The poet likens himself to a rich man who visits his treasures rarely so that they remain for him a source of pleasure. The poet’s infrequent meetings with the beloved, he argues, are, like rare feasts or widely spaced jewels, the more precious for their rarity.
So am I as the rich whose blessèd key Can bring him to his sweet up-lockèd treasure, The which he will not ev’ry hour survey, 4For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure. Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare, Since seldom coming in the long year set, Like stones of worth they thinly placèd are, 8Or captain jewels in the carcanet. So is the time that keeps you as my chest, Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide To make some special instant special blessed 12By new unfolding his imprisoned pride. Blessèd are you whose worthiness gives scope, Being had, to triumph, being lacked, to hope.