Sonnets for Advent 10: Sonnet 29

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Photo: travellingbirder.blogspot.com

Today’s sonnet is read by Professor Stanley Wells C.B.E., Honorary President of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

It’s the poem which he likes to say first made him aware of Shakespeare’s greatness.

About a year ago Stanley and I co-wrote a close-reading of Sonnet 29 for a book of essays dedicated to Shakespeare Sonnet scholar and close-reader, Professor Stephen Booth. The collection has just been published by the Arden Shakespeare. It’s called Shakespeare Up Close

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’.

Find out more about Shakespeare’s Sonnets via our free on-line course www.gettingtoknowshakespeare.com

Listen to the same sonnet being read by a student at the University of Tubingen by clicking here.

You might like to treat yourself to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s own, exclusive edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, edited by Stanley Wells, and beautifully printed by Oxford University Press. Find out more by clicking here.

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson

Download a free book written by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells about Shakespeare, Conspiracy & Authorship. Download the Book.