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,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
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 remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29
Sonnet 29 has been my favourite sonnet since I was in my secondary school’s university prep English courses. I’ve always loved Shakespeare, truth be known. I love poetry. I don’t like it when people force rhymes, and my choice of poetic weapon is free verse poetry. While I love the use of iambic pentameter, it’s not the be all and end all.
In particular this sonnet has always struck close to home for me because it starts out with the subject basically doing what we all do now – sitting there going “I wish I had so-and-so’s talent for [insert here]” or “I wish I looked like [insert celeb of choice here]”, thinking of how crappy their lives are.
Then, looking at their loved one, they realize they are blessed, and that blessing, it makes them not want to change their place with the royals. I mean, that’s pretty damn awesome.
There are people who say Shakespeare and English Literature should go the way of the dodo in teaching. I disagree. While the methods that bring it to the people need to change, it’s still as relevant as always.