Shakespeare’s Sonnet no. 30 and Proust

My blog will soon introduce you to Proust’s seven books long novel À la recherche du temps perdu 1 so I think it’s fitting to let you read Shakespeare’s sonnet no. 30 which contains the title of Proust’s work. Proust chose the title from this very sonnet because he thought it summed up everything his novel is about. After reading the sonnet myself; I think he was pretty right. It does fit the proustian mood.

Sonnet 30

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, unused to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since canceled woe,

And moan th’ expense of many a vanished sight.

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

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

All losses are restored and sorrows end.

Marcel Proust

  1. English variations of the title: “In Search of Lost Time” or “Remembrance of Things Past”. 
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