Monday Poem: “Sonnet 2″ by Shakespeare

The Monday Poem

As I said last week, I enjoy Shakespeare’s sonnets as much as his plays (if not more). This one has a particularly strong memory for me. Back when I was in High School, I used to take drama classes. At some point, we were asked to audition for parts in a play using this particular sonnet. Whenever I hear it now, I can remember standing in front of the nearly empty classroom – it had seats like bleachers, and a flat space for a stage – and reciting it almost from memory, along with accompanying gestures that I’d made up myself and practiced endlessly. I was always disappointed that not only did I not get a part, but the teacher never even commented on my performance. I still enjoy the sonnet, however; the memory seems to go well with the theme of age and misplaced glories.

Sonnet 2 by Shakespeare

When forty winters shall beseige thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

(courtesy of ShakespeareOnline.com)

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