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Sonnet 74

Read by Claire Marchionne
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The imagery of this sonnet probably depends on two important Christian doctrines, transubstantiation and Resurrection.  The latter is quite evident in the contrast between the body, the dregs of life, the prey of worms, and the spirit which survives and 'remains' after death.  The doctrine of transubstantiation is brought in by the transformation of the mere lines of verse into the absolute essence of the man, the miracle of making physical substance into something spiritually profound.  The miraculous transformation mirrors the point in the communion known as 'the consecration of the host', when the bread of the host is transformed into the body of Christ, from which all derive spiritual life.

Virgo Mater Adoratrix
But be contented: when that fell arrest
Without all bail shall carry me away,
My life hath in this line some interest,
Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
The very part was consecrate to thee:
The earth can have but earth, which is his due;
My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
The prey of worms, my body being dead;
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered,.
  The worth of that is that which it contains,
  And that is this, and this with thee remains.

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