Sunday, 6 October 2013

Book Review: Shakespeare's Sonnets

Stratford upon Avon

Is very atmospheric, quaint, charming; full of pretty half-timbered buildings.

And of course, replete with all things Shakespeare. So reading Shakespeare's Sonnets would be an easy thing to do, I thought.

That was before I realised how many sonnets there actually are. In the book I downloaded there are 154. I am only up to number 66. The poems are all in praise of, or in thought of, Love: themes of love conquering time, death ending love, the impermanence of beauty, love as a slave, love as lust, lust as power.

I do wonder what they might have been like had he chosen a more weightier topic - like death, or politics, or religion. But politics and religion are unsafe topics and 154 poems on death would have been a bit much. 

The thing I like best about the sonnets is Shakespeare's confidence that his poems would be read, and that people would keep on reading them - thus rendering his love (and his art) immortality.

'So long as men can breathe and eyes can see
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.'

And on that note, here is some graffiti from Warwick Castle. Not as old as the sonnets, but also outlasting its author! Who needs immortal prose, when you can carve your initials?

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