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Sonnet 73 is the third in a series of four sonnets that all talk about the demise of the poet, general aging, and death. The words "yellow leaves" also seem to allude to the "papers, yellowed with their age," included in sonnet 17. He also uses a lot of weather imagery to create a sense of dying or dreariness.
Sonnet 73 bears the most similarities in form as well with those other sonnets in the series. Sonnet 97 also uses a similar method of using the seasons to express the passing of time, a conceit Shakespeare uses frequently. Overall, in our discussion we felt that sonnets 74 and 97 had the most similarities with 73.
I would summarize sonnet 73 as such:
In me, you can now see the ending of a year,
With yellowing leaves on the trees,
whose branches shake in the cold
where the birds used to sit and sing.
You can see in me the darkening of the sky,
the sunset that fades as it turns dark.
Death puts sleep on everyone.
My life is also a fire,
where the ashes are the youth I used to have,
Just like the death-bed, my life taking over what it used to be made of,
You understand this, which makes your love stronger,
To love well, which you will soon have to leave.