Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The audience in this sonnet is the speaker's lover, though the thoughts are penned in solitude rather than spoken to the lovers' face.

It is not until line 10 that we see redemption for the troubled speaker. In the opening lines, he is miserable: 'When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes/I will all alone beweep my outcast state."

Continuing on in this self-deprecating vein, he wishes (line 5-8) to be "...one more rich in hope/Feathered like him, like him with friends possessed,/Desiring this man's art, that man's scope." Here, the speaker feels envious of people with better prospects.

But when things look most dim, "Happly, I think on thee..". When he thinks of the lover, he feels that he could not "change my state with kings."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial