love will continue anyway.

Overall comparison

Both Sonnet 116 and Hour explore the theme of romantic love and it's metaphorical 'wealth.' However, in Hour, Duffy suggests that love is constantly being threatened by time, which is constantly advancing until love has been destroyed. The speaker desperately wants to slow down time and savour the love she has. On the other hand, Shakespeare suggests that love is well aware of time and remains unaffected by it. Even as a person ages and loses their youthful beauty, love will continue. Whilst both poems disagree over the affect of time on live, they both agree that live is something that gives a person great happiness, so it is therefore of great value.


Paul Dutton


A really useful comparison grid for both poems. Informative and easy to follow for revision.