Shakespeare on Memories, Nostalgia and Regret

 when to the session of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance“When to the session of sweet silent thought,
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste….”

(Sonnet 30)

Tips for Use.   Unsurpassed words to express that curious mixture of rising memories, nostalgia, melancholy, regret and remorse  when we meditate on the past, especially our past.  Particularly the memory of those times when we thought that the present could be anything but eternal. You can use the first two lines to introduce your description or narration of a noteworthy memory or the quote in its entirety to sound a melancholy note about lost time and happier times gone by. Good lines to start or dedicate a memories book or similar.
The theme of this sonnet is common across languages and cultures. For example, Victor Hugo in his poem “Paroles sur la Dune” says,
“Comme le souvenir est voisin du remord !
Comme à pleurer tout nous ramène !
Et que je te sens froide en te touchant, ô mort,
Noir verrou de la porte humaine !

(How a memory is close to remorse!
How memories bring us to cry
And I feel you cold to the touch, o death,
Black lock of the human portal)
Mildly lugubrious but realistic.

All entries on this site are derived from the book “Your Daily Shakespeare”. It contains 1390 pages identifying over 10,000 daily situations. Each situation directs you to one or more Shakespearean repartees, comments, and answers. Repartees, comments, and answers that will get you on the stage or at least out of the water – besides making you a regular winner of verbal contests. “Your Daily Shakespeare” has been described as the most unusual, useful and unique book of Shakespearean quotations. Nothing similar exists or has ever existed.
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The sonnet.  Says one literary critic, (Michael Snyder), “Sonnet 30 is an oddity for its lack of auxesis. …(Auxesis = a rhetorical term for a gradual increase in intensity of meaning with words arranged in ascending order of force or importance). You students of classical Greek, the term comes from  αὐξάνειν, auxanein, “to grow”. The language of this sonnet is most commonly associated with the character of the beloved who does not come in until the sonnet’s final couplet. The simplistic form needs little glossing to understand and is in very apparent contrast with the rest of the sonnet. This contrast makes the turn more effective; it magnifies the importance of the beloved, turning the character into redeemer rather than simply a lover.”

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