Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
LXVI. The tone of melancholy, which has been previously heard, especially since lix., now attains a greater intensity, and we have a pessimism which has been compared to that of Hamlet. The poet sees in the world and the arrangements of society so many things abnormal and awry, that, in his weariness and loathing, he cries
out for death, though unwilling to leave his friend.
1. Tir'd with all these, i.e., such things as those which follow.
2. As. As, for example. Desert a beggar born. Real merit and worth
suffering the disqualification of an abjectly mean origin, and restrained
3. This line probably refers to what is commonly described as "keeping up an appearance."
4. Unhappily forsworn. Through the pressure of circumstances (as
seems likely) in an evil world.
5. Gilded honour shamefully misplaced. Cf. Ecclesiastes x. 5, 6, "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler. Folly is set in great dignity." &c.
6. Rudely. Either of physical force, or of the recklessness of slander;
but the latter sense would seem to agree with the next line.
8. Strength by limping sway disabled. Describes the injury inflicted by
an incompetent and feeble government.
9, 10. In these lines there seem to be allusions to universities and their
technical phraseology. This view accords with the use of doctor-like, and
line 9 (where art will denote "learning") may be taken to refer to
opinions obnoxious to those in authority being forbidden to be expressed
12. This is a climax. Evil is a victorious captain, with Good as a captive
attending to grace his triumph.
How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. Ed. Thomas Tyler. London: D. Nutt, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/66.html >.
Thoughts on Sonnet 66 ... "We have spoken of Shakespeare's Elizabethanism or Conservatism in politics, his
acquiescence in the main with things as they had been established by law and custom; but
there are wonderful contrary touches. This surely is one of them. Society, we see, did
not seem to Shakespeare all right, but in many things sadly out of joint. His selection of the
forms of social wrong that shock him most is very remarkable, and not least his pointed
reference to those that came most home to himself in his capacity of thinker, writer, and
dramatist." (David Masson, Shakespeare Personally, p. 203)
Points to Ponder ... Hamlet's passionate first soliloquy (line 129) provides a striking contrast to the controlled and artificial dialogue that he must exchange with Claudius and his court. The primary function of the soliloquy is to reveal to the audience Hamlet's profound melancholia and the reasons for his despair. In a disjointed outpouring of disgust, anger, sorrow, and grief, Hamlet explains that, without exception, everything in his world is either futile or contemptible. His speech is saturated with suggestions of rot and corruption, as seen in the basic usage of words like "rank" and "gross", and in the metaphor associating the world with "an unweeded garden." Read on...