We have already come across the theme of change, changeability and shifting nature in Chapter 1, especially in terms of the notion of lovers’ inconstancy, and we will return to this theme frequently. In Chapter 1 the prevailing idea, in the context of time and change, was that lovers are free to make deliberate changes in their preferences. In this chapter we may be more struck by seeing lovers within the complex of wider forces. Ovid, a Roman poet exercising a pointed influence on Renaissance poets, depicts Time as an overwhelmingly destructive force to whose power all mortal life is subject. Thou tyme, the eater up of things, and age of spiteful teen Destroy all things. And when that long continuance hath them bit, You leysurely by lingring death consume them every whit.
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- Time: to Posterity and Beyond
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