BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 24-29

Sonnets Brown

Happy New Year!

Welcome Brawlers to our first podcast of 2014 and the start of our third year of doing the show!

How awesome is that? Very.

We’re ready to help you out with your New Year’s resolution to increase your bardic intake! To start the year off right, today we’re sending a recording your way of sonnets 24 through 29, read by some of our amazing Sonnetters.

Listen to or download the podcast.

Sonnet 24 (Episode: Henry VI, part 1: Speeches, Read by: Erin Marie Byrnes)

Erin Byrnes
Erin Byrnes

Mine eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,
And perspective it is the painter’s art.
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictured lies;
Which in my bosom’s shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art;
They draw but what they see, know not the heart.

Argument: Picture this: my heart is a canvas, my body is an art gallery and my eyes are a painter. With me so far? My eyes then painted picture of you and put it on display in my body. When you look into my eyes, it’s like you’re looking in through the gallery windows. When the sun shines on the painting it makes it appear lifelike but here’s the problem: perspective is only a two-dimensional illusion that give the impression of three dimensions, it’s not the real thing.

(FYI/Helpful knowledge: Perspective in painting was the artistic discovery of the Renaissance. Kind of like 3-D television or printing.)

Sonnet 25 (Episode: King Lear, Act III, Read by: Zoey Baldwin)

Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook’d for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes’ favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye,
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil’d,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil’d:
Then happy I, that love and am beloved
Where I may not remove nor be removed.

Argument: Let the people who are lucky today gloat about what they have while I talk about what I’m lucky enough to have. People who are famous are subject to public opinion: it only takes one loss to ruin a fighter’s career or turn someone from a hero into a nobody. I’m happy then that my love isn’t subject to the whims of rulers and can’t be ruined by a change of fortune.

Sonnet 26 (Episode: Taming of the Shrew: Speeches, Read by: Laura Pellicer)

Laura Pellicer
Laura Pellicer

Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
To thee I send this written embassage,
To witness duty, not to show my wit:
Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,
But that I hope some good conceit of thine
In thy soul’s thought, all naked, will bestow it;
Till whatsoever star that guides my moving
Points on me graciously with fair aspect
And puts apparel on my tatter’d loving,
To show me worthy of thy sweet respect:
Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee;
Till then not show my head where thou mayst prove me.

Argument: The point of this message isn’t to show you how clever I am but rather it is to show you how committed I am to serve you. I can’t really find the words to describe the extent of my loyalty but I hope that you’ll get the picture from my actions. I’ll keep working at in until I get lucky enough to catch your eye. Then, and only then, will I risk revealing my feelings for you.

Sonnet 27 (Episode: Twelfth Night, Act V, Read by: Hannah Dorozio)

Hannah Dorozio
Hannah Dorozio

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.

Argument: After a long day of work, I can’t wait to get to bed to rest my tired body. But as soon as I fall asleep my mind starts racing after you. Even though my eyes are looking into the back of my eyelids, they can still make out your shape. So even though night is ugly, you’re like a shining gem which makes it beautiful. Basically, I can’t win: I just can’t seem to get any rest or peace at all.

Sonnet 28 (Episode: King Lear, Act II, Read by: Erin Marie Byrnes)

How can I then return in happy plight,
That am debarr’d the benefit of rest?
When day’s oppression is not eased by night,
But day by night, and night by day, oppress’d?
And each, though enemies to either’s reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day, to please them thou art bright
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven:
So flatter I the swart-complexion’d night,
When sparkling stars twire not thou gild’st the even.
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer
And night doth nightly make grief’s strength
seem stronger.

Argument: How can I be happy if day and night each make me tired? Though they’re supposed to be enemies, day and night have allied to make my life miserable. I try flattering the day by telling it that you’re like the sun. I tell the night that you’re like a bright star. But it’s not working: they both just keep making me more and more miserable.

Sonnet 29 (Episode: Twelfth Night, Act IV, Read by: Zoey Baldwin)

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,
Featured 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.

Argument: At times I feel isolated and alone, unlucky and rejected by society. I get envious of other people’s success, good looks, friends or even their abilities or fame, and I no longer enjoy the things I’ve always liked. I almost end up hating myself. When that happens, I think about you and then I feel my spirits rise up. I feel so good about my life when I think about your love that I wouldn’t trade places with kings.

Next week, we start on a new play. Which play will be the Bard Brawl’s 9th play?

Send us your comments and suggestions or we’re just going to let the cats – Wako and Desdemona – decide.

Desdemona ("Dezzie")
Desdemona (“Dezzie”)

If you would like to lend your voice to the Bard Brawl and contribute a sonnet, or even a monologue or soliloquy, to the Bard Brawl, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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BB: Taming of the Shrew, the Speeches

Welcome to the speeches podcast for The Taming of the Shrew!

Listen to the podcast – here

Download the podcast.

artwork - Leigh Macrae
artwork – Leigh Macrae

We had a hard time finding worthy speeches for our Coriolanus speeches podcast because there was so much to choose from. In The Taming of the Shrew we have the opposite problem. Except for the passages we’ve picked out below, there just isn’t that much that just wants to stand up and be quoted. That’s because so much of the comedy in the play is physical: a lot of servants being slapped and pulled by the ears. Three Stooges kind of stuff.

All of the speeches for this podcast are from the Petruchio & Katharine subplot, because we’ve found that most of the memorable lines of the play belong to either Petruchio or Katharine. The other main plotline, the courtship and secret marriage between Lucentio & Bianca, just doesn’t have the depth and inventiveness that is so characteristic of Shakespeare. This subplot is just so… well, plot-heavy. Most of the fun is in tracking all of the characters as they swap clothing and identities on stage. Good for a laugh but not quite up to Shakespeare’s best.

“Such wind as scatters young men through the world…” Act I, Scene 2 lns. 48-74
Speakers: Petruchio, Hortensio
Petruchio runs into his friend Hortensio who asks him what brings him to Padua. He’s hoping to find a rich wife here in Padua. It’s not clear how rich Petruchio is but he clearly doesn;t think himself rich enough. Hortensio mentions Katharine to Petruchio who sees himself as up to the challenge of taming her so long as she comes with a rich dowry. While Petruchio is explicit that he’ll be happy with any wife so long as she’s rich, how sincere is he being? Wouldn’t Petruchio – based on what we learn about him over the course of the play – be bored out of his mind if he had married someone like Bianca instead? Isn’t there something ‘right’ about the Petruchio-Katharine match?

“Signior Petruchio, will you go with us…” Act II, Scene 1 lns. 164-196
Speakers: Baptista, Petruchio, Katharine
This is the first meeting between Petruchio and Kate and is one of the few times where these two characters are completely alone on stage. Petruchio tells us first how he plans to flatter Kate no matter what she does in order to win her over despite herself. When Katharine does arrive, she and Petruchio start trading insults and when Baptista returns, Petruchio declares that he’s won her over. When Katharine denies this, Petruchio just says that they’ve worked out a deal; Katharine will be kind and loving when she’s alone with him, but as shrewish as she wants when other people are around. What do you make of Petruchio’s courtship? Despite her denial, is some part of Kate won over despite what she says?

We’ve cut the exchange short but it’s worth listening to the whole thing. It’s one of the funniest exchanges in the play.

“Peter, didst ever see the like?” Act IV, Scene 1 lns. 159-192
Speakers: Nathaniel, Peter, Grumio, Curtis (Petruchio’s servants), Petruchio
This is where Petruchio outlines the final phase of his plan to tame Katharine. He describes how he’s going to “kill her [spirit] with kindness” by taking issue with everything that is done for her: nothing will be good enough for his darling Kate. He’s already sent away her supper and now he’s telling us how he’ll continue to starve her and deny her sleep until she’s reformed. How cruel is Petruchio’s plan? How far do we think he’d actually be willing to go to change Kate’s behaviour?

“Fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow…” Act V, Scene 2 lns. 140-183
Speaker: Katharine
Petruchio and the men have placed a wager on their wives: the one with the most obedient wife will win 100 crowns from the other two men. Lucentio and Hortensio call for their wives, but they refuse to come. When Petruchio calls for Kate, she arrives right away. He then asks her to fetch the other wives and when they return, Petruchio asks her to give them a sermon on the duties of a wife. This launches Katharine into the longest uninterrupted speech of the play. Does Petruchio actually manage to change Kate or is she just playing along? Does she mean what she says or is she and Petruchio just enjoying getting one over on everybody else? Is this something the audience is expected to take seriously or are we supposed to be laughing when she delivers her sermon?

Did we miss anything? Are there any passages you feel we’ve overlooked? Send us your hate mail / loving criticism!

Also, get your historian hats ready because next week the Brawlers read through part of Shakespeare’s take on the War of the Roses! (Go ahead and bookmark that page. You’ll thank us later.)

Bonus sonnet 26 read by Laura Pellicer.Laura Pellicer

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




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