Friday, January 18, 2008

Sonnets: Shakespeare

piano

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."

Last week I posted a sonnet by John Donne for Friday Poetry. This sonnet by William Shakespeare is another one I have loved since before I understood the form. The first three lines just blow me away. Now that I've reached middle age and been a parent for over 20 years it makes even more sense. The way children grow and change so fast your love is always scrambling to keep up with them. Alterations, tempests, wandering barks, time's foolishness, rosy cheeks; it's all here. Thanks be to God for the stars and the ever-fixed mark.

You can find the complete catalog of Shakespeare's sonnets at this site, as well as "Comments, interpretations, explanations, history and exegesis."

Friday Poetry is over at Becky's Farm School

14 comments:

writer2b said...

I agree - this is one of the greats. And I love your application to mothering. Thank you for this!

laurasalas said...

Haven't read this entire poem in ages. Thanks for reintroducing us!

TadMack said...

One of my favorite professors read this at my wedding... and truly, it's appropriate for any family situation.

SevenImpossible said...

my goodness, that is a lovely post, especially after a hard week of my children squabbling and being, well, kids . . . thanks for this. i love that: our love is "always scrambling to keep up with them." true.

Jules, 7-Imp

Kelly Fineman said...

Oh, I totally love this sonnet. It's quoted in the Emma Thompson version of Sense & Sensibility, and I've read it a bunch of times as a result. Applying it to motherhood is genius. And appropriate.

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . .

Liz in Ink said...

Oh, this is so fine!! I think I may pull this out next time I squabble with my husband. And we're remodeling, so it may be soon...

Becky said...

This is why Shakespeare is so wonderful. It's a poem that grows with you, through the ages and stages of life.

Love the photo, too. The diligence as well as the contrast between the colorful clothes and the black-and-white keys!

Christine M said...

What a wonderful sonnet. Thanks for sharing it today.

Susan T. said...

Ooh, I like it, Cloudscome. I don't think I've ever heard this one. I especially like the photo!

jama said...

Ever magnificent. Thanks for your thoughts on motherhood and the beautiful photo, too.

Lone Star Ma said...

I have always loved this sonnet.

Ruth said...

Beautiful. I won't read this sonnet the same way again.

Cloudscome said...

You know I have always thought of the word "marriage" in this poem as meaning a joining or coming together of minds and hearts, not necessarily having anything to do with a wedding. So it makes sense for me to think of it having to do with the way families grow and change as children come along. Particularly in adoption, as I have done with my family. You get this new baby all cute and sweet and you have no idea how they are going to turn out - whether they come through birth to you or adoption to you it's all a mystery as they grow. The more I think about this poem the more I love it. I'm glad so many of you find it lovely too!

Hola, I'm JMac: said...

Oh my! How I love Shakespeare. I have embroidered that sonnet for friends and had it printed on our wedding program. It IS so beautiful,and I love how you relate it to family--I always held it in the context of my partner and I. Just lovely.