One of many notable Shakespearean quotes (King Lear). I like to take it further than King Lear telling Cordelia, his daughter, that she won’t get anything from him if she doesn’t praise him—if you don’t make an effort, ain’t nothing going to happen. Period.
Post # 4 re writers/books that have influenced/impressed me over the years is dedicated to The Bard, who I never tire of. I love The Sonnets in particular but could read Hamlet or Macbeth for the umpteenth time. True escapism. Traveling to another time and place. Yes, a definite favorite.
This great English playwright, dramatist, poet and actor prompted me to immerse myself in English history. A fascinating period, yet I can’t say I’d like to have lived in those turbulent times with gruesome sports—bear baiting to this animal lover goes beyond despicable. I do, however, rather enjoy the “romanticism” that bleeds from the pages of certain plays, the immorality that trickles from many, and the cleverness that courses from others.
I think one of my favorites is Sonnet 43—there are 150 as an FYI—When Most I Wink, Then Do Mine Eyes See Best.
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form from happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
This sonnet, it’s said, comes after three that are known as the “betrayal sonnets”. It’s believed that betrayal is staining the emotions the narrator is expressing. In the first lines, the speaker refers to the differences between his days and nights. At night, he can see because the youth illuminates his dreams; during the day, however, things are darker. I’m fine without clarification or elucidation; I simply enjoy reading Shakespeare for the sheer beauty of the lilting communication, and the vivid imagery he inspires.
It seems appropriate to end with this quote (from Hamlet):
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
As a writer, I’m always searching for just the right word—he smiled disarmingly, the gut-churning smell of rotting debris, the soothing scent of plumeria. The Bard always presents the perfect ones for the given episodes.