Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sonnet XXVII (27)

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head, 
To work my mind, when body's work's expired:
For then my thoughts (from far where I abide) 
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee, 
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide, 
Looking on darkness which the blind do see: 
Save that my soul's imaginary sight 
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night, 
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
   Lo, thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
   For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.
4. To work my mind. To set my mind at work; or, my mind begins to work. 

6. Intend. Direct onwards. 

7. My drooping eyelids. My eyelids, which otherwise would fain close in sleep. 

8. Which the blind do see. Equally with those whose eyesight is not impaired. 

10. Thy. Q. gives "their" instead of "thy," probably from a misunderstood abbreviation. Shadow. Image, as elsewhere. 

11, 12. Like a jewel, &c. Romeo and Juliet, Act i. sc. 5, lines 47, 48, has been compared:
"It seems she hangs upon the cheek of nightLike a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear."
13, 14. There must be a change of order to give the sense; and then we have, "By day, my limbs for myself; by night, my mind for thee, no quiet find."

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