BB: Sonnets 30-35

Artwork - Stephanie E.M. Coleman
Artwork – Stephanie E.M. Coleman

Welcome Brawlers (finally!) to another episode of the Bard Brawl!

So every so often, do you get that experience where you keep looking at a word which is spelt correctly but you’re just convinced that some letters are missing?

Yeah, that word today is sonnet. No idea what letters might be missing but it still seems… off.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that all of these sonnets have been recorded by male sonnetteers so maybe that’s what’s throwing me off this episode. However, I promise that you won’t be disappointed by our readers.

Enjoy the latest sonnets podcast, au masculin!


Listen to or download the podcast.


Sonnet 30 (Episode: Pericles, Act I; Read by: Eric Fortin)

Eric Fortin
Eric Fortin

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.

Argument: So, when I’m thinking about all the things I used to have but have any more, I feel about as crappy as I did when I first lost them. That makes me cry my eyes out about my dead friends and my worse breakups while I go through all of the worst moments of my life all over again. But if I think about you, then all that goes away and I feel awesome.

 

Sonnet 31 (Episode: King Lear, Speeches; Read by: Jack Konorska)

Jack Konorska
Jack Konorska

Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts,
Which I by lacking have supposed dead;
And there reigns Love, and all Love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought buried.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stol’n from mine eye,
As interest of the dead, which now appear
But things removed that hidden in thee lie!
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give,
That due of many now is thine alone:
Their images I loved, I view in thee,
And thou (all they) hast all the all of me.

Argument: Check this out. All those people who I thought were gone forever, well it turns out that I can kind of see them all when I look at you. Cool, right? Like, I totally thought I would never see any of them again but when I look at you it’s like – Bam! – they’re right there! So no more visiting each grave one at a time because you’re like a whole cemetery.

 

Sonnet 32 (Episode: Richard II, Act II; Read by: Jack Konorska)

If thou survive my well-contented day,
When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover
And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,
Compare them with the bett’ring of the time,
And though they be outstripped by every pen,
Reserve them for my love, not for their rhyme,
Exceeded by the height of happier men.
O! then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:
‘Had my friend’s Muse grown with this growing age,
A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
To march in ranks of better equipage:
But since he died and poets better prove,
Theirs for their style I’ll read, his for his love’.

Argument: If I die before you, and you just happen to come across my poems – entirely by accident, of course – can you please hold on to them and not recycle them. I know that these poems kinda suck so don’t keep them around because you like them but because you loved me. Oh, and can you please go around telling everyone: “Yeah, modern poetry is better but, you know, he wrote these for me so that’s pretty awesome.” (And maybe a little creepy.)

 

Sonnet 33 (Episode: Timon of Athens, Act IV; Read by: David Kandestin)

David Kandestin
David Kandestin

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

Argument: Man, I’ve seen the sunrise make the world look and feel golden so many times only to let itself get covered up by rude-ass clouds. You did that to me once, when you looked at me. It felt pretty amazing to know you were looking at me. But yeah, that didn’t last too long though. I’m not mad though, bro. If the sun can paint the sky red, why should I be mad that you sort of stab my heart like that?

 

Sonnet 34 (Episode: Twelfth Night, Speeches; Read by: “First” Jay Reid)

Jay Reid
Jay Reid

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
‘Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak,
That heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.

Argument: Why the hell did you tell me to leave my jacket at home when you knew it was going to rain? And then you rub it in my face by posting my picture on Facebook, too? You might have apologized but I’m still soaked. WTF? Oh… no. Stop. Please don’t cry. I didn’t mean… just… (sigh) It’s fine. Just forget I said anything. Don’t worry about it.

 

Sonnet 35 (Episode: Pericles, Act IV; Read by: Andre Simoneau)

Andre Simoneau
Andre Simoneau

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud:
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense,
Thy adverse party is thy advocate,
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence:
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
That I an accessary needs must be,
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.

Argument: Seriously,.don’t worry about it. You made a mistake, you’re only human. I guess. I mean, I just can’t stay mad at you, no matter how hard I try. Even when you mess up big. It’s messed up but I guess it’s just my lot in life to stick up for you, even if it means that I take your side over mine in every argument.

What’s coming up next on the Bard Brawl? Blood, and lots of it. Stay tuned!

If you like sonnets, or the Bard, or the Bard Brawlers, or cats, or Batman, or hockey, or poems, or artwork, or Game of Thrones, or Star Wars, or anything else you can think of, why not pick up a copy of the first edition of ‘Zounds!, a Bard Brawl Journal.

'Zounds!, Act I,i
‘Zounds!, Act I,i

Winter, 2014: ‘Zounds! Act I,scene i – One to Seventeen –

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BB: Pericles, Act I

Artwork - Daniel J. Rowe
Artwork – Daniel J. Rowe

(Podcast recorded and produced by Daniel J. Rowe, blog written and edited by Eric Jean)

Welcome Brawlers to our seventh play: Pericles, Prince of Tyre!

This one’s got everything you could hope for in a romance (and several things you didn’t ask for) all rolled into one messy mash-up.

Rather atypically for Shakespeare, this play open with a prologue. The spirit of John Gower comes before the audience and sets up the first act: we are in Antioch where Pericles is trying to win the hand of the princess of Antioch. To do so, he needs to answer a riddle. No big deal… except that if he gets the answer wrong he dies. Just how beautiful is this nameless wonder woman? (Heads up: in some editions, the prologue appears at the end of the previous act.)

To Pericles, in act I, scene 1, she seems to be just as attractive as advertised. That is, until Antiochus drops his riddle. Turns out the answer is “Antiochus is a sick bastard who has been screwing his daughter for years.” And it seems the daughter, who hasn’t said anything except for “I hope you’re the one to take me away from here forever,” was into it as well.

Now, I have no idea why Antiochus would want to advertise his disgusting acts in riddle form but he’s not too happy that Pericles has figured out what has been going on here. Rather than kill Pericles on the spot, Antiochus decides to play nice while he asks Thaliard to kill Pericles for him. I’m not sure how Pericles is justified in thinking that this is somehow the daughter’s fault but either way, he’s not interested in sticking around to collect his prize.

In act I, Scene 2, Pericles has returned home but is now concerned that Antiochus will not only seek to kill Pericles but may also take out his anger on the citizens of Tyre. He confides in his lords but they are chastised by Helicanus, Pericles’ closet advisor, for feeding him only the BS which they think he wants to hear. Helicanus, however, advises his lord to leave the city and travel, in the hopes that Antiochus’ anger may diminish in time. Or that the sick old man will die. Pericles leaves Helicanus in charge of the city then leaves for tarsus.

Act I, scene 3 is a short act in which Thaliard arrives in Tyre only to find out that Pericles has already left. He’s content to take his leave but Helicanus invites him to stick around and feast. is this a shred move to keep Thaliard under his watchful eye? No idea.

The final scene of the act opens on Cleon and Dionyza, the rulers of tarsus, not long before Pericles shows up. Seems Tarsus is going through a rough patch and the whole country is poor to the point of starvation. So Cleon bitches to Dionyza about how miserable he is until a messenger arrives informing them that Pericles’ ships have arrived. Cleon assumes that he’s here to beat up on his weakened nation but agrees to meet with Pericles. Pericles tells him he’s here on peaceful terms and Cleon invites him to stay as long as he wishes.

And that’s where it stands after one.

To help you follow along, here is a short list of some of the major characters appearing in this act (more or less in order of appearance). We’ll get to the other characters as they show up in the play:

  • Gower: This character takes no part in the action of the play but instead delivers the prologue which introduces each act. John Gower was an English write and contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. His main work is called the Confessio Amantis and, in particular, it talks to rulers about the dangers of flattery.
  • Antiochus, Ruler or Antioch: This sicko is advertising to the world in code that he’s having an incestuous relationship with his daughter. He’s not too happy when the ‘secret’ gets discovered.
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre: The Prince of Tyre is interested in finding a wife. He gets carried away on the sea and stuff happens to him. It starts with mostly random good stuff. Then some bad stuff. Then some surprising good stuff out of the bad stuff. The play spans about 20 years of his life.
  • Thaliard: One of Antiochus’ lords or knights who has been sent to kill Pericles. He’s pretty sure that Pericles will die at sea.
  • Helicanus: A lord of Tyre and Pericles’ most trusted advisor probably because he doesn’t spend his time blowing smoke up his ass. He is left in charge as regent of Tyre in Pericles’ absence.
  • Cleon: The ruler of Tarsus. Things are not going too well for him and he constantly assumes the worse of everyone and everyting. He’s also kind of a jerk.
  • Dionyza: Cleon’s wife, Dionyza, doesn;t say much. But based on what she does say, she must also be really hungry.

Now that you think you know what to expect from this play, get ready for act II where there is clearly no chance that some totally implausible, and slightly crazy, plot turns waiting for us.

Listen to or download the podcast.

An extra special sonnet 30 read by a mystery sonneteer who took time away from his studies in the caverns of Worcestershire where he spent his time pouring over ancient critiques of the poetry of Gower.

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