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Analyzing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 12 and Woodworth’s We Are Seven.


Language Arts  




We are going to be looking at these two poems by two amazing poets. Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare and We Are Seven by William Woodsworth. Sonnet 12 explores time and life, how time is passing by so quickly and how we should reproduce before our time comes and death takes us away. We Are Seven talks about how even young children can die and be taken away before their time. 


  1. In Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare, how does he show the passing of time in the poem?

-by days and nights passing:

And see the brave day sunk in hideous night (Shakespeare 2)

-seasons changing:

And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard (Shakespeare 7-8)


  1. What does Shakespeare mean when he states ” And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defense/Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence” (Shakespeare 13-14)? Who is taking him away and where are they taking him?

You can’t slow down time and I think he’s saying that the person he is speaking to should have a child before death takes him away.


  1. What 3 colours are referenced in Shakespeare’s poem? What do they symbolize and how do they contribute to the mood of the poem?

    He uses silver and white, symbolizes old age:

And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white (Shakespeare 4)

He uses green, symbolizes youth:

And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves

Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard

Students should know understand the sumbols in this poem and comprehend the meaning behind the words. 

  1. In William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘We Are Seven’, how does the author create eeriness at the beginning of the poem? Do you find this approach effective?

    Read first line”

    He mentions a baby, feeling everything in his limbs and he mentions death. I think it’s eerie, because when we think of newborns, we think of hope and life and happiness. I do find this approach very effective. It lent a very dark tone to the poem.


  1. What is the author and the young girl in the poem discussing? Where are her siblings?

    The author and the young girl are discussing her siblings.

    -”Seven are we;

    And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.

“Two of us in the church-yard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the church-yard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”


  1. Look at the year this poem was written; does the time period have any significance on why the young girl had two siblings die?

    1798. Yes, many children died back then because of malnutrition and they didn’t have the medicinal knowledge we have today.

    In bed she moaning lay,

    Children in a more modern time would have gone to a hospital or a doctor and would probably have survived what this young girl died from.

 Students should now understand this poem as well.

  1. How is rhythm created in this poem as you read each line? How many lines are in each stanza?


      1. ababcdcdefefgg; only 1 stanza; 14 lines


  1. the words of ever other line rhyme so all the stanzas are abab except the first stanza which is abcb; there are 4 lines in each stanza

Students should know the rhythmic scheme of these two poems now. 

  1. Which of the two poems did you enjoy the most and why? Be sure to provide your own personal opinion while also referencing the structure of the poem.

    I enjoyed Woodsworth’s poem the most mostly because I understood it more than I did Shakespeare’s sonnet. I guess it was mostly the language of the poem and the fact that Woodworth’s poem was easier to read and the rhymes just flowed more.

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