The weekly sonnets continue after a short hiatus with the fourth of Shakespeare’s “seven ages” of man… the soldier.
A soldier’s drive to fight is strongly connected to love of country and love of fellow citizens. That love must be very strong if they are willing to risk life and limb for it.
This sonnet compares a “soldier’s love” to that of a “lover”. Both are a fire, but the soldier’s must be “fiercer” because of the risks the soldier takes. The motif of “fire” is threaded through the poem. Regular alliteration of “f” alludes to flickering flames. The capping couplet concludes with the metaphors of “cold” and “warm” blood.
The Soldier’s Love The soldier’s love is fiercer than the fire Of two dry bushes set off with a flash; The heat of battle’s hotter than desire Which flickers fleetingly then turns to ash. Each lover loves a handful in their time While fighters love the millions of their land; The lover lies in bed while church clocks chime As soldiers fall face first on earth and sand. Though passion may the heart a skipping send, Set lips and organs tingling with delight: No kisses can a broken body mend, No tender hug will end a firefight. Think not a soldier’s blood runs thin and cold That blood, when spilt, runs rich, and warm, and bold.