Sonnet 29

William Shakespeare

Edited by Jack Lynch

The copy-text is Shake-speares Sonnets Never Before Imprinted (London, 1609). I’ve regularized the use of i and j, u and v, but have otherwise preserved the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of the original. The notes are my own.

When in disgrace with Fortune and mens eyes,
I all alone beweepe° my out-cast state,° lament — situation
And trouble deafe heaven with my bootlesse° cries. pointless
And looke upon my selfe and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one° more rich in hope, wishing I were more like one
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possest,
Desiring this mans art, and that mans skope,
With what I most injoy contented least,
Yet in these thoughts my selfe almost despising,
Haplye° I thinke on thee, and then my state,° by chance — situation
(Like to the Larke at breake of daye arising)
From sullen earth sings himns at Heavens gate,
    For thy sweet love remembred such welth brings,
    That then I skorne to change my state° with Kings. situation


Featur’d like hime
That is, having features like him.
A notoriously complicated word. Here it probably means “Skill as the result of knowledge and practice” (SOED).
Another tricky word. It probably means “The reach or range of a person’s mental activity or perception; extent of view, sweep of outlook” (SOED).
The adjective is usually applied to people, in which case it means “characterized by gloomy ill humour; morose”; here it seems to mean “dismal, melancholy” (SOED).