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Shakespeare’s Sonnets

One of my favourite sonnets provides, near the end of the cycle, a respite from the intense emotions. Here, the poet ceases his pleading, & attempts a bargain. His Dark Lady, weary of her Will, is pursuing other romantic/sexual conquests. But her Will wants her back at any cost. If she’d only come back & soothe him – him, whom she’s already conquered – then he’d give her his blessing to stride forth & make other conquests:

Shakespeare’s Sonnets traces the rise & fall of a love triangle that meditates on the relationship b/w love, art, & immortality. The sonnets bristle with emotion: the poet desires the young man’s friendship, wants him to marry & father children, envies the youth the world’s honours & praise, praises the youth profusely to compensate for his own envy, becomes enchanted by the dark lady, wants to free himself of her spell, can’t free himself & runs after her…

One of my favourite sonnets provides, near the end of the cycle, a respite from the intense emotions. Here, the poet ceases his pleading, & attempts a bargain. His Dark Lady, weary of her Will, is pursuing other romantic/sexual conquests. But her Will wants her back at any cost. If she’d only come back & soothe him – him, whom she’s already conquered – then he’d give her his blessing to stride forth & make other conquests:

Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feathered creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe, and makes all swift dispatch
In pursuit of the thing she would have stay;

Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant’s discontent;

So runn’st thou after that which flies from thee,
Whilst I thy babe chase thee afar behind;
But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,
And play the mother’s part, kiss me, be kind;

So will I pray that thou mayst have thy ‘Will,’
If thou turn back and my loud crying still.

A TL;DR summary of the Sonnets: https: amitabasu.com/2020/07/19/shakespeares-sonnets-tldr/

Read a PDF or Kindle copy of the Sonnets to save paper.

By Amita Basu

I'm a writer based in Bangalore, India.

One reply on “Shakespeare’s Sonnets”

[…] It’s touching to watch Aschenbach watching Tadzio at the beach all day, chasing him through Venice poorly disguised, and even undergoing a grotesque makeover: which transforms him into a duplicate of a minor character who horrified him. Aschenbach is a highly repressed man; his midlife crisis, therefore, occurs largely in his own mind. All his success has left him cold and lonely; still – even when Tadzio shows clear signs of reciprocal interest – he can’t bring himself even to talk to his beloved. He prefers to savour, and then wallow in, his beloved merely as a trigger for his own exalted artistic emotions and conceptions. For him, love remains a trigger for art; a delusion with which to defy his own mortality. The triadic relationship in Venice between art, love, and death contrasts gloomily, but fruitfully, with Shakespeare’s version. […]

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