Episode 64

Shakespeare, Sonnet 29


September 22nd, 2023

19 mins 51 secs

Season 6

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About this Episode

In episode 64, we talk about Shakespeare's sonnet 29, a poem about comparison and competition, leading the poet almost to despise himself before, by chance, he remembers his dear friend and is lifted by the deep joy of that relationship.

We link our discussion to present-day concerns about social media, the Surgeon General's warning about an epidemic of loneliness in this country, and a long-term Harvard study of happiness. Links below.

Here is the poem:

Sonnet 29

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 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.

Links to the Surgeon General's Warning about Social Media


Various Links on the Harvard Happiness Study





Episode Links