07 April, 2008

The Bard

So, Shakespeare this week. Fella wrote 154 sonnets, but I was a bit pushed for time this week, so I stuck with one, and I decided to make it a crowd-pleaser;
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is His gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's 18th sonnet is probably his most well-known, by first line alone. It's pretty pleasing to learn verse that itself promises it will last "so long as men can breathe," almost making myself complicit to Shakespeare's promise of immortality to his subject.

Reading Shakespeare's poetry more widely was hard to start with; the immediate appeal of this one is its familiarity, which allowed me to get straight in there. But I found some others that I really liked, and I shall be returning to Shakespeare (I've long felt I should know more about his plays, besides). If only for his place and reputation as the foundation of english literature as we know it.

"Shakespeare's Sonnets" was an invaluable source.

This week I'm hoping to dip more frequently into WH Auden, who's already a bit of a favourite.

No comments: