BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 6-11

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

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BB: Short Poems, Sonnets 6-11

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)

Stay in touch, Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

BB: Coriolanus, Act V

“Mine eyes do sweat compassion,” Coriolanus, Act V, iii

The perfect line for all those who cry at inappropriate times. Sadly, just as perfect for those highly appropriate times like the funeral of your beloved’s grandfather.

We’ll miss you Zaida Harry.

Welcome all to the final act of Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Coriolanus.

Listen to the podcast here.

The last act ended one a conspiratory note where we overheard Tullus Aufidius and one of his lieutenants plotting Coriolanus’ downfall. However, in act V, scene I, we leave Aufidius to his scheming and turn our attention back to Rome. Cominius returns from his visit to the Volscian camp where he has pleaded with Coriolanus to lay down his arms and not strike against Rome. He gives the gathered tribunes and patricians a play by play of his petition but his mission is a failure: Coriolanus will not cease his hostile actions against Rome. Furthermore, he appears to have broken all of his bonds of affection with Rome and its citizens. He has become a relentless juggernaut of war. With few options available to them, the Romans convince Menenius – Coriolanus’ closet friend – to journey to the Volscian camp and see if he can leverage their friendship into compassion for Rome.

When Menenius arrives at the Volscian camp in scene 2, he is initially denied access to Coriolanus by the sentinels standing guard outside the camp. (Curiously enough, these are also identified as Senators in our online edition.) They say that Coriolanus has no interest in speaking with anyone from Rome. Menenius argues with them that Coriolanus will want to hear from him given their long friendship but they only respond that he should hate Rome, as Coriolanus does, because they banished its greatest warrior. Aufidius and Coriolanus arrive on the scene, drawn by the sound of the argument at the gates. Menenius tries to plead his case but Coriolanus tells him that he has cut all ties with Rome and won’t hear another word. He does, however, hand him a letter before sending him on his way.

After Cominius and Menenius’ failure to talk Coriolanus out of taking his vengeance on Rome, the desperate Romans go to their backup plan and send in the women: Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia, his wife Virgilia, his son (young) Martius, and Valeria, a friend of the family. Coriolanus has just sworn not to listen to any more petitions from Rome when they three women and the boy Martius are lead into the camp at the start of scene 3. Coriolanus swears to act “As if a man were author of himself,” as if his family was of no significance to him and he exists in the world unfettered by relationships. At first, he stands his ground but when the women kneel and Volumnia pleads with him he finds himself unable to remain unmoved. He agrees to broker a peace between the Volscians and the Romans but in convincing him to stand down, Coriolanus believes his mother has doomed him.

In scenes 4 and 5, the Romans receive the good news that they won’t be crushed beneath Coriolanus’ war machine thanks to the pleas of the three women. It seems Menenius is mistaken and that Coriolanus does, in fact, have “more mercy / in him than there is milk in a male tiger.” The news arrives just in time because the angry plebeians have captured the tribune Junius Brutus and are threatening to kill him slowly for having banished Coriolanus. As the people welcome the women home, they repeal his banishment.

Coriolanus, however, is not returning home in scene 6. As he has sworn to serve as a soldier to the Volscian cause, he returns to Antium to continue his service as well as to deliver the final terms of the peace treaty he has negotiated on behalf of the Volsces. Before he arrives, Tullus Aufidius has prepared a letter for the Volscian in which he accuses Coriolanus of being a traitor to the Volscian cause. Aufidius is worried that if he allows Coriolanus to address the people he will be able to sway them from sentencing him to death and se he decides to strike Coriolanus before he can give an account of his actions. Coriolanus presents the lords of Antium with the treaty but Aufidius tells them not to read it. He and his men fall upon Coriolanus and kill him. In the aftermath, Aufidius tells them that he just saved them from danger by killing Coriolanus. Moments later, he orders his body to be carried out and buried with honours.

The final act of Coriolanus seems like a bit of a letdown in the end. The tension builds in the first few scenes until at last the women talk him out of waging war and return to the city to great acclaim. The final scene in particular is very disappointing. Coriolanus returns to the city and before he can do anything, he’s once again accused of treason. He’s unceremoniously murdered by Aufidius and his lackeys and then, in the same breath, his body is carried off-stage and the play ends. This is actually an interesting trend we’ve noticed while reading our way through Shakespeare’s plays. A lot of them are really rockin’ through the first four-and-a-half acts but then they wrap up awkwardly or suddenly in a way that’s really unsatisfying or downright confusing. Either Shakespeare wasn’t good with endings or there’s something we haven’t quite understood about what made for a good ending in the late 16th century.

For instance, the short speech which caps this play, in which Aufidius claims to regret his actions, seems totally disingenuous. Is that intentional on Shakespeare’s part? While we’ve seen all of Aufidius’ plotting behind the scenes and have every reason to distrust his words, the lords of Antium have not. It’s likely he’s not saying these words for our benefit but for that of the Volscian lords in attendance. That would paint him as a sort of ‘Noble Brutus’ – the one who kills Julius Caesar because he believes him to be a tyrant, not the tribune Brutus in Coriolanus – who kills Coriolanus to avoid a greater danger to the Volsces.

It’s also interesting that Shakespeare ends the play here because in Plutarch, we learn that after Coriolanus’ death some of the Volsces’ other enemies saw their chance to attack them and picked them to pieces. Tullus Aufidius is eventually killed and the Volsces never recover. They’re eventually conquered by the Romans, making Coriolanus’ death one of the factors in the Roman Republic’s early expansion. Still, does Coriolanus in fact “have a noble memory”? Not so sure.

In our next podcast, we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite speeches from Coriolanus. If you have any passages you’d like us to discuss, please leave us a comment!

Also, don’t forget to check in on some of our Brawlers:

Check out David Wheaton‘s band page, and go to his show when in your town.

Jay Reid’s film page can be viewed here, and a trailer for his new film here.

Newest Bard Brawler Laura Pellicer reads Sonnet 6

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

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