This the way Shakespeare recalls his best Friend.

Sonnet 30: When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought

William Shakespeare

Poem Text

When to the sessions 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:

Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,a

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,

And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,

And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight;

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.


This is a sonnet number 30 penned by William Shakespeare. The poem is a remembrance in which the poet is offering like an obituary to his friend named ‘W.H.’ who has recently passed. This is one of the best examples of Shakespearean sonnets. The first three quatrains are arising problems and in the last couplet is giving solution.     

Quatrain 1 - Rhyme Scheme - ABAB

When to the sessions 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:


When to the sessions this phrase refers the time when the poet remembers his past friend who has gone beyond the reach of time means have died. There also arises the memories of things that have lost somewhere in the past or the things which the poet could not achieve in his life. He feels pain for many things, which he wanted to own but could not due to any reason. Moreover, these old memories waste his time when he wants to pay his time to his dear friend.   

Quatrain 2 - Rhyme Scheme - CDCD

Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,a

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,

And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,

And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight;


Here in this second quatrain, the poet expresses his grief over the long-lost friends. Unintentionally his eyes wet. He has lost many precious friends in dateless night literally, which means death from which nobody comes back. 

Quatrain 3 - Rhyme Scheme - EFEF

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.


Then poet feels agony in his heart he grieves like never before over the things he has already grieved. One by one all the stories come into his mind. He felt as if he had never grieved before like this time. 

Couplet - Rhyme Scheme - GG

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.



In this couplet, the poet overcomes his grief when he recalls his dear friend. He thinks that whenever he remembers his friends all his thoughts of the past forgone. According to him, God has consoled him by giving him memories of so loving friends. All the things restored refer that memories of his dear makes him rather bear all the problems. 

Iambic Pentameter

A poetic meter consisting of a line with five feet in each of which the iamb is dominant. Pentameter is a line of verse with five metrical feet, each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable.

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