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Sonnet 27: Weary With Toil, I Haste Me To My Bed

Rating: 3.6

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear respose for limbs with travel tirèd;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body's work's expirèd.
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,
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Fabrizio Frosini 12 February 2016

Sonnets 27-30 are fairly meditative and quiet, exploring the traditional themes of sleeplessness, separation, bad fortune and sorrowful reminiscense. Here the poet reflects on how thoughts of the beloved keep him awake, and even in darkness the image floats before him, like a jewel hung in ghastly night, making the face of night beautiful. Thus by day the poet is made weary by toil and travel, and by night rest is denied him, for he has to make journeys in his mind to attend on the loved one, who is far away. This is the traditional theme of the sonneteers, echoing Sidney and others, who recount how they were stricken by being separated from their beloved. See for example the sonnet from Astrophel and Stella given at the bottom of this page. No doubt Shakespeare was conscious of these references to other loves in other circumstances, and one suspects that part of the richness of his own sonnet writing is that he is gently poking fun at all that has been written before on the theme of the haggard lover's wakeful weariness. shakespeares-sonnets.com/

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Fabrizio Frosini 12 February 2016

1. Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed, The toil is either daily work, or the toil of travel, mentioned in the following line. travel, l.2, was frequently spelt travail, and there was little differentiation between the two words. 2. The dear repose for limbs with travel tired; This seems to imply a journey, as also do 48,50 and 51. The end of the journey would, as often as not, be a bed at an Inn. Travel was not easy, over roads full of potholes, crumbling bridges, and with the possibility of robbery being not too remote. The only practicable form of transport was on horseback, as sonnets 50 & 51 show. Here a similar journey away from the youth seems to be described. 3. But then begins a journey in my head I.e. a mental journey to visit his beloved, now that the physical journey of the day is completed. 4. To work my mind, when body's work's expired: To work my mind = which keeps my mind active and toiling, when body's work's expired = when bodily toil is completed. 5. For then my thoughts- from far where I abide- from far where I abide = far away from you, from where I am staying currently 6. Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee, Intend a zealous pilgrimage = start off on a journey. To intend a journey, meaning to commence or undertake a journey, was common parlance, deriving ultimately from Latin iter intendere. Pilgrimages were undertaken by the faithful in Shakespeare's day as acts of devotion, involving long and tedious travelling, often on foot, or horseback, for several weeks, to visit some holy shrine. Chaucer's pilgrims in the Canterbury tales were on horseback, but their journey was to take many days. There is nothing which corresponds to the experience in today's world of easy travel, and for Shakespeare's contemporary readers a zealous pilgrimage was a work of devotion lasting several weeks or months. zealous = earnest, passionate, devoted. 7. And keep my drooping eyelids open wide, drooping eyelids = eyelids heavy with sleep.

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Brian Jani 26 April 2014

Awesome I like this poem, check mine out

1 3 Reply
Egal Bohen 03 February 2006

Extraordinarily beautiful description of visualization in contemplation

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