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 cancelled 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.
That if you wallow in regrets, resentments, or self-pity, you will never be free of them. It is a debt to the past which can never be fully paid, since you will have to pay it over and over again. But if you forgive those "debts" and think on past or present joys, instead, all losses are compensated for, and sorrows end. And that, by the way, is the meaning of the line from the Lord's Prayer that says "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Just because we want or need something from somebody doesn't mean they owe it to us.
Which I new pay as if not paid before
in remembering sadnesses from the past, Shakespeare feels like he is suffering again as if for the first time, even though he experienced all the pain before
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