Friday, March 23, 2007

Poetry Friday 42

Last Saturday, I mentioned watching the David Tennant/Catherine Tate sketch from the Comic Relief TV marathon - it featured Catherine Tate's character Lauren the annoying schoolgirl reciting - at almost breakneck speed - Shakespeare's Sonnet 130. Because of the pace of its delivery (and Lauren's accent), I had trouble making out all of the verse, so I Googled it afterwards (I caught "damask'd, red and white" so I knew that was a good place to start). It's an interesting choice from someone (Catherine Tate ? Someone else ?) because it's not a conventional love sonnet, in fact it could almost be called an anti-love sonnet with its pragmatic, far from flowery descriptions:

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, - yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress when she walks, treads on the ground;
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

William Shakespeare

If you're interested in a commentary on this sonnet, you'll find one here.


HipWriterMama said...

If hair be wires, black wires grow on her head...this makes for an interesting love sonnet. Thanks for the link to the commentary. It answered my question about the "hair be wires" line.

Nancy said...

I always like this one.

Michele said...

That's OK ! I knew someone would question that line, so I looked for a commentary to link to on that basis...

Nancy, I think I love everything Shakespeare's written... He's just totally awesome !