The “war with Time” announced in s. 15 is here engaged in earnest as the poet, allowing Time its usual predations, forbids it to attack the young man. Should this command fail to be effective, however, the poet claims that the young man will in any case remain always young in the poet’s verse.
Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws And make the Earth devour her own sweet brood; Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s ⌜jaws,⌝ 4And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood; Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet’st And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time, To the wide world and all her fading sweets. 8But I forbid thee one most heinous crime: O, carve not with thy hours my love’s fair brow, Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen; Him in thy course untainted do allow 12For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men. Yet do thy worst, old Time; despite thy wrong, My love shall in my verse ever live young.