9 lines of despair then 5 of exaltation in love and friendship. I enjoy the turn at the end of this very simple poem.
Jumpstarting (and applying a prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation to) my writing aspirations the last three (!) years, especially the last two, definitely has me engaged in the typical carping of hopeful artists caught in the throes of enthusiasmos/manqué anxieties. "How can THAT person be successful? Ugh, such mediocrity in the agora!" Yes, my annoying artist side engages in conspicuous use of Greek terms even more often than French.
by William Shakespeare
When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate,
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
"Desiring this man's art" I take as a mix of envying another's accomplishment and salesmanship (or saleswomanship), not so much the substance of the work. And those who find creating art a refuge relate to often being unsettled and grouchy about it: "what I most enjoy contented least".
The objects of the Sonnets shift between a Dark Lady to a handsome young man. Shakespeare's sonnets to the young man reach greater heights. While there is a romantic reverie at the end here, this poem sums up much about how I feel about friends I have known and those in the present. I am fortunate in friends, and while envy of celebrities and other artists kicks in frequently, in times of even light reflection the burdens of fame and the coteries that form around it look annoying as hell. Glad for my friends and the people I love. I'm content to keep them instead of being like, say, Kevin Federline digging on his own song "PopoZão". Federline surely had "friends" telling him this song was great. Ye gods, this moment from 2006 is golden: