I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deal 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 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.
2) What are three things the speaker wishes for?
3) When the speaker thinks of the person to whom the sonnet is addressed, how does his attitude change?
4) How would you describe the mood of the first eight lines and of the last six lines?
5) Why is the comparison with the lark an appropriate one for the speaker to make?
6) How do the last two lines summarize the theme of the sonnet?
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
2) To what time of day does the speaker compare himself?
3) What comparison does the speaker make in the third quatrain?
4) How does the speaker resemble the three things to which he compares himself?
5) In the "bare ruin'd choirs" of line 4, the word choirs refers literally to the loft where church singers perform. What does it mean as Shakespeare uses it here?
6) Explain the meaning of "Death's second self."
7) How does the thought in the final couplet relate to the rest of the sonnet?
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. I
f this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
2) To what is love compared in the second quatrain?
3) What are the points of similarity between true love and the North Star?
4) The speaker notes that “Love's not Time's fool." What does he mean and how does this idea fit in with the central theme of the sonnet?
5) Ordinarily, the final couplet in a Shakespearean sonnet offers a summary or solution. This final couplet is a bit different. What point does it make about the content of the rest of the sonnet?
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
2) "Sonnet 130" is often called an anti- Petrarchan sonnet. What do you think is meant by "anti-Petrarchan"?
3) There are indications even before the final couplet that the speaker loves his mistress despite her supposed imperfections. What is one such indication?
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell
I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell.
Ding, dong, bell.
2) Where does the reply to the two questions place the origin of fancy?
3) The word fancy is central to the meaning of the poem. It means "love," to be sure, but a superficial kind of love-a love based only on outward appearances. Why is this distinction important?
4) What is it that helps fancy flourish?
5) Why do you think the speaker says that fancy dies in the cradle?
6) What does it mean to "ring fancy's knell"?
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding:
Sweet lovers love the spring.
Between the acres of the rye,
This carol they began that hour,
And therefore take the present time,
2) To what do lovers compare life?
3) Why do you think springtime is called "the only pretty ringtime"?
4) What recommendation about love is made in the last stanza?
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Fear no more the lightning flash,
No exorciser harm thee!
2) What will happen to young lovers?
3) In the last stanza, what do the three concerns mentioned have in common?
4) Judging by the things the deceased no longer has to fear, what status in life do you think she held?