Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday William


This one shouldn't need any introduction. Whether or not Shakespeare invented the modern idea of romantic love, as Harold Bloom contends, or not, he certainly understood it. Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare.

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;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

9 comments:

Anne said...

My favorite sonnet! Happy birthday, Mr. Shakespeare.

Bee said...

The sun is shining today -- to honor Shakespeare!

(Hey, check out the pubs of Oxford in Sarah Laurence's blog!)

Is it just me, or does anyone else detect sarcasm in the opening line of this sonnet? I just don't see love that way anymore. (But isn't it interesting how well-known, how sunk-in-to-the-psyche are these lines.)

Brave Sir Robin said...

I don't know Bee - I guess you could call this the "Calvinism" of love. I think he means it.

I mean if the "impediment" alters the feeling, was the feeling true to begin with?

I thinks he's saying, if you have "the marriage of true minds" (true love), you will never "admit" (allow to enter) any impediment.

The fact is, I'm afraid, such love as he speaks is rarer than a compassionate conservative.

I believe most of us make do with a pale impersonation of the real thing because it's what we have.

Bee said...

Hmmmmmm . . .
maybe it's just my mood.

I am usually a sucker for the romantic, but this sounds like a sonnet written in the first flush of infatuation -- when you truly think you will never fail to be anything but charmed by the love-object.

I like the second line, better. I get what you say about the verb "admit" . . . but is that the right attitude? There are always some impediments, I think. Better to work with them than pretend they don't exist.

Brave Sir Robin said...

I am usually a sucker for the romantic, but this sounds like a sonnet written in the first flush of infatuation -- when you truly think you will never fail to be anything but charmed by the love-object.

Isn't thant when they're all written?

:)

Better to work with them than pretend they don't exist.

OK fair enough, but what I'm saying is maybe there is a love out there that never, ever stops feeling like those first few weeks.

I'd like to think so.

Bee said...

"Isn't that when they're all written?"

Exactly.

The idea of perfection in life or love just can't be trusted, I think. It just dooms everyone to frustration and disappointment.

(And who doesn't want to think that the "ideal" is out there somewhere?)

Bitty said...

Bee and BSR -- I'll see your sonnet and raise you one. My response: http://bittysbackporch.blogspot.com/2008/04/national-poetry-month-sonnet-130.html

Where do you get those photos? Love Will's earring!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Belated Happy Birthday, WS!

I'm more of a listener than a talker, so I'll just sit here on the sidelines whilst you and Bee continue your debate :-)

maurinsky said...

It was also Vladimir Nabokov's birthday yesterday. What a great day for the English language!