Not Marble, nor the Gilded Monuments


‘Not Marble, nor the Gilded Monuments’ is written by one of the most prominent poets the world has ever seen, William Shakespeare. This sonnet is beautifully rhythmic. The poet tries to show the power of words and rhymes in this sonnet. It is about the destructive power of nature. There are multiple literary devices used in this sonnet. Some of the literary devices are alliteration, allusion, personification, repetition and epithet.


The poem is the 55th sonnet by William Shakespeare. The sonnet is beautifully written and it is rhythmic. The author has tried to describe the power and durability of poems and literature.

In the first stanza, the poet says that his poem will last longer than the gold-plated monuments and statues constructed by powerful and rich men. Those men think that they will become immortal by building marble monuments and gilded statues, but the time is unfaithful. Time is the biggest enemy of monuments and it does not differ for rich or poor. Every statue and monument will be destroyed over time. Here the author has described time as a slut who is not loyal to anyone. The author says that future generations will not know the glory of those powerful kings because no matter how big or powerful monuments they built, they will be destroyed in war or by the ravages of time. However, the great verses written about the glory of those powerful and kind people will always leave an impact on one’s soul that will not be forgotten. The author tries to convey that no matter what happens the poetry will be remembered by people who enjoy them. No great warrior, even the God of War cannot destroy the beautiful verses from one’s soul.

Further, in the next lines, the poet adds that humankind is destructive in nature and no matter how powerful a monument one builds it will be destroyed in war or destroyed over time. So, the author again clarifies that it is the art and the biography of a person in the form of poetry which will never be destroyed and forgotten. Those who love that person will have lovely memories stored in their mind and poetry will help those memories to propagate to future generations. The poet is also talking about his friend for whom he has written this beautiful sonnet. He says that his friend's memory and his poem will outlive every monument and statue in the world.

Poet further says that, despite the destruction of monuments and death, the memory of that person will live in the hearts of people as beautiful verses. And as long as humanity will exist, people will remember that person and read the verses written about him. Poet here refers to Doomsday which is supposed to be the last day of humanity.

In the last two lines, the poet tells his friend that he will rise from the grave with the rest of us on judgement day. Judgement day is a concept in Christianity when God will come on earth to judge humanity and humankind will end. And in the last days of humanity the memory of his friend will be stored in the hearts and souls of people.

The poem shows the power of literature and art. People die but their good deeds and great works are remembered through pieces of literature and not by any monuments and stories

Questions and Answers

Q. Why do you think the rich and powerful people get monuments and statues erected in their memory?

Ans. Rich and Powerful people are filled with pride and arrogance and think people will see their glory even after they die. They do not realise that monuments get destroyed by nature and people will not remember them forever.

Q. Explain how the monuments and statues brave the ravages of time.

Ans. Monuments and statues are made of stone and cement which are strong and structures constructed with these can stay for centuries. They can withstand extreme weather conditions.

Q. Why does the poet refer to time as being sluttish?

Ans. Time has been referred to as sluttish, by the poet because it doesn’t wait for anyone. It cares for no one and treats everyone the same. Time has no one, it does not care for anyone

Q. The poet says that neither forces of nature nor wars can destroy his poetry. In fact, even the godly powers of Mars will not have a devastating effect on his rhyme. What quality of the poet is revealed through these lines?

Ans. In the following lines, the poet simply wants to say that, Poetry and rhymes are permanent. It will always be alive with humanity. Even God could not destroy the rhymes and powerful and egoistic people can’t understand this.


Q. According to the poet what is indestructible

Ans: According to the poet, poems are indestructible and cannot be destroyed by nature. Poet thinks that his lyrics are immortal.

Q. How will the brave men be remembered?

Ans: According to the poet, brave men will be remembered by the poetry, and it will last a long time. Monuments and statues will be destroyed by nature and human beings but the greatest warriors can’t destroy poetry.

Q. Why did the kings make the Gilded monuments?

Ans: Kings and rulers made gilded monuments and statues so that future generations will remember them and see their glory.

Q. What is the theme of this poem?

Ans: The poem shows the indestructible nature of poetry and the destructive nature of humans.