Tag Archives: Short Poems

BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 12-17

9 Mar
Artwork - Leigh McRae

Artwork – Leigh MacRae

This podcast did not upload to iTunes originally. I’m reposting in the hopes that I’ve corrected the problem. Apologies from the Bard Brawl.

— DJR.

This week, we’re continuing with the next six sonnets in Shakespeare’s cycle, sonnets 12 to 17. As always, these sonnets are read by our lovely volunteer sonneteers.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Here’s where you can listen to sonnets 1-5, and 6-11, in case you missed them the first time.

So, why have we arbitrarily decided to end our recording with sonnet 17? Because (as those who have been following along will know) these first 17 of Shakespeare’s sonnets are generally lumped together because they are all addressed to an unknown young nobleman and written to encourage him to go forth and multiply.

This group of 17 sonnets has since been given the oh-so-poetic name of “procreation sonnets” by Shakespearean scholars.

Sonnet 12 (Episode: Henry VI, Part I, Act V, Read by: Kayla Cross)

Kayla Cross

Kayla Cross

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

Argument: When I look at the signs of time’s passage like the sky darkening as the sun sets, or leaves falling from trees when winter’s coming, it makes me think about your beauty. let’s be honest: you’re not getting any younger, and sooner than you think, you’ll be dead and gone. But, beauty grows as fast as it fades. Don’t leave yourself defenseless against the passage of time – have some kids!

Sonnet 13 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act V, Read by: Stephanie E.M. Coleman)

Stephanie E.M. Coleman

Stephanie E.M. Coleman

O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer yours than you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give.
So should that beauty which you hold in lease
Find no determination: then you were
Yourself again after yourself’s decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold
Against the stormy gusts of winter’s day
And barren rage of death’s eternal cold?
O, none but unthrifts! Dear my love, you know
You had a father: let your son say so.

Argument: You’re not going to be around forever so you should give away some of your good looks away. You’re really only leasing your beauty – you’ll lose it unless you can find someone to inherit it. And seeing as you inherited it from your father who took good care of it, make sure to have a son who can be thankful to you for having kept your family attractiveness in near-mint condition.

Sonnet 14 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act I, Read by: Maya Pankalla)

Maya Pankalla

Maya Pankalla

Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.

Argument: Listen, I can’t predict the future by looking at the stars, the planets or the weather. But, I can see in your eyes that truth and beauty go hand in hand. So, if you won’t have any kids then I can predict this: truth and beauty will die when you die. (And that’s bad.)

Sonnet 15 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Read by: Melissa Myers)

Melissa Myers

Melissa Myers

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque’d even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

Argument: Everything that grows is perfect and ripe for just a few moments, and appearances are often deceiving. Also, the same sun watches over both plants and people. So, when I see that you are fresh-looking and beautiful and will be always, I need to remind myself that this is not really the case: time and decay are killing you even as we speak. But, while time takes away your youth and beauty, I give it back to you in my poetry!

Sonnet 16 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act II, Read by: Miki Laval)

Miki Laval

Miki Laval

But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And fortify yourself in your decay
With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
And many maiden gardens yet unset
With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit:
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this, Time’s pencil, or my pupil pen,
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself keeps yourself still,
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.

Argument: Why don’t you wage war with time properly and find a better way to defeat it than to rely on my poetry? There are plenty of women right now who would love to have your kids which, let’s face it, make better duplicates than paintings. My poetry just isn’t going to be good enough, man. You need to use your own… er, pen to create a copy of yourself.

Sonnet 17 (Episode: Henry VI, Part I, Act III, Read by: Hannah Dorozio)

Hannah Dorozio

Hannah Dorozio

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill’d with your most high deserts?
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say ‘This poet lies:
Such heavenly touches ne’er touch’d earthly faces.’
So should my papers yellow’d with their age
Be scorn’d like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term’d a poet’s rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice; in it and in my rhyme.

Argument: No one’s going to believe my poems about you in the future even if it’s filled with details about just how awesome you are. Really, my poems will leave out way more than they can show. They’ll just think I made all of this stuff up. Unless one of your descendants were around so they could see that you live again: in your son’s life and in my kick-ass poems!

(Podcast recorded and edited by Daniel J. Rowe, Show notes by Eric Jean)

Stay in touch, Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 6-11

9 Mar
artwork - Leigh McRae

artwork – Leigh McRae

This post was up in February, but for some reason didn’t upload to iTunes. Hopefully this does the trick. Apologies from the Bard Brawl

— DJR

It’s been a while since the last (and first) Bard Brawl’s sonnets podcast but we’re back with the second installment of Shakespeare’s sonnets, as read by our lovely sonneteers. And just in time for Saint-Valentine’s day.

I’ve taken the liberty of ‘translating’ the main argument (that’s sort of the plot or central progression of images of the poem) into something close to my own version of everyday English.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Sonnet 6 (Episode: Coriolanus, Act V, Read by: Laura Pellicer)

Laura Pellicer

Laura Pellicer

Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill’d:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty’s treasure, ere it be self-kill’d.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That’s for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:
Then what could death do, if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-will’d, for thou art much too fair,
To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.

Argument: Don’t let old age get to you! Find a way to bottle some of those youthful good looks for later… hey, I have an idea: if you have ten kids and they have ten kids, then you’ll have a hundred copies of your awesomeness! FYI, if you don’t then the only people who get a piece of your beauty are the worms who will eat your corpse. Just saying.

Sonnet 7 (Episode: Henry VI, Part I, Act I, Read by: Melissa Myers)

Melissa Myers

Melissa Myers

Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climb’d the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, ‘fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract and look another way:
So thou, thyself out-going in thy noon,
Unlook’d on diest, unless thou get a son.

Argument: In the morning (and when you’re young) everybody looks up admiringly at you. And even when you get a little older but are still young-ish like sun at noon, then people still want to be and get with you. But once you’re old and ugly, no one cares to pay any attention to you anymore. So, unless you have a son, you will die alone and unnoticed. (Ouch!)

Sonnet 8 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Read by: Virginie Tremblay

Virginie Tremblay

Virginie Tremblay

Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lovest thou that which thou receivest not gladly,
Or else receivest with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: ‘thou single wilt prove none.’

Argument: Why are you annoyed by beautiful music? If you’re annoyed by harmony that’s because they’re making fun of your refusal to seek out a harmonious marriage. In the end, a family is like music with father, mother and child where together the create something beautiful and proper. Their message? You can’t make either music or children alone.

Sonnet 9 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew, Act III, Read by: Kayla Cross)

Kayla Cross

Kayla Cross

Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
That thou consumest thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep
By children’s eyes her husband’s shape in mind.
Look what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty’s waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unused, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murderous shame commits.

Argument: Oh, I get it: you don’t want to find a wife because you’re afraid that you’ll just make her sad if you die before her. But, think about how much worse it would be to die with no children? Then everybody else will be bawling because there’s no one around with your special blend of dashing good looks. At least a widow can remember her husband through her children! So, if you don’t have any kids you destroy yourself. And so that makes you a murdered for being so selfish and self-centered.

Sonnet 10 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew, Act V, Read by: Maya Pankalla)

Maya Pankalla

Maya Pankalla

For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any,
Who for thyself art so unprovident.
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,
But that thou none lovest is most evident;
For thou art so possess’d with murderous hate
That ‘gainst thyself thou stick’st not to conspire.
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind!
Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove:
Make thee another self, for love of me,
That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

Argument: You’re kind of a jerk, you know that? All of these people love you and yet you don’t love any of them back! In fact, you’re willing to kill yourself and deny everyone your wonderful self. You’re getting older by the minute and you should totally deal with that ASAP instead of just pretending it’s not happening. How can I convince you to have a kid? If you won’t do it for yourself, then have a little pity and do it for me.

Sonnet 11 (Episode: Coriolanus, the Speeches, Read by: Esther Viragh)

Esther Viragh

Esther Viragh

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou growest
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty and increase:
Without this, folly, age and cold decay:
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,
Harsh featureless and rude, barrenly perish:
Look, whom she best endow’d she gave the more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

Argument: As you get older, you kids will grow up and eventually look like you do now, pre-old man. having kids is the beautiful, wise and right thing to do. Not having kids is stupid and you’ll grow old senile and alone. What if everybody decided not to have kids? Thin in thirty years there would be no one left. Sure, ugly people shouldn’t have kids but, come on: you’re one of the pretty ones! So, print up some copies of yourself for the sake of the human race!

Stay tuned for more poetry coming soon!

(Podcast recorded and edited by Daniel J. Rowe, Show notes by Eric Jean)

Stay in touch, Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 12-17

21 Feb
Artwork - Leigh McRae

Artwork – Leigh MacRae

This podcast did not upload to iTunes originally. I’m reposting in the hopes that I’ve corrected the problem. Apologies from the Bard Brawl.

— DJR.

This week, we’re continuing with the next six sonnets in Shakespeare’s cycle, sonnets 12 to 17. As always, these sonnets are read by our lovely volunteer sonneteers.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Here’s where you can listen to sonnets 1-5, and 6-11, in case you missed them the first time.

So, why have we arbitrarily decided to end our recording with sonnet 17? Because (as those who have been following along will know) these first 17 of Shakespeare’s sonnets are generally lumped together because they are all addressed to an unknown young nobleman and written to encourage him to go forth and multiply.

This group of 17 sonnets has since been given the oh-so-poetic name of “procreation sonnets” by Shakespearean scholars.

Sonnet 12 (Episode: Henry VI, Part I, Act V, Read by: Kayla Cross)

Kayla Cross

Kayla Cross

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

Argument: When I look at the signs of time’s passage like the sky darkening as the sun sets, or leaves falling from trees when winter’s coming, it makes me think about your beauty. let’s be honest: you’re not getting any younger, and sooner than you think, you’ll be dead and gone. But, beauty grows as fast as it fades. Don’t leave yourself defenseless against the passage of time – have some kids!

Sonnet 13 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act V, Read by: Stephanie E.M. Coleman)

Stephanie E.M. Coleman

Stephanie E.M. Coleman

O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer yours than you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give.
So should that beauty which you hold in lease
Find no determination: then you were
Yourself again after yourself’s decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold
Against the stormy gusts of winter’s day
And barren rage of death’s eternal cold?
O, none but unthrifts! Dear my love, you know
You had a father: let your son say so.

Argument: You’re not going to be around forever so you should give away some of your good looks away. You’re really only leasing your beauty – you’ll lose it unless you can find someone to inherit it. And seeing as you inherited it from your father who took good care of it, make sure to have a son who can be thankful to you for having kept your family attractiveness in near-mint condition.

Sonnet 14 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act I, Read by: Maya Pankalla)

Maya Pankalla

Maya Pankalla

Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.

Argument: Listen, I can’t predict the future by looking at the stars, the planets or the weather. But, I can see in your eyes that truth and beauty go hand in hand. So, if you won’t have any kids then I can predict this: truth and beauty will die when you die. (And that’s bad.)

Sonnet 15 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Read by: Melissa Myers)

Melissa Myers

Melissa Myers

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque’d even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

Argument: Everything that grows is perfect and ripe for just a few moments, and appearances are often deceiving. Also, the same sun watches over both plants and people. So, when I see that you are fresh-looking and beautiful and will be always, I need to remind myself that this is not really the case: time and decay are killing you even as we speak. But, while time takes away your youth and beauty, I give it back to you in my poetry!

Sonnet 16 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, Act II, Read by: Miki Laval)

Miki Laval

Miki Laval

But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And fortify yourself in your decay
With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
And many maiden gardens yet unset
With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit:
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this, Time’s pencil, or my pupil pen,
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself keeps yourself still,
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet skill.

Argument: Why don’t you wage war with time properly and find a better way to defeat it than to rely on my poetry? There are plenty of women right now who would love to have your kids which, let’s face it, make better duplicates than paintings. My poetry just isn’t going to be good enough, man. You need to use your own… er, pen to create a copy of yourself.

Sonnet 17 (Episode: Henry VI, Part I, Act III, Read by: Hannah Dorozio)

Hannah Dorozio

Hannah Dorozio

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were fill’d with your most high deserts?
Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say ‘This poet lies:
Such heavenly touches ne’er touch’d earthly faces.’
So should my papers yellow’d with their age
Be scorn’d like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term’d a poet’s rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:
But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice; in it and in my rhyme.

Argument: No one’s going to believe my poems about you in the future even if it’s filled with details about just how awesome you are. Really, my poems will leave out way more than they can show. They’ll just think I made all of this stuff up. Unless one of your descendants were around so they could see that you live again: in your son’s life and in my kick-ass poems!

(Podcast recorded and edited by Daniel J. Rowe, Show notes by Eric Jean)

Stay in touch, Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 6-11

14 Feb
artwork - Leigh McRae

artwork – Leigh McRae

It’s been a while since the last (and first) Bard Brawl’s sonnets podcast but we’re back with the second installment of Shakespeare’s sonnets, as read by our lovely sonneteers. And just in time for Saint-Valentine’s day.

I’ve taken the liberty of ‘translating’ the main argument (that’s sort of the plot or central progression of images of the poem) into something close to my own version of everyday English.

Listen to the podcast – here

Download the podcast.

Sonnet 6 (Episode: Coriolanus, Act V, Read by: Laura Pellicer)

Laura Pellicer

Laura Pellicer

Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill’d:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty’s treasure, ere it be self-kill’d.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That’s for thyself to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:
Then what could death do, if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
Be not self-will’d, for thou art much too fair,
To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.

Argument: Don’t let old age get to you! Find a way to bottle some of those youthful good looks for later… hey, I have an idea: if you have ten kids and they have ten kids, then you’ll have a hundred copies of your awesomeness! FYI, if you don’t then the only people who get a piece of your beauty are the worms who will eat your corpse. Just saying.

Sonnet 7 (Episode: Henry VI, Part I, Act I, Read by: Melissa Myers)

Melissa Myers

Melissa Myers

Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Lifts up his burning head, each under eye
Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,
Serving with looks his sacred majesty;
And having climb’d the steep-up heavenly hill,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age,
yet mortal looks adore his beauty still,
Attending on his golden pilgrimage;
But when from highmost pitch, with weary car,
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
The eyes, ‘fore duteous, now converted are
From his low tract and look another way:
So thou, thyself out-going in thy noon,
Unlook’d on diest, unless thou get a son.

Argument: In the morning (and when you’re young) everybody looks up admiringly at you. And even when you get a little older but are still young-ish like sun at noon, then people still want to be and get with you. But once you’re old and ugly, no one cares to pay any attention to you anymore. So, unless you have a son, you will die alone and unnoticed. (Ouch!)

Sonnet 8 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew, Act IV, Read by: Virginie Tremblay

Virginie Tremblay

Virginie Tremblay

Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lovest thou that which thou receivest not gladly,
Or else receivest with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: ‘thou single wilt prove none.’

Argument: Why are you annoyed by beautiful music? If you’re annoyed by harmony that’s because they’re making fun of your refusal to seek out a harmonious marriage. In the end, a family is like music with father, mother and child where together the create something beautiful and proper. Their message? You can’t make either music or children alone.

Sonnet 9 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew, Act III, Read by: Kayla Cross)

Kayla Cross

Kayla Cross

Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
That thou consumest thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife;
The world will be thy widow and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep
By children’s eyes her husband’s shape in mind.
Look what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty’s waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unused, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murderous shame commits.

Argument: Oh, I get it: you don’t want to find a wife because you’re afraid that you’ll just make her sad if you die before her. But, think about how much worse it would be to die with no children? Then everybody else will be bawling because there’s no one around with your special blend of dashing good looks. At least a widow can remember her husband through her children! So, if you don’t have any kids you destroy yourself. And so that makes you a murderer for being so selfish and self-centered.

Sonnet 10 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew, Act V, Read by: Maya Pankalla)

Maya Pankalla

Maya Pankalla

For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any,
Who for thyself art so unprovident.
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,
But that thou none lovest is most evident;
For thou art so possess’d with murderous hate
That ‘gainst thyself thou stick’st not to conspire.
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind!
Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove:
Make thee another self, for love of me,
That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

Argument: You’re kind of a jerk, you know that? All of these people love you and yet you don’t love any of them back! In fact, you’re willing to kill yourself and deny everyone your wonderful self. You’re getting older by the minute and you should totally deal with that ASAP instead of just pretending it’s not happening. How can I convince you to have a kid? If you won’t do it for yourself, then have a little pity and do it for me.

Sonnet 11 (Episode: Coriolanus, the Speeches, Read by: Esther Viragh)

Esther Viragh

Esther Viragh

As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou growest
In one of thine, from that which thou departest;
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow’st
Thou mayst call thine when thou from youth convertest.
Herein lives wisdom, beauty and increase:
Without this, folly, age and cold decay:
If all were minded so, the times should cease
And threescore year would make the world away.
Let those whom Nature hath not made for store,
Harsh featureless and rude, barrenly perish:
Look, whom she best endow’d she gave the more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.

Argument: As you get older, you kids will grow up and eventually look like you do now, pre-old man. having kids is the beautiful, wise and right thing to do. Not having kids is stupid and you’ll grow old senile and alone. What if everybody decided not to have kids? Thin in thirty years there would be no one left. Sure, ugly people shouldn’t have kids but, come on: you’re one of the pretty ones! So, print up some copies of yourself for the sake of the human race!

Stay tuned for more poetry coming soon!

(Podcast recorded and edited by Daniel J. Rowe, Show notes by Eric Jean)

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BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 1-5

10 Oct

Artwork – Stephanie E.M. Coleman

In our first ever Short Poems podcast, Daniel, Maya Pankalla and I discuss Shakespeare’s Sonnets 1 through 5.

(Bonus maple syrup fun facts from David Kandestin)

Listen to the podcast here.

Every week we cap off our recording with a sonnet. In this episode of the Bard Brawl, we gather some of them up and discuss the first five of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Join us as we take you through them and add our many voices to 400+ years of debate: just who are these things supposed to be addressed to? Are they even supposed to go together? Why should we care?

Sonnet 1 (Episode: Coriolanus, Act I, Read by: Stephanie E.M. Coleman)

Stephanie E.M. Coleman reading Sonnet 1

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’st flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

Argument: We want beautiful creatures to reproduce so that when they age they leave behind a fresh, young replacement to carry on the legacy. But you’re so enamoured with yourself that you’ll end up denying us an offspring. If you keep this up, you’ll burn up all of your beauty by keeping it for yourself to look at.

Sonnet 2 (Episode: Coriolanus, Act II, Read by: Melissa Myers)

When fourty winters shall besiege 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.

Argument: When you’re old (apparently 40 meant something different then than now) your beauty will be a thing of the past. If anyone asks you where you’re beauty’s gone you’ll have nothing to say unless you have a child with whom to leave your beauty in trust. In this way you’ll still feel young even if you’re old.

Sonnet 3 (Episode: Coriolanus, Act III, Read by: Esther Viragh)

Esther Viragh reading Sonnet 3

Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose unear’d womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime:
So thou through windows of thine age shall see
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember’d not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.

Argument: Tell your reflection that now is the time to sire another copy of yourself in the flesh. By keeping to your reflection you rob mothers of sons and daughters. After all, you are your mother’s reflection and she re-lives her youth through yours. If you don’t have any children whose looks will be the memory of yours, you’ll die alone and forgotten. (Weren’t these supposed to be about love or something?…)

Sonnet 4 (Episode: Coriolanus, Act IV, Read by: Virginie Tremblay)

Virginie Tremblay reading Sonnet 4

Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thyself thy beauty’s legacy?
Nature’s bequest gives nothing but doth lend,
And being frank she lends to those are free.
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thyself alone,
Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive.
Then how, when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
Thy unused beauty must be tomb’d with thee,
Which, used, lives th’ executor to be.

Argument: Why do you store up your wealth of beauty? Nature doesn’t give out gifts but rather lends them. You should give back freely of what nature has given you. What account of your fortune can you give if you hoard your beauty? It will just be buried along with you, no one will remember you and you will have nothing to show for it. (Compare this sonnet with the character of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice who is accused of hoarding both his money and his daughter.)

Sonnet 5 (Episode: Merchant of Venice, The Speeches, Read by: Kayla Cross)

Kayla Cross reading Sonnet 5

Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel:
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter and confounds him there;
Sap cheque’d with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o’ersnow’d and bareness every where:
Then, were not summer’s distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty’s effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it nor no remembrance what it was:
But flowers distill’d though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Argument: Just as the passage of time turned you from a boy into a man, it will keep passing until you reach your winter years and eventually die. Then, if you haven’t distilled your beautiful essence while it was still time, it will be snowed over and lost forever. But, if you pass your beauty on to another it will survive even though you won’t.

Next week the Brawlers begin a new play. Which one will it be? You’ll have to listen to find out!

(Podcast recorded and edited by Daniel J. Rowe, Show notes by Eric Jean)

The brawlers for this week are Daniel J. Rowe, Eric Jean and Sonneteer Maya Pankalla