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Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is a book written by William Shakespeare. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great novel will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is a book written by William Shakespeare. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great novel will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by William Shakespeare is highly recommended. Published by Quill Pen Classics and beautifully produced, Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music would make an ideal gift and it should be a part of everyone's personal library.


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Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is a book written by William Shakespeare. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great novel will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is a book written by William Shakespeare. It is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great novel will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by William Shakespeare is highly recommended. Published by Quill Pen Classics and beautifully produced, Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music would make an ideal gift and it should be a part of everyone's personal library.

30 review for Sonnets on Sundry Notes of Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII (abridged) You're hot. But not as hot as this poem. Shakespeare's Sonnet CXVI (abridged) I'll love you even when you are sixty four Or my name's not Heather Mills. Shakespeare's Sonnet XCIV (abridged) Stay cool man. Peace. Like, flower power, y'know?

  2. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review William Shakespeare wrote hundreds of sonnets over three decades, mostly from the 1580s through 1610. I'm assuming most everyone has read a few of his sonnets, given they are usually required reading in high school. There is something to love in every single one of them. There is something to be confused at in every single of them. No one can deny his talent. Whether you enjoy rhymes or prefer just the beauty of the words, the lines definitely create images in your mind of what Book Review William Shakespeare wrote hundreds of sonnets over three decades, mostly from the 1580s through 1610. I'm assuming most everyone has read a few of his sonnets, given they are usually required reading in high school. There is something to love in every single one of them. There is something to be confused at in every single of them. No one can deny his talent. Whether you enjoy rhymes or prefer just the beauty of the words, the lines definitely create images in your mind of what he's writing about. Love, pain, anger, frustration, beauty, sadness... it's all there. I enjoy them because it's a momentary breath of something new and different. I'm not much into poetry, though I find at times, it's the best reading of all... when you see a full character and his/her thoughts and actions in as little words as possible. Everyone should read a few, find the grouping that work for you, and just get lost in the words for a few hours. See if it makes you think differently about things. It gets a 3 because as good as they are, they are still short poems that sometimes hit the mark and sometimes do not -- so while there are a few that warrant a 5, there are as many than warrant a 1. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    This is my favourite Shakespeare sonnet: Sonnet 29 When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possessed, Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, (Like to the lark This is my favourite Shakespeare sonnet: Sonnet 29 When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possessed, Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, (Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate; For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings. The poetry is beautiful. It is so sad and full of melancholy, as the speaker laments his place in life and the greed of the state. He is poor and miserable whilst Kings exist in luxury and splendour. Heaven doesn’t answer. God doesn’t care. The speaker is depressed as a lack of money is associated with a complete lack in richness of feeling and attitude. Emotional bankruptcy is the feeling the sonnet captures with such splendour. And I love it. But then, to make it better, it reverses in on itself in the final few lines. The speaker remembers his love and conquers his jealously. He remembers his love for his “state” which is a pun on the idea of nation. He remembers his love for his king and his lord and realises that such wealth will not bring the fulfilment he seeks. In these few lines is a powerful journey, a journey of discovery and truth. It’s an incredible piece of writing. And here's a version of it sung by the very talented Rufus Wainwright: Sonnet 29 So that’s my favourite sonnet and there’s many beautiful examples in here of how incredible poetry can be. Simply put, it doesn’t really get any better than this. FBR | Twitter | Facebook | Insta | Academia

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alok Mishra

    Shakespeare has almost become synonymous to drama, we all know the fact. However, the lyrical quality that he was born with (even his life was lyrical, wasn't it?) bestowed immense poetry to his plays and perhaps, those plays led to the sonnets we are singing even today. Is there any sonnet sequence in the world which is as popular as Shakespeare's is? I don't think so. Academic people may debate upon the authenticity and ramifications of the sonnets' interpretation, but the people who love Shakespeare has almost become synonymous to drama, we all know the fact. However, the lyrical quality that he was born with (even his life was lyrical, wasn't it?) bestowed immense poetry to his plays and perhaps, those plays led to the sonnets we are singing even today. Is there any sonnet sequence in the world which is as popular as Shakespeare's is? I don't think so. Academic people may debate upon the authenticity and ramifications of the sonnets' interpretation, but the people who love literature and lover poetic pieces will keep enjoying the writing and extract pure pleasure out of the pure poetry produced by Shakespeare in his sequence. Amazing!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    Less notorious than his plays, Shakespeare’s sonnets assimilate a secret map with hidden clues that lead to precious treasures. The intimate, even confessional tone of the 154 rhymes urges the eager reader to believe that the poetic voice is The Bard himself, who playfully volunteers the key to unlock the mysteries of his heart. And yet… Do the sonnets tell a coherent story? If they do, is this story real or fictional? The fact that Thomas Thorpe, a poet, editor and admirer of Shakespeare, and Less notorious than his plays, Shakespeare’s sonnets assimilate a secret map with hidden clues that lead to precious treasures. The intimate, even confessional tone of the 154 rhymes urges the eager reader to believe that the poetic voice is The Bard himself, who playfully volunteers the key to unlock the mysteries of his heart. And yet… Do the sonnets tell a coherent story? If they do, is this story real or fictional? The fact that Thomas Thorpe, a poet, editor and admirer of Shakespeare, and not the author himself published this collection casts a shadow over the present order of the sonnets and their ostensible story line. Are they the product of literary artifice or the purest expression of the poet’s sentiments and his personal experiences? Allow me to reply with another question. Does it really matter? The audacious imagery, the staggering metaphors, the musical alliteration, the ironic polysemies, the utter mastery of the language bursting into florid fireworks and the universality and relevancy of paramount themes such as the passage of time, the impending oblivion that comes with death and the convoluted nature of love constitute the invaluable legacy of the poet on their own. Everything else is mere speculation, but as per usual, Shakespeare teases with ambiguous piquancy as shown in Sonnet 144, which summarizes the main “plot” of the anthology in 4 stanzas: “Two loves I have of comfort and despair, Which like two spirits do suggest me still; The better angel is a man right fair, The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.” A love triangle that consists of a “fair man”, a “dark woman” and the poet himself divides the sonnets in two noticeably different sections and presents a subversive approach to the foundations of courtly love employed by medieval troubadours because the “Muse” that stimulates inspiration seems to possess an adrogynous essence. Personal pronouns shift from verse to verse and the poet’s self-awareness plays an active role in the exulted display of emotions that becomes a faithful mirror for the complex gradation of the affairs of the heart. A prolongued meditation on the ethos of beauty and platonic love is interwoven with anguished cogitation about the inexorable passage of time that might wither the beloved’s blooming youth but never his élan-vital, which is immortalized in the poet’s writing: “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.” Sonnet 18. Whereas the “fair knight” awakens tenderness, blind adoration and the purest expressions of affection in stanzas that are replete with natural imagery and astute analogies of daily life scenes, the “dark lady”, addressed only in the last 28 sonnets, disturbs the poet with her unchaste promiscuity and adulterous love. The transcendental undertone of the former sonnets fades away leaving space only for satire, sexual lust and aggrieved reproaches. The harmonic features of the male lover contrast with the sensuously dark eyes of the woman, which lure the poet into debauchery and temptation against his wishes. Lies, deception ad cynical rebuffs are the highpoints of the puns and wordplays in the last sonnets. The language becomes merely explicative, if also prodigiously lucid and accusatory, and loses the hiperbolic flamboyance of the opening sonnets. “The expense of spirit in a waste of shame Is lust in action; and till action, lust Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust, Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight, Past reason hunted, and no sooner had Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait On purpose laid to make the taker mad; Mad in pursuit and in possession so; Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme; A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe; Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream. All this the world well knows; yet none knows well To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.” Sonnet 129. Ironically enough, both lovers, fair man and dark woman, remain anonymous while the true identity of the poet has created havoc for centuries and his works continue to unleash passions among all kind of readers around the world. Shakespeare lives on in his words. In their suggestive rhythm, in their polifacetic meanings, in their musical texture. Shakespeare’s poetry delves deep into the abysses of the human psyche, into the labyrinthine jumble of irrational, desperate love, into the stinky gutters of conscience, jealousy and betrayal, and still, he winks back with a lopsided smile and restores the magic of humanity in a single couplet: “For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold That nothing me a something sweet to thee: Make but my name thy love, and love that still, And then thou lovest me for my name is 'Will.' ” Sonnet 136. Miracles do not seem mambo-jumbo after reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, and art becomes magic, for divine providence is evinced stanza after stanza and my will submits to Will’s power...Subjugation was never sweeter!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Sonnets, William Shakespeare Shakespeare's sonnets is the title of a collection of 154 sonnets by William Shakespeare, which covers themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man; the last 28 to a woman. Sonnet 1 Sonnet 1 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is a procreation sonnet within the Fair Youth sequence. From fairest creatures we desire increase, That thereby beauty's rose Sonnets, William Shakespeare Shakespeare's sonnets is the title of a collection of 154 sonnets by William Shakespeare, which covers themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man; the last 28 to a woman. Sonnet 1 Sonnet 1 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is a procreation sonnet within the Fair Youth sequence. From fairest creatures we desire increase, That thereby beauty's rose might never die, But as the riper should by time decease, His tender heir might bear his memory: But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes, Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel, Making a famine where abundance lies, Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel: Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament, And only herald to the gaudy spring, Within thine own bud buriest thy content, And tender churl make-st waste in niggarding. Pity the world, or else this glutton be, To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه آگوست سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: غزلهای شکسپیر؛ ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: بهنام مقدم (م. رها) ؛ شرح اشعار: محمد همایون وش؛ تهران، نقش و نگار، 1380، در 207 ص؛ شابک: 9646235115؛ موضوع: شعر کلاسیک انگلیسی ترجمه به شعر فارسی سده 17 م تویی ارباب عشق و بنده ام من؛ به لطفت بنده ای پاینده ام من فرستم شاهد شعرم به سویت؛ نه باهوشم، برایت زنده ام من ولی با شعر ناچیزم چه گویم؛ که در توصیف تو درمانده ام من ولی شاید تو دریابی سخن را؛ به امید تو و آینده ام من ... ا. شربیانی

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Ever intimate in tone, Shakespeare's sonnets reflect upon the relationship between love and power, in addition to considering the many forms attempts to ward off oblivion might take. Most of the sonnets are addressed to the so-called Fair Youth (1-126), some to the Dark Lady (127-154), but all the sonnets share strikingly similar thematic and formal concerns, to the point at which the two sequences read as variations on the same set of topics. So many of the sonnets express simple thoughts, but Ever intimate in tone, Shakespeare's sonnets reflect upon the relationship between love and power, in addition to considering the many forms attempts to ward off oblivion might take. Most of the sonnets are addressed to the so-called Fair Youth (1-126), some to the Dark Lady (127-154), but all the sonnets share strikingly similar thematic and formal concerns, to the point at which the two sequences read as variations on the same set of topics. So many of the sonnets express simple thoughts, but Shakespeare's melodic language and inventive metaphors make them pleasurable to read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    For we which now behold these present days, Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise. This Pow’rful Rhyme Eternal Tennyson is famously to have declared Shakespeare 'greater in his sonnets than in his plays'. While the reader who might not soar as easily along the paths described by these Sonnets would find the comparison absurd to a degree, he/she would also have to admit that they understand the sentiment behind Tennyson’s blasphemy. Some of the sonnets are so well-crafted and consists For we which now behold these present days, Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise. This Pow’rful Rhyme Eternal Tennyson is famously to have declared Shakespeare 'greater in his sonnets than in his plays'. While the reader who might not soar as easily along the paths described by these Sonnets would find the comparison absurd to a degree, he/she would also have to admit that they understand the sentiment behind Tennyson’s blasphemy. Some of the sonnets are so well-crafted and consists of such unexpected imagery that they can leave one breathless at their majesty and imagination. Indeed, some of them are eloquent and eternal invocations of love at par with the best love poetry - just as his romances and tragedies that outrage conventions are the best in their genres! Even when he departed from most conventional expectations of poetry, Shakespeare was still able to leave his imprint on the very sonnet form itself. That should tell us how important these sonnets really are to literature. The form is now called ‘Shakespearean Sonnets’, and to do that centuries past the invention of the sonnets as a form is also an achievement that defies imagination. The Chatter of the Critics Now we come to the depressing aspect: critical discussion on these, some of the best love poetry in the language, unfortunately centers more on historical speculation than on philosophical or aesthetic appreciation. Most of the introductions and critical commentary that accompany the sonnets focus on a biographical excavatory project, mining the sonnets for information, leaving behind tired mounts in their wake. Scholarship have been tragically been too sidetracked on this issue - away from the heart of poetry to its scholarly peripheries where readers might not want to accompany them. I wish some of these elaborate commentaries and footnotes that accompany almost every word of these sonnets were focussed instead on how the poems should be interpreted personally by the reader! Imagine if all poems were disassociated from the reader and read purely from a historical perspective of the author’s love-life or forensically on figuring out who it was addressed to - poetry would lose much of its universality! The problem is that we know so little biographic detail of Shakespeare and the Sonnets provide a tantalizing prospect to scholars. The question ‘when, and to whom was this written?’ is one which the poems repeatedly invite their readers to pose, and which they quite deliberately fail to answer. Of course he may not even have wanted his sonnets to be printed; there was, after all, an interval of approximately fifteen years between composition and publication, which makes the sonnet’s poet an unreliable narrator at best - we have no clue what the sonnets were intended for. And speculations/recreations of the ‘Drama of the Sonnets’ have shown almost as much inventiveness as we might expect in Shakespeare himself! Were they select poems sent to a single lover? Are they a collection of poems sent to many lovers, subject changing with each sonnet? Were they compositions made to amuse his friends or visitors, to impress them with his mastery? Were they lonely exercises of genius, indulged on to pass the time of the depressing Plague years? We really do not know. And knowing nothing, we still prefer to stumble about and tarnish the beauty of the poetry by wild surmises! That is tragic. As I said, the sonnets are tantalizing and they keep teasing the reader to make meaning out of them. At times they seem to build up a body of recurrent structures and preoccupations, and even a narrative of sorts, even shaping itself around possibly real events. And then it seems not to. A story converges from the lyrics, and then it vanishes. Instead, the reader should accept that the sonnets are so heavily patterned that almost any form could be seen in it - they are like the clouds, you only need to have enough enthusiasm and imagination to mould them to yourselves. Through all this however, and throughout, the ‘voices’ of the Sonnets appear in all their intricacy and dramatic power, resisting any simple reading. Shakespeare begins his sonnets by introducing four of his most important themes - immortality, time, procreation, and selfishness and then plays them off against each other: Sonnets of abject praise generate undertones of irony and criticism; Sonnets of abject depression generate undertones of hope and eternity; Sonnets of worldly criticism generate undertones of the exalted nature of poetry; Sonnets singing boasts about the power of poetry generate undertones of fear of mortality - the variations are endless and exhilarating. Exit The Cave There is an introductory essay called ‘The Cave and The Sun’ in the Dover-Wilson edition of the Sonnets, of which I read only the introduction since I wanted to stick to my Arden edition which had better and more detailed footnotes (with very useful headnotes accompanying each sonnet and sonnet sequence - highly recommended). I found the metaphor employed and the advice given by Wilson to the raiders to be very relevant to my own reading experience. I want to discuss it a bit here, even though Wilson went on to disappoint me by not sticking to his own prescriptions on how the sonnets should be read and critiqued. Sir Walter Raleigh, who wrote the most human short life of William Shakespeare that we possess, began his section on the Sonnets as follows: 'There are many footprints around the cave of this mystery, none of them pointing in the outward direction. No one has ever attempted a solution of the problem without leaving a book behind him; and the shrine of Shakespeare is thickly hung with these votive offerings, all withered and dusty.' Wilson adopts this metaphor and elaborates: Raleigh’s cave of mystery calls another to mind, Plato's cave of illusion, in which the human race sit chained with their backs to the sun without, and are condemned to accept the passing shadows on the wall before them for the truth—the real truth being only revealed to the few who are able to break their bonds and turn to face the light of day. Absorbed in our own attempts to solve the biographical puzzles that the individual sonnets offer us, we remain blind to the sun that casts these shadows but gives meaning to the whole. Begin by seeing that meaning and recognizing the whole as the greatest love-poem in the language, and the mystery of the detail becomes so unimportant as to fade away. That this is the right approach to an understanding, apparently so obvious and so natural, is surely beyond contest? At least to me it is. The Philosophy Vs The Biography Coming back to the sonnets themselves, one of the continuous experiences that enthrall the reader is to see how the sonnets keeps defying expectations and conventions. For example, neither the exhortation to love and ‘settle down’, the love for the young man, nor the passion for the 'dark woman' are subjects an ambitious poet would be likely to choose as the most suitable to display the genius of his verse. They instead form testimony to Shakespeare’s overriding powers of imagination. Peter Ackroyd, in his biography of Shakespeare, speculates that Shakespeare experimented and stretched the sonnet form to its breaking point - perhaps because he was bored of poetry, which came too easy to him. When we consider the repetition of themes and the easy show-offiness of how Shakespeare uses the Sonnets to tell the same things again and again, but always with consummate expertise and ease, it is hard to dismiss the idea. This might be reflected in the fact that so many of the Sonnets are overly megalomaniacal about the power of his verse, boasting of the defeat of time and the acquisition/granting of immortality. But even as these exalt us, even while we may be in awe at the overwhelming force of Shakespeare’s imagination, we would also be melancholy at the theme of relentless failure expressed in the poems, over and over, dealing with self-deception and betrayal; with the inadequacy of the mind, or the imagination, or poetry, to have any effect, even on the poet’s own feelings. This is how Shakespeare continually inverts the themes and explores them from multiple angles. When he praises the ennobling qualities of love in one Sonnet, he might make it about love's insecurities and dark aspects later, either in the same sonnet by employing the structural ‘turn’ or in a linked sonnet later on in the sequence. All this might make the reader feel out of sorts and uneasy. It is as if the conversation jumped from topic to topic in a broken-backed fashion. At times affectionate and intimate, at times abject and distant; but nothing clicks tight, no overall theme emerges. The poet of the Sonnets veers back and forth from the dream of omnipotence to the dread of mortality and impending loss, continuously in flux. Even the conclusion of this is almost wistful, a testimony to the ultimate powerlessness of the art that has been so hyperbolically praised, but at the same time leaving it hanging in mid-air, since we do not really know if these 'concluding' sonnets are really the conclusion, or if they were ordered right, or if Shakespeare intended to contrast the theme of the 'concluding' couple of sonnets by another soaring portrayal of Cupid reasserting himself. Again, we can only speculate. Reading the Sonnets is a particularly rewarding (and time consuming) exercise due to these delightful perversities of history and of the poet’s pen. Thus the reader would conclude the reading of the Sonnets with a strong sense that the emotions expressed in them refuses to fit into pigeon-holes that we/critics may have constructed for them. Individually most of the sonnets are creatures of infinite beauty but also bewildering due to their contrasting colors, and when we read the whole sequence as one, we might experience them differently. As one of the critics say, from its total plot, however ambiguous, however particular, there emerges something not indeed common or general like the love expressed in many individual sonnets, but yet, in a higher way, universal. While this is indeed true, we again lack the tools or the certainty to convert the individual sonnets into a ‘plot’ - we might try to understand a ‘philosophy’ of love and life from these meditations, but to hunt for a plot among them can only take away from the pleasure and the true experience of it. To me at least, the conclusion was that to relentlessly attribute autobiographical aims to the sonnets is to not give due credit to the imaginative genius of Shakespeare and impute that he was incapable of inventing such realistic emotions with his poetic person than he was able to achieve with his dramatic one. Why credit only the dramatic author to be capable of this imaginative creativity and not the poet? I think it is only desperation that forces this on us. We should accept that the author-character that emerges from the sonnets is not created for our convenience. It is not necessarily William Shakespeare, the man; it is William Shakespeare, the poet. What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend? Since everyone hath every one, one shade, And you, but one, can every shadow lend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Huda Yahya

    بلا جدال السونيتة المفضلة ---------------- Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest Now is the time that face should form another; Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest, Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother. For where is she so fair whose uneared womb Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? Or who is he so fond will be the tomb Of his self-love, to stop posterity? Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime; So thou through windows of thine بلا جدال السونيتة المفضلة ---------------- Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest Now is the time that face should form another; Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest, Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother. For where is she so fair whose uneared womb Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry? Or who is he so fond will be the tomb Of his self-love, to stop posterity? Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime; So thou through windows of thine age shalt see, Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time. But if thou live, remembered not to be, Die single and thine image dies with thee.... ... أعتذر إن لم أترجمها أو أترجم معناها فشكسبير لا يترجم وكل محاولة لترجمته هي تجرأ لا يغتفر !

  10. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. To Sonnetate or not to Sonnetate, that is the Question: "Os Sonetos de Shakespeare" by William Shakespeare and Vasco Graça Moura NB: VGM = Vasco Graça Moura; "Os Sonetos de Shakespeare" = The Shakespeare Sonnets. I’ve always wanted to read VGM’s take, not only because of the sonnets, but also because of VGM’s “translation”. What VGM did was not really a translation. Why? Read on. Before I proceed with the review, it’s necessary to clarify If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. To Sonnetate or not to Sonnetate, that is the Question: "Os Sonetos de Shakespeare" by William Shakespeare and Vasco Graça Moura       NB: VGM = Vasco Graça Moura; "Os Sonetos de Shakespeare" = The Shakespeare Sonnets.   I’ve always wanted to read VGM’s take, not only because of the sonnets, but also because of VGM’s “translation”. What VGM did was not really a translation. Why? Read on.   Before I proceed with the review, it’s necessary to clarify that the system versification of English is different from the method used in Portuguese. In English, the prosodic unit is the foot, which contains a number of syllables; in the typical foot, there is only one stressed syllable. The most used by Shakespeare verse, the iambic pentameter, consists of five feet, each foot being one iamb - an unstressed syllable followed by a marked one. In the poetry of the Portuguese language, the verses are divided into syllables, some sharper, and other unstressed. Because in the iambic pentameter we have five feet of two syllables each, there is a rooted belief among translators and scholars of the English-speaking poems in pentameter verse should be translated into decasyllables, thus allowing a formal equivalence between the two systems. However, many translators have chosen the Alexandrine, on the grounds that the English is much more concise than the Portuguese and therefore to express all ideas contained in the original - that is, so there is semantic equivalence – we would need to use longer lines. From that point of view, the most important being: “In a poetic translation should we go for formal correspondence or semantics? Must we choose one of the two or can both be achieved?   5 stars for the sonnets. 3 stars for the translation. 4 stars overall.   Read on, if you feel so inclined.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Here's a minor literary mystery that has been bothering me this morning. On p 176 of La vieillesse, Simone de Beauvoir quotes a French translation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, which in the original goes as follows:That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see'st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black Here's a minor literary mystery that has been bothering me this morning. On p 176 of La vieillesse, Simone de Beauvoir quotes a French translation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, which in the original goes as follows:That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see'st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.. Her translation is presented thus:«Tu reconnais en moi ce moment de l'année Où pendent aux rameaux qui tremblent dans le froid, Chœurs nus et délabrés, quelques feuilles fanées, Où des oiseaux naguère on entendait la voix. En moi tu vois aussi le feu crépusculaire Qui decline à l'ouest au coucher du soleil Et que doit emporter bientôt la nuit austère» «Car le temps sans répit mène à l'affreux hiver, L'été, pour l'y détruire, et la sève se glace, Plus de feuillages drus, la neige a recouvert La beauté ; en tous lieux la sterilité passe» «Donc ne laisse l'hiver, de sa main decharnée Ravager ton été sans l'avoir distilée...»I thought the first seven lines were excellent, the rest somewhat less so, and wondered who the translator was; she doesn't say. After a little googling, I find that the initial portion is from a 1970 translation by Jean Fuzier. But who wrote the rest of it, and why has she performed this strange piece of mix-and-match without even telling us what she's done? I suppose that now I know part of the story, the quotation marks do give a clue. Should we conclude that there are in fact three translators? ________________________ I must have been very sleepy this morning. On looking at them again, the second and third passages can't possibly be from Sonnet 73, no matter how loose the translation. And indeed, after a little more searching, I find that the second passage is these lines from Sonnet 5:For never-resting time leads summer on To hideous winter, and confounds him there; Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone, Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness every where:while the third comes from Sonnet 6:Then let not winter's ragged hand deface, In thee thy summer, ere thou be distilled:I still haven't figured out who translated them though.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    I have known Shakespeare wrote sonnets. I had also bought a pocket book of them from my visit to Shakespearean birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. But honestly, I really didn't give much thought on reading it until I was impelled by a group read. I'm really glad that I read it and thankful to the group and the member who nominated it. Shakespeare is universally acclaimed for his plays. His use of satire, wit, clever plots and darker and tragic elements have attracted the readers. And I feel that I have known Shakespeare wrote sonnets. I had also bought a pocket book of them from my visit to Shakespearean birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. But honestly, I really didn't give much thought on reading it until I was impelled by a group read. I'm really glad that I read it and thankful to the group and the member who nominated it. Shakespeare is universally acclaimed for his plays. His use of satire, wit, clever plots and darker and tragic elements have attracted the readers. And I feel that this attraction for his plays has considerably shadowed his sonnets and as such they have been comparatively less known. Because of this reason I was utterly surprised to find the sonnets beautiful, lyrical, intelligent and absorbing. Before I began reading the sonnets, I thought them to be individual ones. Here too I was in for another surprise. They are not individual sonnets but a connected and continued 154 sonnets which tells a story of love, devotion, jealousy, lust, separation and pining among other things. Thus as in his plays, Shakespeare tells us a story through his sonnets too. And I must say he tells the story with a passion and an earnestness. The narrator is a male poet and the bulk of the sonnets are devoted to the poet's love and devotion to a beautiful youth, his jealousies, and his pain at their separation. And the rest of the sonnets are devoted to his love, devotion, lust and jealousy for his mistress. Interestingly, the sonnets address a poet love for a male and a female. The narrator being a male and a poet, I did wonder whether Shakespeare was modelling the narrator on himself. I was really surprised by the bold venture of Shakespeare given that these were written in the late 16th century. I wonder whether no one thought of them scandalous at the time. Through his sonnets, I saw a different side of Shakespeare, a one I haven't seen through his plays. It was pleasing to know a passionate and emotional side existed in him in addition to his intelligence and creativity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amit Mishra

    There is no fundamental issue to call this book a great one. Shakespeare is really different from other poets. The style and composition of words in a beautiful pattern makes him look beyond the ordinary league. His sonnets secretly deliver manifold messages. From joy to the seriousness.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Over my years of teaching, I have memorized a couple dozen of these sonnets, on my morning walks. Some I learned in a two-mile walk, like the one on his own writing, "Why is my verse so barren of new pride?"(76). Others I have had to re-memorize every time I teach, like "Some glory in their birth, some in their skill," (91). Their imbedded mnemonics vary greatly. When I have required Shakespeare classes to memorize a couple, students would often pick very difficult ones, not knowing they varied Over my years of teaching, I have memorized a couple dozen of these sonnets, on my morning walks. Some I learned in a two-mile walk, like the one on his own writing, "Why is my verse so barren of new pride?"(76). Others I have had to re-memorize every time I teach, like "Some glory in their birth, some in their skill," (91). Their imbedded mnemonics vary greatly. When I have required Shakespeare classes to memorize a couple, students would often pick very difficult ones, not knowing they varied so. They only improve with familiarity as do many well-known poems. Ease of memorization is one criterion of poetic greatness, though it's also a function of personal experience and obsessions. Overall these sonnets may NOT be as easy to memorize as are Dickinson's poems, or many of WB Yeats's, say "Under Ben Bulben." Or Herbert's "Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright." But as Will (his punning sonnet name for himself in the later ones) says of his own writing, "That every word doth almost tell my name" (76). This can also be said of Dickinson's and some of Yeats's. Shakespeare adds that this verse name-telling also suggests the genealogy of the verse,"Showing their birth...." In that way, these sonnets become ads--for themselves. Political admen, eat your hearts out.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Apoorva

    Nice collection of poetry on various themes such as different types of love, lust, beauty, betrayal, destruction caused by time, art etc. Some of the ideas expressed seemed archaic and regressive but it’s understandable as it was written long ago, so it doesn’t affect my reading experience. I liked the collection of romantic sonnets; some sonnets have a sad quality to them. Here’s one of them: Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed, The dear repose for limbs with travail tired; But then begins a Nice collection of poetry on various themes such as different types of love, lust, beauty, betrayal, destruction caused by time, art etc. Some of the ideas expressed seemed archaic and regressive but it’s understandable as it was written long ago, so it doesn’t affect my reading experience. I liked the collection of romantic sonnets; some sonnets have a sad quality to them. Here’s one of them: Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed, The dear repose for limbs with travail tired; But then begins a journey in my head To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired. For then my thoughts, from far where I abide, Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee, And keep my drooping eyelids open wide, Looking on darkness which the blind do see. Save that my soul’s imaginary sight Presents thy shadow to my sightless view, Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night, Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new. Lo thus by day my limbs, by night my mind, For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David

    SHAKESPEARE WANTS YOU TO BREED!!!! The first 17 or so sonnets in the series left me taken aback. It's right there in the first line of Sonnet #1: 1. From fairest creatures we desire increase That thereby beauty's Rose might never die But as the riper should be time decease His tender heir might bear his memory There's this obsession with propagating the species. This concern about breeding dominates the first 17 sonnets in the series, something I had not been aware of before. 2. ... How much more SHAKESPEARE WANTS YOU TO BREED!!!! The first 17 or so sonnets in the series left me taken aback. It's right there in the first line of Sonnet #1: 1. From fairest creatures we desire increase That thereby beauty's Rose might never die But as the riper should be time decease His tender heir might bear his memory There's this obsession with propagating the species. This concern about breeding dominates the first 17 sonnets in the series, something I had not been aware of before. 2. ... How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use If thou couldst answer, 'This fair child of mine Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse' 3. Look in the glass, and tell the face thou viewest Now is the time this face should form another 4. .... Then how, when nature calls thee to be gone, What acceptable audit canst thou leave? 6. .... That's for thyself to breed another thee 7. ..... So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon, Unlooked on diest, unless thou get a son. 8. ... mark how one string, sweet husband to another, Strikes each in each by mutual ordering; Resembling sire and child and happy mother, ... Sings this to thee, "Thou single will prove none". 9. ... Ah if thou issueless shalt hap to die, the world will wail thee, like a makeless wife .. No love towards others in that bosom sits That on himself such murd'rous shame commits. 10. ... Make thee another self, for love of me, that beauty still may live in thine or thee. 11. ... Let those whom nature hath not made for store, Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish. ... She carv'd thee for her seal, and mean thereby Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die. Actually, as a gay man, I find that "harsh, featureless, and rude" pretty offensive. It continues: 12. ... And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence. 13. ... Against this coming end you should prepare, And your sweet semblance to some other give. 14. ... If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert; Or else of thee this I prognosticate: Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date. 17. ... But were some child of yours alive that time, You should live twice, in it and in my rime. Fortunately, #18 is the glorious "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?", and from here on out it appears to be smooth sailing. But that battery of breeder-boosting that opens this collection was a little off-putting, to say the least. It seems so dismissive of those of us who were put on earth to carry out some other purpose, somehow. But this is neither here nor there. This book contains some of the most awesome language in the entire body of English literature. To assign it a rating seems entirely presumptuous; nothing but 5 stars seems even conceivable. My favorite, if forced to choose, is a conventional one: #29. When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, ... Haply I think on thee --- and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; Quite apart from the theme of the poem, how he changes mood with just that single line "like to the lark at break of day arising" astonishes me every time I read it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    WhatIReallyRead

    I didn't expect to enjoy Shakespeare's Sonnets quite so much. The only word I can think of to describe the experience is: lovely. So far it seems, I'm more into classical poetry than I am into modern one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Elizabeth

    4/5 Stars Shakespeare has some wonderful poems, he really does. They're even better than his plays, in my opinion. However, quite unfortunately, some of them are really difficult to understand. So even though I appreciate his expertly/tightly written poems, I didn't appreciate how I had trouble understanding about 30% of them. Asides from the trouble understanding some of them, these are imaginative and lovely poems that everyone should read at least once. So don't let his boring/strange (sorry 4/5 Stars Shakespeare has some wonderful poems, he really does. They're even better than his plays, in my opinion. However, quite unfortunately, some of them are really difficult to understand. So even though I appreciate his expertly/tightly written poems, I didn't appreciate how I had trouble understanding about 30% of them. Asides from the trouble understanding some of them, these are imaginative and lovely poems that everyone should read at least once. So don't let his boring/strange (sorry Shakespeare fans) plays fool you! His poetry is significantly better!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    I really haven't read Shakespeare's sonnets in any consistent way since high school (where I read less than twenty and memorized two). It was fascinating to read all 154 from first to last as a whole connected work. One really gets a sense that English is a tool which almost all of us use, many often play with, but only Shakespeare fully owned. The Bard could bend a word, fit infinity in a couplet, and drop the whole universe on a period.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold is a book that I wished for in high school. Three and a half decades later I think I will take the originals and work through the generations of English language evolution. Rarely is the remake of anything as good as the original, There might be moments of brilliance, and there may be a revival of the original, but a copy remains a copy. Personal opinions aside, Anthony's side by side arrangement makes for an easy understanding of the original with a new Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold is a book that I wished for in high school. Three and a half decades later I think I will take the originals and work through the generations of English language evolution. Rarely is the remake of anything as good as the original, There might be moments of brilliance, and there may be a revival of the original, but a copy remains a copy. Personal opinions aside, Anthony's side by side arrangement makes for an easy understanding of the original with a new "translation." The difference is not in meaning but delivery. It is like the difference between a classic ballad and a pop song or rap lyric. There is a rough edge that is now very visible that was hidden by the original language. Anthony also does an outstanding job at keeping the sonnet's form intact in his rewrites which would seem to be a challenging task in itself. It is easy to see how many will like the new versions over the old, but for me, I will stick with the original. Star rating based on effort

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deepthi

    All I want to do now is lie on the grass, and make mooony-eyes at the moon!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Pavone

    Shakespeare is so good! The Bard always wins!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shyam

    Probably, more nonsense has been talked and written, more intellectual and emotional energy expended in vain, on the sonnets of Shakespeare than on any other literary work in the world. —W. H. Auden, Introduction to Shakespare's Sonnets __________ It is my understanding that Shake-speare composed these sonnets primarily for himself, and his friends, and that they were completed some time before he took them to be published in 1609, and may have done so partly due to declining revenue due to the Probably, more nonsense has been talked and written, more intellectual and emotional energy expended in vain, on the sonnets of Shakespeare than on any other literary work in the world. —W. H. Auden, Introduction to Shakespare's Sonnets __________ It is my understanding that Shake-speare composed these sonnets primarily for himself, and his friends, and that they were completed some time before he took them to be published in 1609, and may have done so partly due to declining revenue due to the closing of theatres during a plague outbreak. However, 11 years before this, one Mr. Francis Meres, made a mouth-watering allusion to 'Shakespeare's sugared sonnets among his private friends.' One year later, one Mr. William Jaggard published a selection of sonnets, claiming they were all composed by Shakespare (when in fact, only two of the twenty were), called The Passionate Pilgrim. In a supplementary epistle to the printer in his Apology for Actors (1612), Thomas Heywood refers to Shakespeare as 'much offended with Mr Jaggard' for unauthorised printing of some of his poems, and says that 'hee to doe himselfe right, hath since published them in his owne name' __________ I didn't especially enjoy Shakespeare's Sonnets; there were a few phrases I liked, and there were exactly 5 which I particularly enjoyed in full (3, 19, 54, 129, 154). But not only did I not enjoy them, I don't think they are particularly good either. However, not only am I embarrassingly unqualified to make that judgement, but I don't really think it would be fair for anyone to be stating their critical opinion on a work that originally intended to be circulated in private, among friends. Idle curiosity is an ineradicable vice of the human mind. All of us like to discover the secrets of our neighbours, particularly the ugly ones. This has always been so, and, probably, always will be. What is relatively new, however, is a blurring of the borderline between the desire for truth and idle curiosity, until, today, it has been so thoroughly erased that we can indulge in the latter without the slightest pangs of conscience. A great deal of what today passes for scholarly research is an activity no different from that of reading somebody's private correspondence when he is out of the room, and it doesn't really make it morally any better if his out of the room because he is in his grave —W. H. Auden, Introduction to Shakespare's Sonnets _____ In terms of Sonnets, I greatly preferred Petrarch's, not only in terms of form, but also content. I also found Sidney's Sonnets much more enjoyable. Should anyone reading this wish (as I intend) to sample a wider range of sonnets, some other Sonneteers include: • Dante Alighieri, who (mostly) utilised the Petrarchan form in his Vita Nuova , and Canzoniere • Sir Thomas Wyatt, who composed the first known Sonnets in English • Sir Edmund Spenser, who composed the Sonnet Cycle, Amoretti , which can be easily obtained in this collection _____ N.B. W. H. Auden's incisive Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets is thoughtfully included as an appendix in the Everyman's Library edition. __________ When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past (30.1-2) In him those holy antique hours are seen (68.9) . . . the perfumed tincture of the roses (54.6) Within be fed, without be rich no more. (146.12)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Probably the best known of all of the 154 sonnets is Sonnet 18; 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 dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Probably the best known of all of the 154 sonnets is Sonnet 18; 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 dimm’d;  And every fair from fair sometime declines,  By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;  But thy eternal summer shall not fade  Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;  Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,  When in eternal lines to time thou growest:     So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,     So long lives this, and this gives life to thee A heart meltingly beautiful expression of eternal love. And another favourite is sonnet 73 in which the narrator uses metaphors to show the nature of his old age. That time of year thou mayst in me behold  When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang  Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,  Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.  In me thou seest the twilight of such day  As after sunset fadeth in the west,  Which by and by black night doth take away,  Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.  In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire  That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,  As the death-bed whereon it must expire  Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.     This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,     To love that well which thou must leave ere long.  I could go on but I will leave it there for you, if you choose to discover your own favourites. They are short a mere 14 lines each but full of passion and thought provoking metaphors. 5*

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lolita

    Shall I compare thee to a Summers day? Thou art more louely and more temperate: Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie, And Sommers lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heauen shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d, And euery faire from faire some-time declines, By chance, or natures changing course vntrim’d: But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade, Nor loose possession of that faire thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou wandr’st in his shade, When in eternall lines Shall I compare thee to a Summers day? Thou art more louely and more temperate: Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie, And Sommers lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heauen shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d, And euery faire from faire some-time declines, By chance, or natures changing course vntrim’d: But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade, Nor loose possession of that faire thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou wandr’st in his shade, When in eternall lines to time thou grow’st, So long as men can breath or eyes can see, So long liues this, and this giues life to thee, When fortie Winters shall beseige thy brow When fortie Winters shall beseige thy brow, And digge deep trenches in thy beauties field, Thy youthes proud liuery so gaz’d on now, Wil be a totter’d weed of smal worth held: Then being askt, where all thy beautie lies, Where all the treasure of thy lusty daies; To say within thine owne deepe sunken eyes, Were an all-eating shame, and thriftlesse praise. How much more praise deseru’d thy beauties vse, If thou couldst answere this faire child of mine Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse Proouing his beautie by succession thine. This were to be new made when thou art ould, And see thy blood warme when thou feel’st it could. youth....

  26. 5 out of 5

    amapola

    Shakespeare in love Trovo che Shakespeare sia di una attualità sorprendente. Passano gli anni, i secoli, i millenni, ma il cuore dell’uomo resta eternamente lo stesso. 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate Rough winds do y 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 Shakespeare in love Trovo che Shakespeare sia di una attualità sorprendente. Passano gli anni, i secoli, i millenni, ma il cuore dell’uomo resta eternamente lo stesso. 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate Rough winds do y 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 owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest 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. https://youtu.be/S8Osse7w9fs Dovrei paragonarti a un giorno d’estate? Tu sei ben più raggiante e mite: venti furiosi scuotono le tenere gemme di maggio e il corso dell’estate ha vita troppo breve: talvolta troppo cocente splende l’occhio del cielo e spesso il suo volto d’oro si rabbuia e ogni bello talvolta da beltà si stacca, spoglio dal caso o dal mutevol corso di natura. Ma la tua eterna estate non dovrà sfiorire né perdere possesso del bello che tu hai; né morte vantarsi che vaghi nella sua ombra, perché al tempo contrasterai la tua eternità; finché ci sarà un respiro od occhi per vedere questi versi avranno luce e ti daranno vita.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    I’ve been wondering for a while how to approach this review. I had thought that it might be interesting to do a close reading of a single sonnet and leave it at that. What I’ve decided is to write a quick review on this edition of The Sonnets, mostly chatting about the stuff this book gives to help a reader read them, and then, over the next weeks and months, add ‘comments’ which will be reviews of some of my ‘favourite’ sonnets. I’m quite looking forward to doing this – so we’ll have to see how I’ve been wondering for a while how to approach this review. I had thought that it might be interesting to do a close reading of a single sonnet and leave it at that. What I’ve decided is to write a quick review on this edition of The Sonnets, mostly chatting about the stuff this book gives to help a reader read them, and then, over the next weeks and months, add ‘comments’ which will be reviews of some of my ‘favourite’ sonnets. I’m quite looking forward to doing this – so we’ll have to see how things work out. I’ve three editions of The Sonnets – two of which are Penguin versions and then this Cambridge text. This is by far the best. The introduction runs for over twenty pages and gives as good a telling of the various important ‘stories’ of The Sonnets as I’ve read. It is not really all that remarkable that we know so little about these sonnets. They were written a long time ago and they were written to keep certain things ‘secret’ – and as such they have succeeded wonderfully. We don’t know who they were written for – neither the beautiful young man who is the main subject of the vast majority of the sonnets, nor the Dark Lady who is the subject of only sonnets 127 to 154. It is virtually compulsory, when writing about The Sonnets to mention sonnet 20 – well, not the whole sonnet, but just the lines: “Till Nature as she wrought thee fell a-doting, And by addition thee of me defeated,” This is invariably quoted as proof positive that our Will was no poof. The sonnets to this young man are quite remarkable and it is hard to know what to make of them. They start with a sting of sonnets calling on the handsome young man to hurry up and have children, as he is so incredibly beautiful that for him to deny the world a copy of his beauty would be simply too cruel to contemplate. There is argument after argument about this in the first few sonnets– but I kept thinking of GB Shaw and that line he is supposed to have said to some actress who suggested they should have children together as with her looks and his brains the child would conquer the world. To which Shaw is supposed to have replied,“What if the child has my looks and your brains?” Which is the point – Shakespeare even says that the beautiful youth is the image of the youth’s mother at one point. So, his having a son is, quite literally, no guarantee that he will be leaving the world a copy of his beauty. The youth comes across as a bit of a pain, to be honest. The other amusing thing is that Shakespeare spends so much time telling the youth that he (Shakespeare) is making him immortal by writing these sonnets – which ends up being more or less true, except no one knows who the youth was. There is the dedication, of course, which is to a Mr W. H. – but that seems to cause as many difficulties as it solves, as most of the people the sonnets could be about don’t have those initials and some people have decided to see them as being for William Himself… Anyway, the dedication is to the “Onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets” and given that some of them, at least, are written to a woman, that does seem to make the WH solution – even if there was one – a bit awkward. I think I like the Dark Lady sonnets best – there is something much more carnal about them that gives them bite. There is no question what Shakespeare’s desires are towards this woman where his desires towards the young man are always harder to tell. These poems have a confronting honesty about them, particularly the ones that look at the nature of lust and how it over-powers our reason. These poems resonate to the core of my being. The big theme across most of the sonnets is time – how it slips away from you when you least expect it and how cruel our loss of youth, our loss of beauty and our loss of vitality is in all its inevitability. These poems provide us with a cold stare into the unblinking eye of the human condition. The limits of reason when confronted by lust in sonnet 129, “Th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame” or much the same in 146 and 147, “Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth” are not exactly the sorts of themes you might expect to find from your standard collection of ‘love’ sonnets. 129, in particular, is a devastating poem – but we will get to that eventually. So, as I said – this is not really a book that can be done in a single review or read in a single reading, so I’m not even going to try. Updates to follow…

  28. 4 out of 5

    David Lentz

    As I have been writing sonnets lately, I decided to re-read the works of the genius, the master, of the sonnet form. I was intrigued to understand how Shakespeare suffered in writing his sonnets as a young man not yet established as a dramatist. He was writing under the patronage of a young, handsome, English gent named Southampton, who presented these sonnets to women whom he pursued ardently. The sonnets when read sequentially reveal changes in the young poet's life as he evolves. He competed As I have been writing sonnets lately, I decided to re-read the works of the genius, the master, of the sonnet form. I was intrigued to understand how Shakespeare suffered in writing his sonnets as a young man not yet established as a dramatist. He was writing under the patronage of a young, handsome, English gent named Southampton, who presented these sonnets to women whom he pursued ardently. The sonnets when read sequentially reveal changes in the young poet's life as he evolves. He competed as a poet among the Cambridge and Oxford educated poets like Marlowe and Spenser whose work was well received by the British upper crust and royalty. Certainly, Spenser's long "Faerie Queen" was well supported by Queen Elizabeth. Marlowe made a play for Southampton's patronage and this competition was a matter of life and death until Marlowe's famous and very public demise, which left Southampton with Shakespeare. But he was only a commoner with a grammar school education who by the age of 23 had a wife and children to feed from his patronage as a poet from Southampton. Indeed, most poets then, as now, were forced to bear their stigmata and suffered from dire poverty as he considered himself "poor but free." The later sonnets were written for his mistress, a "dark lady" with black hair and black eyes who was deemed in the writing as an unscrupulous gentlewoman, possibly even a woman of pleasure but not necessarily a courtesan among the upper classes, including perhaps Southampton. But no one seems to know who she was except from the descriptions in the sonnets themselves. After writing the Sonnets he moved to become a dramatist and incorporated many of his sonnets into the dramatic and comedic texts of his plays. His plays suffered in 1592-93 as audiences were unable to congregate in theatres during those plague years. It was not until he was given by his patron a share of an investment in the Globe that he really began to earn a living wage and his plays began to receive their proper due from early critics who had been unfair in their assessment of his gifts as a writer. He is the master of the Elizabethan Sonnet Form, which is 14 lines of rhyme with an octet and sestet ending in a rhyming couplet: abab, cdcd, efef, gg. There is incredible honesty in his sonnets about his mistress, which seem, at times, to ridicule her rather than, as one would expect, woo her. The pure simplicity of the language is exquisite and the turns of phrases, of course, are genius. Sonnet #18 is a personal favorite as it begins with its famous: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" I thought of Proust while reading 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..." I very much appreciate the "turns" of his sonnets where he brings home at the end, often in the last rhyming couplets, the real meaning of the sonnet. For example, in Sonnet #57: "So true a fool is love that in your will / Though you do anything, he thinks no ill." Great Sonnet #116: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds / admit impediments: love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds/ or bends with the remover to remove/ o, no! It is an ever-fixed mark/ That looks on tempests and is never shaken." According to Rowse Sonnet #126 of 12 lines in rhymed couplets mark the end of the Southampton sonnet sequence in a more Ovidian style, which influenced him all his life. Shakespeare is smitten to the core in his "Dark Lady Sonnets" but presents a style of which Baudelaire would approve in Sonnet # 150: "If thy unworthiness raised love in me/ More worthy I to be beloved of thee." Finally, in Sonnet #152 his experience with the dark lady comes to an end with "And all my honest faith in thee is lost." At this point Rowse points out that "Art redeems life." The pure beauty of the sonnets largely resides in the elegant simplicity of his language, which is considered a virtue in this literary form. The rhymes are always smooth as silk, unforced and streaming with a literary logic which only a genius could create. If you seek a change of pace from fiction or non-fiction, the Sonnets of Shakespeare will enable you to return to your favorite literary genres refreshed and invigorated by the clarity and beauty of the English language in the hands of a master sonneteer.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sue K H

    Beautiful I loved this. Read and listened to these poems. I'm glad they are on my Kindle so I can go back to them anytime, both the favorites I've highlighted, and also to those I didn't completely understand.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brooklyn Tayla

    Truthfully I don't think any other poetry will move me as much as these Sonnets. They cover various topics, as it were, and all are just filled with such raw emotion.

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