Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,The dear repose for limbs with travail tired;But then begins a journey in my headTo work my mind, when body’s work’s expired.For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,Looking on darkness which the blind do see.Save that my soul’s imaginary sightPresents thy shadow to my sightless view,Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.Lo thus by day my limbs, by night my mind,For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.
Shakespeare Sonnet 27 Analysis
The poet says he is tired from work “weary with toil” and must go to bed “me to my bed,” which is the best place to rest his limbs “repose for limbs” tired from traveling “travel tired;” but after lying down, his mind begins to wander “journey in my head” and travel when the physical body cannot “when body’s work’s expired:”
Then his thoughts begin to travel and though he is far from his love, “thoughts – from far where I abide” his thoughts reach there like a pilgrimage “zealous pilgrimage to thee,”. It is such thoughts that keep him from sleeping “drooping eyelids open wide” They stare blankly seeing nothing “Looking on darkness” like a blind man “which the blind do see:”
Except for his imagination “soul’s imaginary sight” that can see his love “Presents thy shadow” in his mind even as his eyes see nothing “my sightless view,”. He compares his love to a shining jewel in the night “jewel hung in ghastly night” making it look beautiful “black night beauteous” and young again “her old face new”
And because of this during the day his body is filled with longing “by day my limbs,” and at night his mind can’t stop thinking about his love “by night my mind,” giving him no peace during day or night “for myself, no quiet find.”