Friday, July 1, 2016

A Poem and Two Soliloquies by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
    This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
    To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

To be, or not to be 

To be, or not to be—that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep—
To sleep: perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus, conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. –Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

(Hamlet Act 3. Sc.1, 64-98)

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

(Macbeth Act. 5 Sc. 5, 22-31)

“Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays and over 150 short and long poems, many of which are considered to be the finest ever written in English. His works have been translated into every major living language, and some others besides (the Folger's holdings include translations in Esperanto and Klingon), and nearly 400 years after his death, they continue to be performed around the world. The Folger has copies of every play, from the earliest printings to modern editions, and we offer carefully edited print and digital texts. Follow the links below for more information, including plot synopses, brief textual histories, and selected images from our collection” (Folger Shakespeare Library). 

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)


  1. Thou maketh me think of Sir Donald Trumpet, "and by the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes." Act 4, Scene 1, 2nd witch in Macbeth

  2. The great God of Coincidence strikes again.
    My wife and I recently watched Macbeth with Orson Welles and Jeanette Nolan. It is a work of genius directed and starred in by a 20th Century filmmaking genius. Two days later we watched it again.
    We then played our CD of Verdi's opera, Macbetto starring Piero Cappucilli who was the world class performer of the part for two decades. (He was tragically crippled for 13 years in a car crash.) I was a supernumerary in that opera with Cappucilli for eight rehearsals and eight performances. During scenes I was not in, I watched the entire opera in the wings each night. Everyone knew we were witnessing what would later be referred to as historic performances. I will never forget him and those performances. Drama and singing of the highest order in an Opera by the extraordinary Giuseppe Verdi who revered Shakespeare and carried his complete works with him as he travelled the world. He read them on his own deathbed in Milan.
    If opera is not for you, watch the Welles film. Shakespeare would probably have appreciated the production and acting.