Autumn Leaves 2017:
Shakespeare Sonnet 29
There was a time in my life, long ago, when Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare became a fixture, sent from the firmament, into my world. Verses from the vault of heaven came to stay a while with me in my inner sanctum of sorrow. The sadness left, but the sonnet remains, always, in my heart and in my literary mind, as inspiration.
Sonnet 29 is the poetic reminder that anything of a leaden nature that I might be feeling, that feeling cannot be believed as real. The despondent dulls that can enter your life are like the chaff that the wind has blown to you, preventing you from even seeing the wondrous grains of wheat. How can you possibly take hold of those grains without some words of worldly wisdom?
Don’t let the chaff of cynicism cloud your thinking. There’s too much of it, and I, for one, am forever grateful that Shakespeare knew these truths so compellingly that his fertile mind created these immortal words. These words are guideposts to the future, a future that can shine brighter than daylight, if only you’ll permit the belief in hope to thrive, to forge destiny within your life.
The world of William Shakespeare was a world that exists no more in the sense of the Individual reigning supreme over Government in England. And yet, he had to contend with things like plague and ruinous rulers, the miasma that contained all sorts of bacteria that could kill a man or a child outright, without him even knowing it.
That world has become the world of today, and the present is, in my optimistic opinion, a far better place in which to live. The only time that Shakespeare looked to the past was to write history from it, so that we, the readers of the future, could learn from it. In his time, he played upon the stage, and expected others to play upon that same stage, with the panache and poetry for which he is now credited.
He was a most fortunate writer, capable of spinning treasured tales and plays that uttered the most profound, timeless truths. The Bard is the gold standard in writing, in the world of playwriting, and in the wit that lives so fully that his maxims and verbiage are now routine expressions. I doubt he would care about this lack of credit for his glorious words. He seemed a man too busy with living, as well as with writing, to give a thought to fame or fortune. Certainly, he wanted them. More likely, he craved a steady income during an era when writers freely took (borrowed) from one another and shrugged about the name beneath the title.
He was indeed a man of fortune as much as a man of fervent mind. Every writer of worth owes to Shakespeare the beauty of the English language that this Englishman not only pursued, but possessed.
True fortune, the fortune of which the Bard spoke and wrote and play-acted on stage, that fortune is in the hearts and minds of anyone who dares to believe that he is a King, and she is a Queen, on this mortal stage called Earth.
When the Leviathan that is the tax-man and the tax-woman threatens to o’er-take even your soul; and when the weary world is too much with you, pause and reflect. And then spend some time with Mr. Shakespeare. His sonnets offer respite, wisdom, humor, the beauty of imagery, and the achingly beautiful and wise Elizabethan verse that is still being analyzed to death.
You need not understand the ins and outs and ups and downs of iambic pentameter to know that the sound of this stuff is glorious.
I hope that you find my reading of Sonnet 29 glorious too.
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.