Apr 23, 2014

Shakespeare---let's celebate his 450th birthday...

...and repost our piece about his 18th sonnet:

(So, it starts:)

Since we are a literature blog now, we have to do serious stuff, like posting some serious pictures, like. Like this one...

Tyson Beckford
...which brings to mind Shakespeare's 18th sonnet...


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:
Sometime 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. 


...(you don't want to look at the HTML code underneath)...

...but you might want to look at this clip, eternalizing David Gilmour, the singer of Pink Floyd, when he set the sonnet to his music, because that's what aging rock stars, like us, do, when, they, have, their, reflective, moments...





...and judge yourself.

Hold on, here are a few pointers to Sonnet 18:

1. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
May was a part of summer in Shakespeare's days because the calendar in use lagged behind the true sidereal calendar by at least a fortnight.
2. Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
The youth's beauty is more perfect than the beauty of a summer day, like, etc.
3. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
buds == flowers
4. And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Legal terminology. The summer holds a lease on part of the year, but the lease is too short, and has an early termination (date).
5. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
The eye of heaven == the sun.
6. And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
"His" refers to the sun, its complexion dimmed by the English weather.
7. And every fair from fair sometime declines,
Difficult. Man eats dog, entropy nibbles at beauty.
8. By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed
Probabilistic ontology (Alex, in  The Doorbell Rings).
9. But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
...because, as we will soon see, literature immortalizes its subjects by immortalizing itself...
10. Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
...idem, plus, the guy is really hot == fair (as a noun) == beauty, ow'st == ownest, possess, and by metonymy we understand 'nor shall you lose any of your beauty'...
11. Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
...even after your death...
12. When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
in eternal lines == in the undying lines of my verse...
to time thou grow'st - you keep pace with time, you grow as time grows...
13. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
...forever, almost...
14. So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
... how long these verses will live, celebrating you and continually renewing your life. 

 (Adapted from  Shakespeare's Sonnet Site). You try so hard to be funny, and you don't really succeed, but in the meantime you dispense some useful wisdom.

One more thing. Write a novel, see the world, in the sense that you have to learn things you never knew, like the name, or the construction principles, of harp bridges. Write a blog post, and you have to spend more than the 3 minutes that the average reader spends on a Shakespeare sonnet according to the Guiness Book of Averages (something wrong with the last sentence but never mind).

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