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The speaker in this sonnet is going through a rather difficult time. He finds life literally unbearable, and sees it as one long catalogue of disasters after another. This is made clear through the opening line's description of life as "lyke-dying," where life is seen as being so terrible that it is one long death characterised by endless suffering. The speaker says that it would be better to die at once rather than to endlessly suffer the kind of tortures that vindictive life delights on visiting upon him. However, the sonnet changes its tone when the speaker begins to think and suspect that life might show him "grace" eventually:
But yet if in your hardned brest ye bide
A close intent at last to shew me grace,
Then all the woes and wrecks which I abide,
As meanes of blisse I gladly wil embrace;
If this is the case, the speaker wishes that his difficulties might actually be exacerbated so that his enjoyment and pleasure at finally receiving life's grace might be made all the more profound as a result. It is the hope of eventual grace that keeps the speaker enduring in this struggle of life, and keeps him stoical in the face of more and more disaster.
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