What are the meanings of the participial phrase and the verb-less clause?

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
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor
the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in
odor and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell.
from their proud lap pluck them while they grew;
Nor did I wonder
at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the
They were but sweet, but figures of delight; [C]
Drawn after you [A], you pattern of all those.[B]
seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with
these did play.
(Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, p.132; Sonnet
98, William Shakespeare)

I guess participial phrase [A] is selected to say the condition of previous clause [C], and comma and verb-less clause [B] is to say the reason of [C]. Is this right?


Just by way of warning: the semicolon is editorial; in the only source text, this is a colon. Elizabethan pointing was (to the extent that it was anything consistent) rhetorical, not mechanical, and in any case there’s no knowing what Shakespeare originally wrote; so you can’t depend on the point to mean anything in particular.

[A] and [B] are both reduced clauses, with omitted verbs. That verb is “were” from C, the entire preceding line.

[A] also omits its subject, and when you first hear the clause, you naturally parse it as an ordinary reduced relative clause, “They were … but figures … [which were] drawn after you”.

[B], however, is an independent clause with a new subject: “You [were] the pattern of all those”; and when you hear this clause and recognize the antithesis it expresses, you realize that [A] is ambiguous. In light of what precedes it, [A] is a relative clause with the relative pronoun which as its omitted subject; but in light of what follows it, [A] may also be understood as an independent clause with the personal pronoun they as its subject.

So you’ve got a double parsing, which may be paraphrased either as:

They were only sweet images of delight, [which were] drawn with you as the model; you [were] the authentic original.
They were only sweet images of delight: they [were] drawn with you as the model, you [were] the authentic original.

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

Leave a Comment