The second quatrain, which is closely linked to the first through the abba rhyme scheme, turns the criticism of Death as less than fearful into praise for Death’s good qualities. From Death comes “Much pleasure” (line 5) since those good souls whom Death releases from earthly suffering experience “Rest of their bones” (line 6). Donne then returns to criticizing Death for thinking too highly of itself: Death is no sovereign, but a “slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men” (line 9); this last demonstrates that there is no hierarchy in which Death is near the top. Although a desperate man can choose Death as an escape from earthly suffering, even the rest which Death offers can be achieved better by “poppy, or charms” (line 11), so even there Death has no superiority.
A great number of parallels can be drawn between the imagery of sonnet 73 and that of the other sonnets, which makes this an interesting example of the consistency of Shakespeare's symbolism and figurative language. The passing of the seasons was encountered in sonnet 18: "And summer's lease hath all too short a date." We also saw the sun as a metaphor for human life in sonnet 60, although there we followed its development from birth to maturity whereas here in quatrain two it has already begun to die. Finally, the image in the third quatrain of a fire being "Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by" reminds us of a line from sonnet 1: "Feed'st thy light'st flame with self-substantial fuel." Note the two instances of color symbolism in sonnet 73, also with referents in other sonnets: yellow is used in sonnets 17 and 104 as the color of age or passing time, while black is used repeatedly throughout the sonnets to symbolize the "other," that which is sinful or dreaded.