HOW LIKE A WINTER
The season of winter has a few connotations. It can either represent the physical season or the emotional season. In this instance, winter refers to the emotional season experienced by a couple. Shakespeare uses phrases that represent the physical season of winter to describe the time two people have spent apart.
How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
The harshness of the physical season is the only thing to describe what it's been like to be away from each other. Even though for them individually, it has been a summer and autumn - time to learn and grow. Yet, despite they spent away from each other is in anticipation of summer, as the birds that once were lively, singing always, are anticipating the draw of winter, again.
And, thou away, the very birds are mute;
Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.
Voicing: SSATBB, a cappella