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William Shakespeare
The Sonnets




Sonnet XXIX (29)

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.




Sonnet XXIX (29)
(Modernised with Notes)

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, (1)
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,(2)
With what I most enjoy contented least; (3)
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on you, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;(4)
For your sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings. (5)

NOTES

(1) When times are hard (I'm out of favour with fortune) and men (people) look down on me, when I'm all alone I weep for my outcast state, and I cry to God (heaven) who does not seem to hear me.

(2) I look at my life, I curse my fate, and I wish I was like someone who has more hope, more friends, a certain talent, and more freedom.

(3) With what I most enjoy I am contented least.

(4) But when I have these thoughts, these thoughts that almost make me despise myself, I think of you, and thinking of you makes my soul sing like a lark at the break of day.

(5) For remembering your love gives me such a wealth that I would not want to trade places with a king.



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