Shakespeare Sonnet 29, When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes

Shakespeare Sonnet 29


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This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 29. Continue reading for complete analysis and meaning in the modern text. For the complete list of 154 sonnets, check the collection of Shakespeare Sonnets with analysis.
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heav’n with my bootless cries,
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,
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 remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Shakespeare Sonnet 29 Analysis

The poet is in total depression saying that when he meets with misfortune “disgrace with fortune” and is disgraced in eyes of men, “men’s eyes” he will weep alone “alone be weep” and cry out to heaven who is deaf to him “deaf heaven with my bootless cries,” and he will feel self pity and curse himself “and curse my fate”.

He will wish “wishing me” he was a man who had more hope “one more rich in hope” and wish to be like those “featured like him” who are handsome and have more friends “him with friends possessed,”. Wishing that he possessed another man’s skills “desiring this man’s art,” or someone else’s opportunities “that man’s scope,” which things he wants yet doesn’t have and that makes him unhappier “what I most enjoy contented least;”

But in spite of hating himself, “thoughts myself almost despising,” he thinks of his love “I think on thee” and those thought uplift his heart like a lark in the morning “lark at break of day” who flies up as if to sing at the gates of heaven “hymns at heaven’s gate;”

He says thoughts of his love bring him emotional peace which he compares to wealth “sweet love remembered such wealth brings” and that he would not wish to exchange such a state with the material wealth of kings “scorn to change my state with kings.”

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