In this sonnet, the poet conveys a theme of grief as he meditates on past woes and losses but is ultimately comforted by the thought of a “dear friend” (13). The pensive poet reflects upon memories of the past, causing him to regret his failure to achieve all that he wanted. With old woes recalled, he grieves over having wasted precious time. He then weeps, although he seldom does normally, for dear friends who have died and are lost to death’s eternal night. He cries once more over former love’s heartache that has long since healed and laments the loss of faded memories and loved ones.
He continues to grieve over past griefs and sadly recounts his woes with a heavy heart. This sad remembrance causes him to grieve as if he had never done so before, despite the fact that he has. A shift in the poem occurs in line 13 and ends with a touching statement as the poet remembers a dear friend, perhaps a lover, while grieving. At the thought of this friend, all of the poet’s losses are compensated and his sorrows come to an end. Shakespeare uses alliteration such as “sessions of sweet silent thought” (line 1) and “old woes new wail my dear time’s waste” (4).
Imagery of the poet’s sorrow is portrayed with the use of words such as ”sigh”(3), “new wail”(4), “drown an eye”(5), “weep afresh”(7), “moan”(8), “grieve at grievances”(9), “heavily”(10), “sad”(11), and “fore-bemoaned moan”(11). This sonnet begins in a peaceful, pensive tone and seems as though the poet is choosing to dwell and mourn of over past events that he has grieved for before. This gives him some degree of control over his grieving and may even suggest that he finds pleasure in doing so.