400 Years of Shakespeare

Today marks the 400th year of William Shakespeare’s death. It is astounding how the words of one man can live on for all of time, and have the same affect on us now that it did him so many years ago. I love to think that the way Shakespeare once felt I can feel too, it makes me believe that a part of his soul fully understands a piece of mine. I have always loved Shakespeare’s work from his plays to his sonnets, but my absolute favourite of all time is Sonnet 116. Everything that I believe about love is eloquently written with this sonnet and it makes me feel something each and every time that I read it. Below is Shakespeare’s sonnet on the left, and the paraphrased version on the right for better understanding. This is written and timed proof that there is nothing else greater or more fulfilling than a life that has love in it.

 

SONNET 116                                                                              PARAPHRASED

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Let me not declare any reasons why two
Admit impediments. Love is not love True-minded people should not be married. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, Which changes when it finds a change in circumstances,
Or bends with the remover to remove: Or bends from its firm stand even when a lover is unfaithful:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark Oh no! it is a lighthouse
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; That sees storms but it never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark, Love is the guiding north star to every lost ship,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Whose value cannot be calculated, although its altitude can be measured.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Love is not at the mercy of Time, though physical beauty
Within his bending sickle’s compass come: Comes within the compass of his sickle.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, Love does not alter with hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. But, rather, it endures until the last day of life.
If this be error and upon me proved, If I am proved wrong about these thoughts on love
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. Then I recant all that I have written, and no man has ever [truly] loved.
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