Sonnet 66

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Sonnet 66

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly doctor-like controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.

–William Shakespeare

Sonnet 66 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It's a member of the Fair Youth sequence, in which the poet expresses his love towards a young man.


Sonnet 66 is a world-weary, desperate list of grievances of the state of the poet's society. The speaker criticizes three things: general unfairness of life, societal immorality, and oppressive government. Lines 2 and 3 illustrate the economic unfairness caused by one's station or nobility:

As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,

Lines 4-7 portray disgraced trust and loyalty, unfairly given authority, as by an unworthy king "Gilden honour shamefully misplaced", and female innocence corrupted "Maiden virtue rudely strumpeted". Lines 8, 10, and 12, as in lines 2 and 3, characterize reversals of what one deserves, and what one actually receives in life.

As opposed to most of his sonnets, which have a "turn" in mood or thought at line 9, (the beginning of the third quatrain (See: Sonnets 29, 18) the mood of Sonnet 66 does not change until the last line, when the speaker declares that the only thing keeping him alive is his lover. This stresses the fact that his lover is helping him merely survive, whereas sonnets 29 and 30 are much more positive and have 6 lines in which they affirm that the lover is the fulfillment of the poet's life.


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