Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sonnet LXVI (66)

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly doctor-like controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.


1. Tir'd with all these, i.e., such things as those which follow. 

2. As. As, for example. Desert a beggar born. Real merit and worth suffering the disqualification of an abjectly mean origin, and restrained by penury. 

3. This line probably refers to what is commonly described as "keeping up an appearance." 

4. Unhappily forsworn. Through the pressure of circumstances (as seems likely) in an evil world. 

5. Gilded honour shamefully misplaced. Cf. Ecclesiastes x. 5, 6, "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler. Folly is set in great dignity." &c. 

6. Rudely. Either of physical force, or of the recklessness of slander; but the latter sense would seem to agree with the next line. 

8. Strength by limping sway disabled. Describes the injury inflicted by an incompetent and feeble government. 

9, 10. In these lines there seem to be allusions to universities and their technical phraseology. This view accords with the use of doctor-like, and line 9 (where art will denote "learning") may be taken to refer to opinions obnoxious to those in authority being forbidden to be expressed and published. 

12. This is a climax. Evil is a victorious captain, with Good as a captive attending to grace his triumph. 

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