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William Shakespeare, Sonnet xxx

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear times' waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, [*]
And weep afresh love's long-since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight. [*]
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.


line 6: Dateless: endless, having no certain time of expiration. [ Back to text ]

line 8: If we understand expense to be used as analogous to passing away, there is no difficulty in this line. What we expend is gone away from us; and so the poet moans the expense of many a vanished sight. Malone thinks that sight is used for sigh; but this is certainly a very strained conjecture. [ Back to text ]

Most notes to Shakespeare's sonnets are from Charles Knight's edition, but those in square brackets are mine.