The friends that have it I do wrong
When eves I remake a song,
Should know what issue is at stale:
It is myself that I remake.
In the course of his revisions, the patternings, Yeats claimed not just to be improving his poems lexationally but pattern-wise, rhythm-wise which he equated with remaking himself under the influence of some much more deep and subtle truth which we can apprehend if at-all only transiently.
You may have noticed above that in sonnet 71 Shakespeare’s theme is death, his own death, not death in the abstract as in the case of Donne. Shakespeare is addressing his beloved, the dark lady and asking her to forget all about him. The legacies of time are suffering and despair and Shakespeare conveys his slow progress towards them with the help of the solemn regularity of the iambic pentameter. It is, however, gently disturbed as the narrative progresses. A caesura divides the third foot of the sixth line. There are parantheses in lines 9 and 10. In the last line of the third quatrain Shakespeare asks his beloved to forget him ( after having written the sonnet to perpetuate his memory ) nay more, let her love decay along with the decay of the lover’s body. The irony of this audacious request finds echo in the spondaic third foot of the twelfth line. Shakespeare’s resigned irony soon finds voice in the thirteenth line where the pyrrhic first foot is succeeded by a spondee in the next.