Tag Archives: Sonnet 8

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 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)

Stay in touch, Brawlers!

Follow @TheBardBrawl on Twitter.

Like our Facebook page.

Email the Bard Brawl at bardbrawl@gmail.com

BB: Taming of the Shrew, Act IV

14 Nov

Welcome to act IV of The Taming of the Shrew!

Listen to the podcast – here

Download the podcast.

Having skipped the wedding feast, Kate and Petruchio make their way to Petruchio’s estate at the start of act IV. In the first scene, Grumio arrives at Petruchio’s estate ahead of the new couple in order to ensure that everything is in order to welcome them home. He gives a short account of their trip and concludes that Petruchio is far more shrewish than Kate ever was. Petruchio and Kate arrive and dinner is served. However, Petruchio pretends to take issue with the supper because it’s not good enough for his new wife and he sends her off to bed. Petruchio then confides in the audience how he plans to break Kate: he’ll starve her and deprive her of sleep so that she’ll have no choice but to bow to his wishes.

We return to Bianca and her suitors in scene 2. Lucentio (disguised as Cambio of course) professes to teach Bianca about the Art of Love, most likely a reference to Ovid’s Ars Amatoria. Ovid’s book is basically a handbook for managing relationships, one of the main themes of The Taming of the Shrew. When Bianca wishes ‘Cambio’ good luck in his courtship, Tranio (disguised as Lucentio) pretends to be deeply offended by her lack of constancy: she swore to love only Lucentio and now here she is wishing ‘Cambio’ good luck. This convinces Hortensio to drop his disguise and both he and Tranio swear to give up their pursuit of Bianca. Hortensio will instead marry a rich widow. Once he leaves, the three conspirators – Bianca, Tranio and Lucentio – realise that all they need now is an old man to play the role of Lucentio’s father so he can give his consent to the terms of the marriage. Biondello points out a suitable pedant (a merchant, basically) and Tranio quickly convinces him to play the role of Vincetio, Lucentio’s father.

Scene 3 picks up where Petruchio left off. Kate is begging Grumio for food who keeps offering up alternatives then shooting them down as inappropriate to his new mistress. She bets him for toying with her. Petruchio (and Hortensio who has come to Petruchio’s ‘Taming School’) walks in and offers Kate some food. He threatens to take it away when she fails to thank him for his kindness. He then calls in a tailor and a haberdasher who he had commissioned to make new clothes for Kate. He claims that none of these outfits are good enough for his precious Kate and turns the clothiers out despite Kate’s protests. He decides they’ll head back to Baptista’s house dressed as they are. He thinks they can make it in time for supper but Kate points out that it’s later than he thinks. He responds that it will be whatever time he says it is.

Now that Tranio, Lucentio and Bianca have beaten away the other suitors and found a stand-in for Vincentio, it time in scene 4 for Lucentio and Bianca to sneak away to get married in secret while Tranio and the pedant secure Baptista’s final blessing for the union of Bianca and Lucentio. Tranio brings Baptista inside to finish the paperwork freeing the way for the lovers to slink off in secret. The hope is that once they are legally married, and have a document singed by Baptista’s hand stating that he consents to the marriage, it will be too late for him to do anything about it and he’ll have to abide by the letter of his contract.

In scene 5 Petruchio finishes his taming of Kate: he argues that it is night but Kate points out that the sun is shining. He says that it will be whatever time of day or night he says. When they come across a traveller, Kate greets him only to be told by Petruchio that he is actually a young maiden. She address the old man as a woman but Petruchio mocks her for doing so. She apologizes to the old man. This must be the point at which Petruchio decides he’s won because he doesn’t toy with her any further. They offer to have the old man travel to Padua with them and they discover that they are going to the same place: this is Vicentio, Lucentio’s father.

What are we supposed to make of a play in which one of the main plot points revolves around starving and mentally abusing a woman? This is the main objection of contemporary audiences to The Taming of the Shrew.

Petruchio essentially tortures Kate into submission. He begins by denying her sleep and food. Then, once she’s hungry and exhausted, he bullies her into compliance by contradicting her at every turn. At last, exhausted and exasperated, she has no choice but to agree to whatever inane statements and commandments he feels like making.

One thing which Miki pointed out during our recording of this act is that Shakespeare is adapting a story motif which was very popular in folk tales and fabliaux which, by Shakespeare’s time, had long circulated in England. In many of these stories, the violence done to the shrew is taken to much further extremes, with the very few acts beyond the scope of what was acceptable for a man to use when matched with a shrewish wife.

I said on air that a shrew was a type of bird similar to a small hawk which was used by huntsmen in late 16th century England. In fact, I made a case that the title Taming of the Shrew puns on the notion of training birds of prey. The method most often used to break the bird to the falconer, as described in late medieval and early Renaissance falconry manual, is very much like what is done to Kate. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any etymological evidence to support my claim. So, while I might be wrong about the title and the word “shrew” itself (which actually describes a small rodent), that parallel still exists in the play. In fact, it might partially explain why the whole thing is set up in this way by the prelude’s lord and his huntsmen. This would suggest that Kate is a wild beast – specifically a small rodent thought at the time to possess as venomous bite – that needs to be broken in and civilized by Petruchio. It also suggests that Christopher Sly (and maybe even the audience?) is no better than an animal who the lord sees as his responsibility to tame.

Is that really the purpose of the play? Who is learning what in the end? And does Shakespeare somehow manage to elevate The Taming of the Shrew above the level of misogynist farce?

I’ll let you decide.

Don’t forget to visit and support Jay Reid‘s film’s Indiegogo page. It’s called “Byline” and he needs money.

Artwork – Leigh Macrae

(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