Poetry Sunday: Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare

Was there any subject that William Shakespeare never addressed poetically? Well, there probably is, but his appetite for topics was pretty omnivorous. That is certainly true when it came to anything in Nature.

And here he addresses the season of autumn and the seasons of his own life. Who but Shakespeare would think to describe the naked or almost naked boughs of trees in autumn as "bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang" and compare the season to "That time of year thou mayst in me behold"? There's a reason why he was the one and only Shakespeare!

Sonnet 73: That time of year thou mayst in me behold

by William Shakespeare

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.

Comments

  1. Yes, he has a way. It has been Shakespeare week over here. I read Othello, for the first time. Then New Boy by Tracy Chevalier, her adaptation of the play into a modern novel. Tonight I have book club to discuss both. Thanks for the symmetry!

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    Replies
    1. I have New Boy on my list. I'll look forward to your review.

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  2. I always said you could find a quote from Shakespeare to fit any occasion! This sonnet was one I used to have my students read, but I'm not sure high schoolers could appreciate the theme as much as I do now, especially as I am definitely in the autumn of my life.

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    Replies
    1. I'm with you. The sonnet seems to be speaking directly to me about my life. That Shakespeare was a very talented fella!

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  3. I'll take your word for what it means. I understood the autumn reference but not the whole meaning. My language skills fail me. ;-)

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