This is a short summary of Shakespeare sonnet 34. 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.
Shakespeare Sonnet 34 ORIGINAL TEXT
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous dayAnd make me travel forth without my cloak,To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,Hiding thy brav’ry in their rotten smoke?‘Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face.For no man well of such a salve can speakThat heals the wound and cures not the disgrace.Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss.The offender’s sorrow lends but weak reliefTo him that bears the strong offense’s cross.Ah, but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,And they are rich, and ransom all ill deeds.
Shakespeare Sonnet 34 MODERN TEXT (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 34 Analysis
He asks the sun why it promised him “why didst thou promise” into thinking the day would be sunny making him travel without a cloak “travel forth without my cloak,” when actually the sky was overcast “clouds o’ertake me” and the sun was hidden by ugly clouds “thy bravery in their rotten smoke?”
It isn’t enough that the sun shines through clouds “not enough that through the cloud” to dry up the poets face wet from rain “rain on my storm-beaten face,” because that is no consolation where man can be satisfied with a balm “such a salve can speak” that heals a wound without taking away the disgrace “heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace:”
He says his friend’s shame cannot relieve his sadness “shame give physic to my grief” because even if he asks forgiveness “though thou repent” the poet has already been hurt “yet I have still the loss:” and that an offender’s sadness “offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief” does nothing to take away the pain “him that bears the strong offence’s.”
But then he says he must forgive his friend because when he cries, his tears are like a pearl “tears are pearl” which are also like riches that make up for bad deeds “rich and ransom all ill deeds.”