Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Previous Sonnet

   Sonnet 107

a bright, racy, intelligent book - Terry Eagleton

Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess: Here Shakespeare refers to Essex's successful raiding of Cadiz and consoles Southampton for Queen Elizabeth not having invited him to partake of the expedition.  Doubtless this sonnet, written on fair, good parchment, was sent to Southampton House with a proud seal on the cover - spear, falcon.  Helmet and the motto 'Non Sans Droict'.  Not without right and not before time.

a useful reference book

The Rough Guide to Shakespeare by Andrew Dickson: Many think this sonnet refers to the death of Elizabeth in 1603 and the arrival of her successor, James.

A controversial book but a good read

Shakespeare Revealed, a Biography by René Weis: the phrases 'mortal moon' and 'her eclipse' have been widely read as references to the Virgin (and hence lunar) Queen on 24th March 1603; but there are equally good reasons for dating it to the mid 1590's when Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer's Night's Dream", in which he compares the Queen to the moon, and plays with lunar images. The inspiration for his lunar play could be found in the lunar eclipses of 24th April and 18th October 1595.

a cornucopia of a book
Read by Claire Marchionne
Please click
to listen

A. L. Rowse in his Shakespeare's Sonnets writes: Queen Elizabeth has come through an eclipse, a threat to her: as indeed she had in the winter of 1593-4 with the Lopez conspiracy.  Dr. Lopez, her personal physician, was found to be in correpondence with Spain with the idea of poisoning her, and he was executed in the spring of 1594.  Lines 7-8 refer to the end of the long religious wars in France, which had lasted during Shakespeare's lifetime, with the submission of Paris to Henri IV in March 1594 and the achievement of peace.

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control, 
Supposed as forfeit to a confin'd doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assur'd,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time,
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,
Since, spite of him, I'll live in this poor rime,
While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes:
  And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
  When tyrants' crests and tombs of  brass are spent.

Next Sonnet: 108

Introduction to the Sonnets

Home Page

We recommend::