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Sonnet 29(1609)

William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
MeterWhen, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
MeterI all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
MeterAnd trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

Note on line 3: The mid-line trouble here may be trod, it’s true, with a dactyl in the 3rd foot and an iamb in the 4th, where 4B4V specifies a trochee and an anapest. Six of one, half a dozen of the other: OK. But the dactyl is an exotic creature in English metrics; the trochee is the falling foot of choice, and should be preferred when all it costs is a cheap anapestic substitution.

And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
MeterAnd look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
MeterWishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
MeterFeatured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
MeterDesiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,

Note on line 7: Scanning this line right obliges us to disregard the rule of thumb that says monosyllabic nouns take stress. This comes clear once you understand that “this man” and “that man” mean no more as individuals than do the fellows in our colloquialism nowadays about this, that, and the other guy. In both cases it’s “this” and “that” that take the stress.

With what I most enjoy contented least;
MeterWith what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
MeterYet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee–and then my state,
MeterHaply I think on thee–and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
MeterLike to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
MeterFrom sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
MeterFor thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
MeterThat then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Rhyme
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