Notes for Shakespeare's Sonnet 28


1. How can I then return in happy plight, / That am debarr'd the benefit of rest? : —These opening lines refer to the previous sonnet, in which the poet declared that he never got any rest because he toiled all day and stayed awake thinking of his beloved all night. plight: state.

6. shake hands: seal a compact.

7. complain: make me complain.

9-10. I tell the day, to please him thou art bright / And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven: i.e., to flatter the day, I tell him that you, my beloved, shine bright in your beauty only to help him out when it's dark and cloudy.

11-12. So flatter I the swart-complexion'd night, / When sparkling stars twire not thou gild'st the even: similarly I flatter the dark-complexioned night by telling him that when the stars aren't out you light up the evening.