Much like most of his poems and literary works of art, Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXIX evokes distinctive tones of humanity in each line, and in the extent of the poem by way of the knowing and unrelenting instance of defeat. This sentiment is established and made clearly evident in the opening lines, which starts: “When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state… ” and articulated further in “… and trouble the heaven with my bootless cries, and look upon myself and curse my fate. ” Not surprisingly, such instance and sentiments of defeat and anguish are captured vividly in Shakespeare’s poetry.
But as with any and every point and instance of despair and dejection, hope exists to contrast, and perhaps negate the evils of the former. This shift in tone and sentiment is affirmed beautifully in the lines, “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 hymn’s at heaven’s gate. ” culminating in the couplet, “For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings, That then I scorn to change my state with kings. ”
Shakespeare, or the persona speaking as the narrator in Sonnet XXIX speaks of a feeling of defeat and dejection owed to a “disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes. ” He proceeds to expound and indulge in this particular sentiment, one inherent to humanity and people’s existence on the planet. While indulging and articulating sentiments of defeat, and in the middle of the sonnet, the narrator, it would seem, would be blessed with an epiphany, a revelation which would shed light on an otherwise entirely gloomy take on existence, and the lyrical documentation of it.
This optimistic reflection would begin, “Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, haply I think on thee… ” It breaks into the misery and negativity that was almost consummated, almost set and etched in the proverbial stone; but that in turn is all it has become: ‘almost’ — “myself almost despising, haply I think on thee” encapsulates the instance of salvation, that the person writing the poem has a chance to be saved, and has probably been. Saved from misery, despair and dejection, and saved from himself.
This sudden shift in the course of optimism and apparent salvation is rendered in lyrical metaphors, the writer comparing hope and his spirit, “like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth, sings hymn’s at heaven’s gate;” closing the sonnet ultimately by pronouncing “for thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings/That then I scorn to change my state with kings. ” The poem ultimately speaks of a low point in one’s life, of ‘weeping’ and ‘crying’ and ‘despising’ and ‘cursing’ oneself and one’s fate, but the instance of hope and the prospect of being saved from such misery is as real, tangible, and most importantly, available.
Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress Marvell’s poem, despite what the title connotes, speaks not of being coy, or taking one’s time when it comes to matters of love: its dance, rituals and the consummation of it, but of seizing the limited time every mortal person has, and using it to pursue what intrinsically matters to humanity, the lust for love and life. Marvell makes use of interesting references, metaphors and word choices.
He phrases lines in such a way that they would begin to talk of one thing, but at the whole and extent of it, will come to mean another, he begins the poem with a line appealing to a lady, “Had we but World enough, and Time/This coyness Lady were no crime. ” He proceeds to imply that such courtship would only be suitable if mankind and humanity weren’t as ephemeral, expounding on this particular sentiment by writing, “We would sit down, and think which way/ To walk, and pass our long Loves Day/ Thou by the Indian Ganges side/ Should’st Rubies find: I by the tide of Humber would complain.
I would/ Love you ten years before the Flood: And you should if you please refuse/ Till the conversion of the Jews. ” He proceeds to pepper the extent of the poem with such historical references which were at the time relatively contemporary or novel since Marvell lived in the 1600s. His delightful use of words and metaphors, nonethless, is able to transcend time and generation. As evident in lines which run, “My vegetable love will grow/ Vaster than empires, and more slow. ” and “But at my back I alwaies hear/ Times winged Charriot hurrying near:/ And yonder all before us lye/ Desarts of vast Eternity.
It is a poem anchored in lyrical beauty and the sublime. Although the poem’s theme and ‘seize the day’ philosophy is of significant importance, the form with which it is approached, the colorful choice of words, the metaphors, the medium with which it chooses to indulge in, refuses to be dismissed as ordinary and begs to be read aloud. Both Shakespeare and Marvell’s literary pieces succeeds in evoking the intended sentiment from its readers because far from the usual share of feelings and sentiments, what ultimately matters in poetry is not what you feel or what inspires you, but how you write it.