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English Literature CLEP Practice Test
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Like as the waves make toward the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main (broad expanse) of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crowned,
Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish (remove the embellishment) set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope (future times) my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
(Note: the italicized phrases in parentheses are translations of the phrase
William Shakespeare is best known for his plays; however, he wrote a number of sonnets
like #60. They were not published in his lifetime. It appears that he wrote them
for his friends and not for publication.
1) What is the theme of Sonnet #60?
A) Passage of time.
B) The effects of the passage of time on a human being.
C) Poems will endure even after the poet is dead.
D) Time is the enemy of youth.
E) Growing old is depressing.
2) Who is the persona?
A) A lover who is growing older
B) An old man
C) A young man
D) A woman
E) A young lover
3) To whom is he/she speaking?
A) No one in particular
B) A lover who is growing older
C) His/her children
D) His/her friends
E) His family
4) What simile (direct comparison) can you find in this sonnet?
A) “Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, so do our minutes
hasten to their end”
B) “In sequent toil all forwards do contend”
C) “And time that gave doth now his gift confound.”
D) “yet to times in hope my verse shall stand.”
E) “feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth.”
5) What metaphor (implied comparison) can you find?
A) “In sequent toil all forwards do contend”
B) “And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.”
C) “Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth”
D) “Each changing place with that which goes before”
E) “In sequent toil all forwards do contend.”
6) The rhythm is a consistent iambic pentameter (5 feet of iambs-- _ /). However,
there are two lines where this rhythm is broken. In the following, what is the
line where the rhythm is not iambic pentameter?
A) Line 1
B) Line 13
C) Line 6
D) Line 7
E) Line 2
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