A reading of Shakespeare’s sonnet
Sonnet 35 develops a theme, or strand, within the Sonnets which Shakespeare had begun in Sonnet 33, and then elaborated on in the previous sonnet. In this sonnet, we find out the reason the Fair Youth has cooled in his affection towards Shakespeare: his ‘trespass’ or transgression is a ‘sensual fault’, suggesting that the Fair Youth has had sex with another man (or a woman). Because it opens up a new aspect of the relationship outlined in the Sonnets as a whole, Sonnet 35 is worth analysing a little here.
No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud:
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense,
Thy adverse party is thy advocate,
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence:
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
That I an accessary needs must be,
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me. Read the rest of this entry
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
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