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Thread: Shakespeare's sonnets

  1. #61
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    I'm getting really tired of being let down by LitNet technology.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-22-2019 at 02:38 PM.

  2. #62
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    Okay, let's try that again.

    Quote Originally Posted by stanley2 View Post
    I think Professor Shapiro reminded us that in Huck Finn there are two clownish characters who quote(or misquote) Shakespeare. I recall on TV the memorial service for a Supreme Court justice where the speaker recited the "goodnight sweet prince" line. Therefore, Shakespeare is to some extent part of American English. The word "bark" is also found in Romeo and Juliet(Capulet, 3.5 and Romeo, 5.3).[/I think Professor Shapiro reminded us that in Huck Finn there are two clownish characters who quote(or misquote) Shakespeare.
    Here is Twain's answer to Shakespeare. It's pretty funny.

    To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
    That makes calamity of so long life;
    For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane,
    But that the fear of something after death
    Murders the innocent sleep,
    Great nature’s second course,
    And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune
    Than fly to others that we know not of.
    There’s the respect must give us pause:
    Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst;
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
    The law’s delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take,
    In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn
    In customary suits of solemn black,
    But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns,
    Breathes forth contagion on the world,
    And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i’ the adage,
    Is sicklied o’er with care,
    And all the clouds that lowered o’er our housetops,
    With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.
    ’Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the fair Ophelia:
    Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,
    But get thee to a nunnery—go!

    Quote Originally Posted by stanley2 View Post
    I recall on TV the memorial service for a Supreme Court justice where the speaker recited the "goodnight sweet prince" line. Therefore, Shakespeare is to some extent part of American English.
    And there was Henry Kissinger's eulogy at Nixon's funeral: "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." Everybody wants to get into the act. I remember Philip Roth losing his offal over that in one of his books.

    [QUOTE=stanley2;1365615]The word "bark" is also found in Romeo and Juliet(Capulet, 3.5 and Romeo, 5.3).

    It's in The Tempes, too.

    Well demanded, wench:
    My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,
    So dear the love my people bore me, nor set
    A mark so bloody on the business, but
    With colours fairer painted their foul ends.
    In few, they hurried us aboard a bark,
    Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepared
    A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd,
    Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
    Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us,
    To cry to the sea that roar'd to us, to sigh
    To the winds whose pity, sighing back again,
    Did us but loving wrong.

  3. #63
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    Thanks, Pompey Bum. I've not read Huck Finn in a while. Twain may have been inspired, in part, by the First Quarto version of the "To be" speech. I guess he was also responding to the subject of this thread. Therefore, is "waste" a pun on "waist" in HAMLET, Act 2, scene 2 line 231 or so? I'm also reminded of Tom Stoppard's, I don't have it in front of me," We are dealing with a language that makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style."

  4. #64
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    And the New York Yankees played the Boston Red Sox in London last weekend. So, as Twain's piece seems to be all HAMLET and MACBETH except the second to the last line(Romeo's "Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open"(ROM5.3.47 or so), one might recall the comedy bit SHAKESPEAREAN BASEBALL from the 1950's. It is broadcast regularly by Chicago radio station WFMT(once a year, anyway). They tell us that there are two sonnets within R&J.

  5. #65
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    "And all the clouds that lowered o’er our house[tops]" is easy to miss, but of course it is (mostly) from Richard III. The Duke says housetops instead of house because he is an ignoramus and a fraud. He and the King are small time grifters who fall in with Huck and Jim for a while They turn out to be dirty rats indeed, but the Shakespearean soliloquy comes earlier on when it looks like they may be nothing more than fops. I don't know the Shakespearean Baseball routine you mention, but it sounds clever.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-02-2019 at 09:32 PM.

  6. #66
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    Nice Catch!

    Holy cow! A Shakespearean Weather Report(P.B. noted that Twain referred to the first lines of R3). Twain, then, may have also had in mind "The devil can site Scripture for his purpose"(MV1.3.96 or so), and the subject of this thread: The 1964 Signet edition reads "loured" rather than " lowered." "Grim-visaged War hath smoothed his wrinkled front" is not out in left field, yet what season is it? The introduction to R3 in the Signet edition reads: "RICHARD III is above all a play for the stage. It was Shakespeare's first great success." I haven't read the play. I suppose I could fetch the BBC video from a library.

  7. #67
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    Yes, of course, lour'd. I'm as bad as the Duke. The poetry in Richard III is gorgeous to read or listen to. It was the first Shakespeare play I read as a college student. I still remember the odd beauty of the verses that won me over, thick-headed Phillistine though I was.

    Lord, Lord! methought, what pain it was to drown!
    What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears!
    What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!
    Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
    Ten thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
    Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
    Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
    All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea:
    Some lay in dead men's skulls; and, in those holes
    Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
    As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
    Which woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
    And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-07-2019 at 07:04 PM.

  8. #68
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    A quote from Professor Bate is in order: "As Shakespeare stitched together multiple sources to make his plays, so the collection called Shakespeare's Sonnets stitches together multiple poems with very different origins and styles to make a single narrative. But this narrative should no more be read back literally into Shakespeare's life than should the narrative of that other lovely boy, Viola/Cesario."

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    He's probably right. As Catullus angrily observed (and in verse), it's a mistake to try to infer a poet from his poems. It's mighty tempting, though, with both of them--and any other bard about whom we know little else.

  10. #70
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    Professor Bate goes on: "TWELFTH NIGHT is highly relevant here. Of all Shakespeare's plays, it is closest to the sonnets in it's anatomy of what Meres called 'the perplexities of love'...........If Orsino is the conventional Elizebethan sonneteer, Olivia is the parodist of the genre." He also seems to like the possibility that many of the sonnets were addressed to Southhampton and some written later with another young aristocrat in mind.

  11. #71
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    The excerpt from R3(posted by P.B.) and the "wand'ring bark"(posted by kev67) might recall John Barth's Short Story NIGHT-SEA JOURNEY. There is a nice critique online noting several allusions in the story. The critic notes references to C. G. Jung and Voltaire for example. The critic leaves the Shakespearean references to us. The title is certainly intended to recall Juliet's "Gallop apace" speech(R&J3.2) and Lady Macbeth's "thick night"(MAC1.5.51). Early in the story, "I rehearse as to a stranger," may recall Hamlet's "And therefore as a stranger give it welcome"(HAM1.5.165). The conclusion of the story is interesting to compare to Romeo's last lines. After such stuff it is refreshing, as P.B. suggested, to return to a A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Scholars note that in Bottom's speech(quoted by P.B.), we also find an allusion to 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. The fantasy of a queen doting on a commoner was surely one that his audience enjoyed in that historical moment. As P.B. noted, there are other implications.

  12. #72
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    On reading back the narrative, or as Professor Greenblatt put it: "Is it the truth or a piece of flattering rhetoric?" Online is a nice commentary( the one with the white flowers) where we find on Sonnet 33: "How serious or real this was we have no means of knowing..........Most readers, however, take it as having autobiographical content." Michael Wood suggested that this poem refers to the loss of the poet's son in 1596. We then might say that the Sonnets are very near to autobiographical, yet not quite. The ending of 87 supports this opinion: "Thus have I had thee. as a dream doth flatter, / In sleep a king, but waking, no such matter."

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