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Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 29
by William Shakespeare

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.

Analysis: In form, a Shakespearean sonnet, of course: rhymed ABABCDCDEFEFGG, written in iambic pentameter. This sonnet is one long sentence. The first eight lines set forth the general situation in a conditional sense: "When I am alone and unhappy with my lot in life, envying others and wishing things were different than they are", and the volta or turn comes in the ninth line with the word "Yet": "At those times, I chance to remember you, and thinking about you, my spirits rise." The final couplet concludes "Because when I remember you and your love, I feel so blessed that I would not trade places with a king."

If you're so inclined (and trust me, you ought to be), you can watch and listen to Matthew Macfadyen performing this poem here (in his lovely, deep voice):

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( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
Beautiful...thank you for sharing!
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Isn't that gorgeous? (Did you watch/listen to Mr. Macfadyen? He's got such a yummy voice.)
(no subject) - robinellen - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellyrfineman - Jun. 17th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
Love wrought these miracles.
Love give me strength! and strength shall help afford.
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Re: Love wrought these miracles.
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Lovely indeed. Um, I think I could listen to him read Shakespeare all day. *swoon*
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
I am pretty positive I could listen to him read the phone book and be completely enchanted.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
You're welcome. (I created the index by clicking on June 1st on the calendar and then simply selecting "Next Entry" repeatedly, so there's that way to read them as well.)
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Oh, sweet mercy - MATTHEW MACFADYEN FOR THE WIN!!! I think I'm going to have to track down the DVD this is from.
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
I didn't even notice there was a DVD. I just knew it was from a BBC thing. Must look into that myself!
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh. He's absolutely perfect.
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
Isn't he lovely? His voice is great, and the way they gave the poem interpretive context was brilliant, I thought.
(no subject) - kimberleylittle - Jun. 17th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
La Sigh
I am unable to hear this at work, but will definitely listen at home. This poem has always been one of my absolute favorites...the opening line is a real winner.

I hate to admit to the love of this cheese but....Ron Pearlman read this on a Beauty and the Beast soundtrack cd and he did a lovely job of it as well. :)
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: La Sigh
You mean this?

He does a lovely job, but Matthew Macfadyen's deep voice remains my preference.

Edited at 2009-06-17 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: La Sigh - wyckedgood - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kellyrfineman - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Amen - wyckedgood - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
I need to print this one out and post it for those bad days at work. What a wonderful pick-me-up.
Jun. 17th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
"Haply I think on thee . . . " *swoon*
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
I love this sonnet. I had not heard it before, but now I am bewitched. Thanks, too, for the video link. brilliant.
Jun. 17th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
A beautiful man with a bewitching, beautiful voice performing a lovely poem is perfection, or close to it.
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
Ughgngngng. *melts*
Jun. 17th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
Cool! Of course, I just now got this, and so have missed it. But still - I'm glad I've got everyone on Shakespeare high alert!
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Ack- this is beautiful... thanks, Kelly! MM is gorgeous and he reads this so well- a beautiful sonnet...
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
I was going to post the sonnet anyhow, but I'm glad I decided to see if YouTube had anything related to it - Alan Rickman does a wonderful version of Sonnet 130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"), but it's audio only. I completely hit the jackpot with a Macfadyen performance of this one!
Jun. 18th, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
I'm coming to this late, but just wanted to do my fair share of swooning over the sonnet and Matthew's reading. Love the turn/shift and could truly feel the narrator's spirit rise in the final lines. :)
Jun. 18th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
For me, the real turn comes at "haply I think on thee", and not truly at the "Yet", which is still preamble I think.

I adore this poem, and was thrilled to find Matthew Macfadyen's performance of it. I love his voice anyway, but that voice + that poem = WIN!
Jun. 20th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
Coming to this *very* late, but this is the Shakespearean sonnet closest to my heart. I memorized it years ago for a class, and somehow every word of it has stayed with me -- a touchstone and a comfort in dark times. But I never thought to look for it on YouTube! Thank you for a gorgeous reading.
Jun. 21st, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
I love this poem as well. I was pretty sure I posted it once before, but I didn't find it when I searched my "sonnets" tag. I probably should have searched using my "Shakespeare" tag instead, but I knew it would pull up an awful lot of posts. Must learn to search my blog using Google - I know it can be done.

This poem is brilliant. And Matthew Macfadyen's reading of it is brilliant as well, I think. I'm glad you liked it.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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