Ok, this is the last of Shakespeare for the month. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll try to find something more contemporary for next week. This sonnet is maybe less well-known, but it’s very sweet and wistful (or maybe bitter?) once you figure it out. This is one of those sonnets where the overall point is communicated in the last two lines. Sometimes it helps to read those first, and then read the rest of the poem. Also, sonnets often set up expectations in the first stanza and contradict them (while developing the idea further) in the second. If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night far from the one you love, maybe you can relate to this poem.
Is it thy will thy image should keep open
My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken
While shadows like to thee do mock my sight?
Is it thy spirit that thou send’st from thee
So far from home into my deeds to pry,
To find out shames and idle hours in me,
The scope and tenor of thy jealousy?
O no, thy love, though much, is not so great.
It is my love that keeps mine eye awake,
Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,
To play the watchman ever for thy sake.
For thee watch I, while thou dost wake elsewhere
From me far off, with others all too near.