When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
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 possess’d,
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 remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Is it just the iambic pentameter that soothes me? The associations I have with memorizing this sonnet in grad school, when I identified with it so? How delicious it is to read Shakespeare out loud, to feel the words in my mouth, gliding, pausing, tumbling forth? Damn, that’s poetry.
“Song of the Lark,” by French Realist Painter Jules Breton, 1827-1906