Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shakespeare Still pwns You

Yesterday marked William Shakespeare's 447th birthday. On yesterday's episode of Prairie Home Companion (yes, I am 73-years-old and sometimes I listen to Prairie Home Companion on Saturday afternoons), they celebrated by bringing in actors to recite a number of Shakespeare's sonnets.

An actress named Liz Lark Brown read Sonnet 43. I recommend you listen to it by clicking here and fast-forwarding to the 56:25 mark, because it's the most stupidly beautiful piece of writing I've come across in some time.

How is it possible, four centuries later, that Shakespeare is still kicking all of our asses?

Sonnet 43:
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 form 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.