This sonnet is narrated by a man whose emotions are completely at the mercy of another. Its theme involves the vulnerability of the narrator’s disposition and the power of love. Just when he reaches the lowest point of his depression, the addressee of the poem enters his mind and cures him of his misery. Shakespeare cleverly uses a recurring theme of heaven to help portray the broader theme of the poem. In describing his helplessness, he writes, “I trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. . .” Here, “bootless” is used to represent the futility of his “cries,” or prayers to heaven. The diction, however, is extremely important in this context. The word “bootless” is also worthy of notice because it represents the hindrance of motion, since it literally means without boots, and without boots, it may become difficult to walk. This is contrasted later with an image in which the narrator likens his soul’s uplifting to “the lark at break of day arising.” Though the lark sings from “sullen earth,” its song goes straight to heaven. The reader may interpret the word “sullen” as “a gloomy ill humor,” “producing a dull, mournful tone,” or “moody silence,” as seen from the NED. The latter two definitions are more applicable to our discussion; they define the contrast between the mournful tone or the silence of the earth and the bright song of the lark. In the same way the lark’s song is unfettered, when the narrator thinks about this person, his state “sings hymns to heaven’s gate.” Whereas before, in his dejected state, his prayers were futile and motionless, now his prayers are mobile, and, therefore answerable. The image of the lark is common in Shakespeare’s works. Indeed, in act three, scene five of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers are speaking of whether the song they have just heard was that of the nightingale or that of the lark. Romeo replies to Juliet, “It was the lark, the herald of the morn. . .” Therefore, the lark al…
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