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William Shakespeare
The Sonnets




Sonnet XXX (30)

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.




Sonnet XXX (30)
(Modernised with Notes)

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past, (1)
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste: (2)
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,(3)
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight: (4)
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before. (5)
But if the while I think on you, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end. (6)



NOTES

(1) In silent solitude I recall (remember) the past. "Session" means sitting of a court. Like witnesses are summoned to a court, Shakespeare summons up his memories.

(2) I sigh for not having many of the things I wanted, and sadly regret all the time I have wasted.

(3) Then I cry, when I am not used to crying, for my dead friends.

(4) I cry all over again for things that happened a long time ago, and I weep for all the things I have loved and lost.

(5) I grieve for past griefs, go over and over past wrongs in my mind, and I weep for them as though I had not weeped before.

(6) But if I think of you, dear friend, then my wrongs are righted and my sorrow ends.



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