Vocabulary in Sonnet 29

Vocabulary Examples in Sonnet 29:

Sonnet 29 9

"arising..."   (Sonnet 29)

Like “state,” the meaning of “arising” mixes the spiritual and physical world. One can “rise” in fortune, rank, or sleep. It can also metaphorically signal a “rising” out of depression or similar dejected mental state. “Arises” in this line blends all of these images to equate the ebbing movement of all desires in this poem: the speaker’s desired objects or states are all subject to rising and falling.

"rich in hope,..."   (Sonnet 29)

Figuratively, “rich” indicates the comparatively large amounts of hope other men have. That hope can refer to gain in any number of fields: status, skill, friendships. But the literal definition of “rich” injects a connotation of wealth as the hoped-for object.

"my state..."   (Sonnet 29)

In this metaphor, the speaker imagines his “state,” rather than his unchanging love or self, singing praises to his lover. The repetition of “state” destabilizes the claims of the poem because state is never fixed and constantly changing. This suggests that the speaker’s mind is less at ease at the end of the poem then he would have his audience believe.

"bootless ..."   (Sonnet 29)

“Bootless” means hopeless or useless. It invokes connotations of poverty and a lack of material possessions. In characterizing his “cries” to heaven as “bootless,” the speaker suggests that his cries go unheard because they are poor, impoverished, or lacking. This claim is slightly ironic, however, as the Christian tradition believes that a lack of material wealth makes a person more pious and close to God. Despite the spiritual backdrop of poverty equating to piety, the speaker’s lack of material or social wealth does not afford him any religious salvation. As will become clear later in the poem, he sees the love object as redemptive.

"my state..."   (Sonnet 29)

The repetition of “state,” meaning both mental state and one’s social rank, demonstrates the speaker’s changing nature and the underlying tension between the physical world and the spiritual world.

"contented least..."   (Sonnet 29)

“What I most enjoy” here means the speaker’s ability to create poetry; even his poetry does not offer him solace. The form of this line reflects the content as “least” resolves “possessed” with an unsatisfyingly weak rhyme.

"state..."   (Sonnet 29)

“State” here refers to both the speaker’s mental state and his social status or rank. This could suggest that the speaker’s social rejection is a result of or fabrication in his mind.

"Fortune..."   (Sonnet 29)

“Fortune” here may denote wealth, suggesting a state of literal poverty. “Fortune” may refer to the “Rota Fortunae” or “wheel of fortune,” a conception of fate popular in Roman and medieval Europe. The wheel symbolizes the fickleness and unpredictability of fate. As the wheel turns, one can experience sudden shifts in circumstance, whether it be a blessing or a hardship. From this perspective, one can see the poem’s events as tracing the wheel’s turn from low to high.

"disgrace..."   (Sonnet 29)

“Disgrace” in this context evokes both religious and political meanings. To fall from grace in God’s eyes is when one’s sinful nature casts them out of an Edenic state. In a political context, it means to lose one’s position of favor, generally though an impropriety that causes the Queen to take away titles or privileges. The speaker uses this word to show that his faults have made him fall out of both social favor and moral character.