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Sonnet 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,
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.
— William Shakespeare

6 Comments

  1. Zack Anderson Post author | December 26, 2018

    Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.
    — Titus Andronicus (“When Goths were Goths and Tamora was queen…”)

  2. mitch December 25, 2018

    Tell Wm don’t give up his day job. His sonnets are opaque.

    • Bruce McEwen December 26, 2018

      Maybe it’s just the archaic language you’re having trouble with. See if this quick-fix update helps you grasp The Bard’s meaning.

      No. 29 (modernized)

      It’s a hard and lonely road I travel on
      Nobody knows you when you’re down.
      And when for a loan to God I call upon.
      He turns the volume on his cell phone down.
      At times like this I could almost wish
      I was someone else, with a better income.
      Look at all the friends around that rich bish!
      But do I really want to be what he’s become?
      To give up my calling and turn to money grubbing?
      Tempting thought, though it would cost my self-respect
      And when I think of who’s elbows I’d then be rubbing,
      I’m glad I took a moment or two to sit here and reflect
      Before I wished away all my worth and what it cost
      In trade for some phony fellow’s fame and ersatz frost.

      • Bruce McEwen December 26, 2018

        After a touch of the blue pencil, we have a slightly smoother version; but remember The Bard spent years — as opposed to a few idle moments — polishing Sonnet 29:

        It’s hard and lonely, the road I travel on;
        Your credit score so sux when you’re down!
        And when for a loan to God I call upon.
        He turns the volume on his cell-phone down.
        It’s times like this I could almost wish
        To upgrade the bracket of my income.
        Look at all the friends around that rich bish!
        But do I really want to be what he’s become?
        To give up my calling and turn to money grubbing?
        Tempting, but the risks are ruinous to my self respect,
        And when I think of whose elbows I’d then be rubbing,
        I’ll be glad I took a moment or two to sit here and reflect
        Before I wished away my real worth, and all it cost,
        In trade for some phony fellow’s froth and ersatz frost.

        • Bruce McEwen December 26, 2018

          Before I wished away my worth and all it cost
          In trade for some other fellow’s froth and frost.

          Well, you can overwork it, I suppose.

          • Bruce McEwen December 26, 2018

            “Let’s put the knives away before we whittle our lives away….!”

            –Grandpa McEwen’s Tzarietest Epigrams, for sale this coming spring….

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