|image caption||Sonnet 29's first two lines, from the 1609 quarto|
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
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 hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
The poet begins the sonnet by discussing their state as an outcast, which makes them terribly unhappy. They are so unhappy they have been crying out to Heaven for help, but get no relief from their situation. The poet curses whatever cruel fate has gotten them into this life.
The poet wishes desperately for a change in their fortune, desiring to be someone else. They almost hate themselves for this desire, though.
However, when the poet remembers the person that they love, they feel so happy that they wouldn't wish to be another person, even a king.