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Shakespeare’s SONNET 28: Full Poem With Meaning and Message

Written By Monika Soni
Last updated: September 26, 2023

Sonnet 28, one of William Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, offers readers an intimate insight into the bard’s personal emotions and contemplations on the dichotomy of joy and sorrow. Like many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, it delves deep into the human psyche, weaving a tapestry of emotion, reflection, and profound thought.

In our discussion, we will embark on an analytical journey, exploring the intricate structure of this 14-line poem, its careful selection of meter and rhyme, and its placement within the larger narrative of the Shakespearean sonnet sequence. We will also seek to unearth the message and theme encapsulated in this piece, diving into its layers of meaning and its portrayal of the struggles of the human soul.

Delving into its date of composition will provide context, offering a window into the period of Shakespeare’s life when he penned these evocative lines. As with all of Shakespeare’s works, Sonnet 28 is a testament to his timeless genius and unparalleled understanding of the human condition.


The poem is an interesting commentary on eternity and a glimpse into Shakespeare’s understanding of love during Elizabethan times.

SONNET 28 Full Poem

How can I then return in happy plight,
That am debarred the benefit of rest?
When day’s oppression is not eas’d by night,
But day by night and night by day oppress’d,
And each, though enemies to either’s reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me,
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day, to please him thou art bright,
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven:
So flatter I the swart-complexion’d night,
When sparkling stars twire, not thou gild’st the even.
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer,
And night doth nightly make grief’s length seem stronger.


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 is a passionate poem that speaks to the power of love in spite of hardship. The speaker begins by describing his loneliness and his unending longing for the object of his affection, noting how every waking hour he spends in solitude feels like an eternity.

From there, he reflects on the beauty of nature around him, conveying how its vibrancy helps to assuage some of his grief. The poem ultimately ends on a hopeful note with a reminder that love conquers all, even during times of despair and sorrow.

Ultimately, this sonnet serves as a powerful testament to the healing power of love and hope in difficult life situations.


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 conveys the message that love conquers all, even during times of suffering and difficulty. Despite the speaker’s loneliness, he acknowledges the beauty around him, finding solace in how nature serves as a reminder of hope and joy.

Ultimately, this poem is a powerful reminder that no matter how desperate the situation may feel, one can always find strength and solace in love. This poem speaks to us centuries later with timeless wisdom that reminds us never to give up on love, even in moments of despair.


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 is made up of 14 lines in the form of iambic pentameter, which is a type of meter that consists of five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables per line.

The poem follows the typical structure of a Shakespearean sonnet, with three quatrains followed by a couplet to close out the poem.

The speaker begins by conveying his loneliness and despair in Quatrains 1 and 2, while Quatrain 3 speaks to nature’s power to assuage his grief.

Finally, the closing couplet serves to reinforce the poem’s ultimate message: Love conquers all, no matter how desperate a situation may seem.

Date of Composition

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 was likely Published in 1609 during the later period of his sonnet writing.

The exact date is unknown, but scholars have theorized that it may have been written in response to an event that happened during this time period.


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 theme is the power of love to overcome all obstacles and challenges. The narrator begins by describing his own loneliness and despair but soon acknowledges the power of nature to assuage those feelings.

In the closing couplet, however, he recognizes that it is ultimately love that has the ability to conquer all.

Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 conveys an appreciation for the beauty and power of nature in its ability to lift the narrator from his despair.

In the poem, he describes how the sun, sea, and stars bring him relief, but it is not until the closing couplet that he acknowledges that love surpasses even nature’s wonders. In this regard, Sonnet 28 serves as a reminder of the importance of love in life.

Religious nature

Despite being written more than four hundred years ago, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 still carries a spiritual message of the power of love. The poem speaks of nature as a source of solace and appreciation for its beauty but ultimately concludes that it is only through love that all hardships can be overcome.

In this way, the sonnet serves as an eternal reminder of the beauty and importance of religious faith.


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 was inspired by the Renaissance and its fascination with nature. While it may not be obvious from a modern perspective, this sonnet describes the power of nature to lift people from despair and bring them joy.

The poem also remarks on the superiority of love over all else, as it is only through unconditional love that we can find true relief from suffering.

In Poetry and Popular Culture

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 has had a lasting impact on poetry and popular culture over the centuries. It is one of the most widely-quoted sonnets in literature, inspiring many modern poets to write about similar themes of love and nature.

The poem has also been referenced in television shows, films, songs, books, and other works of art throughout the years, serving as a testament to its enduring relevance.

Also Read: 10 Famous William Shakespeare Quotes Of All Time


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 28 is a poem that reflects on the power of nature and love to bring joy and lift people from suffering. It praises the superiority of love over all other things, as it can offer us solace even in times of desperation.

The poem has been referenced and quoted throughout the centuries, making it one of the most iconic works in literature.

Charles Eames

Monika Soni is a passionate writer and history enthusiast who joined the FindingDulcinea team in July 2023. With a deep love for both ancient and political history, she brings a unique perspective to her articles, weaving together narratives that captivate and educate her readers. Monika holds a B.Sc. degree from the esteemed Govt. College of Girls, Panchkula. When she's not diving deep into historical research, Monika enjoys exploring local museums and historical sites. Her commitment to bringing history to life makes her a valuable asset to the FindingDulcinea community.

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