National Poetry Month, day 24: The Bard of Stratford-on-Avon

William Shakespeare was supposedly born right around this day: his actual date of birth is not known, but his baptism date is. Shakespeare was baptized April 26, 1564–if in fact that is his real name!!!

Um, sorry about that. We’ve recently watched Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile and I’ve got Hercule Poirot on the brain.

I wouldn’t dream of trying to add anything to the centuries of wit, wisdom, and yes, some wackiness that’s been written about a man who was quite possibly the single greatest writer in the history of the English language. I’ll just get out of his way and let him do his own communicating.

Here is the Sonnet No. 2.

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

Why did I choose the Second Sonnet, as opposed to the first? Well, I wanted to start at the beginning, and the copy of the sonnets that I used for reference (a book called  Shakespeare for Lovers) actually got the first two sonnets exchanged! This one was listed as the Sonnet #1, so when I went to look up the Sonnet #1 to make sure I’d read it right (Shakespeare really thinks the person to whom he is speaking should go get themselves a baby!), I discovered a different sonnet than the one I’d read. But now I’ve got it straightened out.

I hope the rest of the book is in correct order….


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