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William Shakespeare - Sonnets and Speeches
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Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Posts: 1395
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: William Shakespeare - Sonnets and Speeches Reply with quote

It's with some hesitation that I open a thread on Shakespeare; knowing that we have ardent experts on his work all around...

But Leon MacLaren -- who could be reduced to tears by certain passages, and said that he always read Shakespeare the day before he had to make an important speech (in court, perhaps) -- and Sheila Rosenberg, eager to have us follow the Shankaracharya's recommendation in investigating our own tradition -- would both expect to see his name enter the index sooner or later...

All I'd wish to do right now is to recommend two outstanding biographies of Shakespeare which I'm reading in parallel at the moment. Both are written with such respect, such depth of reading, such devotion, and so many relevant quotations, that they are sure to warm and deepen anyone's knowledge of Shakespeare's works.

Peter Ackroyd is the great historian-novelist of London through the centuries, a diligent researcher; so his 'Shakespeare: The Biography' lives up to its claim; indeed you could read it as a picturesque novel of fact..

And Stephen Greenblatt, currently of Harvard University, must be one of the most enviable of academics to have as a mentor : his 'Will in the World : How Shakespeare became Shakespeare' is also a delight to read -- warm, sensitive, outgoing, relevant, and also rich in researched detail from a Renaissance expert.

And a third recommendation to those who are equally interested in Shakespeare and the traces of the 'Ficino Connection' -- Jill Line's 'Shakespeare and the Fire of Love' -- about just that.

Jill Line and Joseph Milne give regular talks on Shakespeare to HRH Prince Charles' and Kathleen Raine's Temenos Academy, and which are open to public attendance. Linda Proud has just given a talk on Pico della Mirandola.

And Linda Proud's website, if you didn't know, aims to extend the online background to her trilogy of novels of the Florentine Renaissance, for general reading and enlightenment..
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Michael Shepherd



Joined: 07 Dec 2007
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Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shakespeare enthusiasts should be aware of the delightfully named website and blog, 'Mr William Shakespeare and the Internet' which has details of conferences and other events and news worldwide.

There's a conference coming up at the University of Birmingham and at Stratford in June -- details onsite.
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Cheryl ALbrecht



Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 95
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:35 am    Post subject: Shakespeare Reply with quote

Herewith some perennial favourites:

Sonnet 33

William Shakespeare

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy,
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth:
Suns of the world may stain, when heavens's sun staineth.
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Cheryl ALbrecht



Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 95
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:44 am    Post subject: Shakespeare Reply with quote

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.
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Cheryl ALbrecht



Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 95
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:42 am    Post subject: Shakespeare Reply with quote

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 remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
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Cheryl ALbrecht



Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 95
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Shakespeare Reply with quote

Sonnet 43

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed.
Then thou whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
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Cheryl ALbrecht



Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 95
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject: Shakespeare Reply with quote

Sonnet 38

How can my Muse want subject to invent
While thou dost breathe that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
Oh, give thyself the thanks if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
For who'so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thyself dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight Muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

*******
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Adam Carter



Joined: 13 Feb 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Bromley, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: Othello Reply with quote

Shakespeare is, to me, timelessly relevant - always able to inform the now. His sharp observations cut through the fog surrounding life, leaving us with a fresh focus. This sometimes provides clarity or, perhaps more often, just offers a less distorted view. But it is from here that our mind can begin to do its work.

I have recently been reading Othello with a group. A major theme in this play is that people are not what they seem and demonstrates how one's own qualities can change. And by this process, the world around you changes too. It is Shakespeare's famous green-eyed monster that corrupts (processes) Othello and finally bursts onto the scene with tragic consequences. It was this change in Othello that struck me, and led to the surfacing of this alliterative poem...

Obedience is the soldier's mantra, beating beside his blood-pumping heart;
Orders, like stone-hammered tablets, the license to perform his life-taking art.

By these laws and commandments does the faithful cur growl,
And by the sound of this bestial voice does he lose his humanity.

How then, can we expect such a man - so practised in dismembering his mind
From reason, in the face of overt enemies - not likewise transform,
When the enemy surges, unseen, like vomit, from the depths within?

And so it is with our Othello,
That when the purging poison parts his lips,
The taste of death manifests and consumes them both.

[/i]
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 189
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:13 pm    Post subject: Good Words Reply with quote

Noting that there had been no submissions on Shakespeare for over a year I thought it would be timely to give a reminder of the following good words, spoken by Duke Senior - who is exiled to the forest - at the beginning of Act Two of As You Like It:


Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery: these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.
I would not change it.


And just to repeat the seven final lines:


Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.
I would not change it.


And just to repeat again perhaps the four most telling lines:


And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.
I would not change it.


Duke Senior speaks of the elements being "counsellors that feeling persuade me what I am", and that rings true. (It's a good day for a walk). But perhaps equally true, sweet are the uses of the speeches, plays and poetry of Shakespeare in reminding us who we are and how we might live.


Last edited by Alan Edward Roberts on Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 189
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(To mark the beginning of spring ...)

Sonnet 98

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April dress'd in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing
That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue
Could make me any summer's story tell.
Or from their proud lap pluck them while they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
These were but sweet, but figures of delight;
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 189
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:11 am    Post subject: On Shakespeare's Birthday Reply with quote

A Shakespeare Sonnet still speaking to us of love, birth, name and "you":

Sonnet 76

Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?
O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 189
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject: A Midsummer Quotation Reply with quote

From Act Five Scene One of A Midsummer Night's Dream ...

Duke Theseus speaks of the lunatic, the lover, the poet - and imagination:


Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
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Dirk Vandeputte



Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Steenhuffel, Brussels, Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: A Midsummer Quotation Reply with quote

[quote="Alan Edward Roberts"]From Act Five Scene One of A Midsummer Night's Dream ...

Duke Theseus speaks of the lunatic, the lover, the poet - and imagination:


Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

[I guess this is the right place for my quote: Dear I ask here for your own words of today here, Alan? Especially the part where some bringer of joy is comprehended, I mean where does he come from?... Don't tell, I found it: I bring it myself! Need some reflection still!

_________________
Life: an intrigue.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 189
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:29 am    Post subject: A Midsummer Quotation Reply with quote

Dirk, Thanks for your question.

I have no definite answer!

I have wondered whether for Duke Theseus this is an ironic comment about belief in the supernatural, in the fairy-world, in the world of Oberon and Titania, or in the world of the gods.

Theseus is not of that world and so does not necessarily give it credence - hence rather than joy owing something to the god of joy (Jove, the chief of the gods) perhaps Theseus, as a practical statesman, is proposing that joy is just joy, it just arises of itself.

I left out the initial two lines of the speech ...

"More strange than true. I never may believe
These antique fables, nor these fairy toys."

... or the brief speech of Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, who is due to become his bride, which opens Act 5 Scene 1:

'Tis strange, my Theseus, that these lovers speak of."

It is that one-liner that prompts Theseus' reply concerning lunatics, lovers, poets, joy and the comprehension of the bringer of that joy.

I would want to re-read the play from beginning to end before making further, more definite, comment!

In the meantime - Your sense that joy arises within is encouraging!

The classical music conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent said of his audience:

"It is quite untrue that the British don't appreciate music. They may not understand it but they love the noise it makes."

I feel that even when I do not understand, or cannot grasp, the full meaning of a Shakespeare text, I am often left delighting in the music, the sound of the piece - and that is certainly the case with this speech.
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 189
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:21 pm    Post subject: And So I Am, I Am Reply with quote

Shakespeare’s dialogues are as magical as his monologues.

This is part of the final dialogue (from King Lear Act Four Scene Seven) between the elderly Lear and his unacknowledged heart, his rejected daughter Cordelia.


CORDELIA
How does my royal lord? How fares your majesty?
KING LEAR
You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave:
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead.
CORDELIA
Sir, do you know me?
KING LEAR
You are a spirit, I know: when did you die?
CORDELIA
Still, still, far wide!
DOCTOR
He's scarce awake: let him alone awhile.
KING LEAR
Where have I been? Where am I? Fair daylight?
I am mightily abused. I should e'en die with pity,
To see another thus. I know not what to say.
I will not swear these are my hands: let's see;
I feel this pin prick. Would I were assured
Of my condition!
CORDELIA
O, look upon me, sir,
And hold your hands in benediction o'er me:
No, sir, you must not kneel.
KING LEAR
Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
Yet I am doubtful for I am mainly ignorant
What place this is; and all the skill I have
Remembers not these garments; nor I know not
Where I did lodge last night. Do not laugh at me;
For, as I am a man, I think this lady
To be my child Cordelia.
CORDELIA
And so I am, I am.
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