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A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 34: ‘Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day’

A reading of a Shakespeare sonnet

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 34 continues the marvellous heights of Sonnet 33, and is similarly worthy of close analysis and discussion, not least because this sonnet, beginning ‘Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day…?’, continues the sun/cloud imagery introduced in the previous sonnet.

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery 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 speak,
That 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 relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds. Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 33: ‘Full many a glorious morning have I seen’

A reading of a classic Shakespeare sonnet

‘Full many a glorious morning have I seen’: Sonnet 33 is, without doubt, one of the more famous of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. It also introduces the first real note of heartbreak into the sequence: Shakespeare, it would appear, has been dumped by the Fair Youth. The imagery of Sonnet 33 is worth analysing carefully – it has led to some curious alternative interpretations of this poem.

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 32: ‘If thou survive my well-contented day’

A reading of a Shakespeare sonnet

Sonnet 32 sees Shakespeare musing upon his own death. What if he were to die, and later poets come along with better poems for the Fair Youth? This is the starting-point of our analysis of Sonnet 32, in which the Bard discusses love poetry in a self-conscious way.

If thou survive my well-contented day,
When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bett’ring of the time,
And though they be outstripped by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O! then vouchsafe me but this loving thought: Read the rest of this entry