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Sonnets > Sonnet #23, Week 66, May 22

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message 1: by Candy (last edited Jan 31, 2019 03:45PM) (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
O'ercharged with burthen of mine own love's might.
O! let my books be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express'd.
O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.


message 2: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (goodreadscomdawn_irena) | 24 comments I do love how eloquently this is written. It is perfect for every nervous proclamation of feelings of endearment from the deepest heart. How often we feel that we lack the strength in voice and word choice to adequately describe the perfect descriptions for what our eyes and bodies betray or may fear to be misunderstood by the person in which we plead for love to be returned . We feel desperate that if what we say or do is not enough that the love we look upon will sense our true longing and in spite of all known communication that love will too sense a love in the same way that is felt the same towards the expressing unperfected actor. The aura, the chemistry , the electricity between two such people in love is often desired in most affairs of the heart.

I hope for this one day.


message 3: by Candy (last edited Jun 02, 2018 11:09AM) (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
I like how this poem begins as a modest comparison between stage fright or writers block....and the narrators inability to speak.

How strange to think of Shakespeare writing about writers block, stage fright or tongue tied loss-for-words. I don't think of him and those challenges. It seems he is so wordy...but all actors and writers struggle with writers block or performance fears from time to time.

But the poem becomes more complex when he compares this fear to "a fierce thing replete with too much rage"

He has linked fear with anger....which is quite profound.

A few days ago I posted this on FB....

“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It's true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it's more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They're opposites. If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” Kubler Ross.


message 4: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.


Two very powerful lines. I remember watching the movie The Glenn Miller Story and realizing that he wooed his wife with his music because he was unable to express himself any other way... so he wrote music that he hoped she would hear for what it was truly saying. I think a lot of songwriters and poets do this same thing. It's endearing to think S struggled with this also.


message 5: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Yes, I think you're right Janice. Gee...I forgot about what a great movie TGMS is!


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine | 434 comments Candy wrote: "I like how this poem begins as a modest comparison between stage fright or writers block....and the narrators inability to speak. How strange to think of Shakespeare writing about writers block,..."

Very interesting, and true! We never think of Shakespeare as having writer's block or tongue- tied-ness.

I like the thoughts about Love and Fear -- indeed they are the only two emotions.
"So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
O'ercharged with burthen of mine own love's might."

Afraid to say the wrong thing, we sometimes say nothing at all, only to our own detriment. Great sonnet!


message 7: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
So much easier to dream about our emotions in writing a poem or making art. Also...I believe the emotions transmit stronger with the unconsciousness embedded in art and poetry...

Saying things out loud takes away their power...in both good and bad ways. To say what we fear out loud....might make it less frightening and someone listening might reassure us....

But if that is true then saying love out loud might distill it or seem to weaken it...


message 8: by JimF (new)

JimF | 219 comments Theme of sonnet 23 is disguising. Some key words:

[1] an unperfect actor: a male actor playing a female role; unperfect in nature (gender), not in acting.
[2] his fear: the fear of disguising.
[5] fear of trust: the fear of trusting the authorities (so to disguise).
[6] love: love in this sonnet indicates the love of writing.
[7] decay: disguising will decay the power of words.

[9] my books: Shakespeare's books; not "my looks."
[10] And dumb presagers: anagrams (to disguise the true intention).
[13] learn to read: a warning for a new reading method.
[14] To hear with eyes, fine wit: the way to solve anagrams.

AS an vnperfect actor on the stage,[1]
Who with his feare is put besides his part,
Or some fierce thing repleat with too much rage,
Whose strengths abondance weakens his owne heart;

So I for feare of trust, forget to say,[5]
The perfect ceremony of loues right,
And in mine owne loues strength seeme to decay,
Ore-charg’d with burthen of mine owne loues might:

O let my books be then the eloquence,[9]
And domb presagers of my speaking brest,
Who pleade for loue, and look for recompence,
More then that tonge that more hath more exprest.

O learne to read what silent loue hath writ,[13]
To heare wit eies belongs to loues fine wiht.


message 9: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2752 comments Mod
Yes books not looks, Jim. Oops.

"my books" might referent to the play books and action guide writers and directors use that has lasers of meaning and direction not contained in the proper script with dialogue.

Oh how I wish we had those directors books.

I feel like not only does this poem hint at "learn to read" as Jim ays, learn to read the secrets and anagrams...but I think it also means that there has to be a back story brought to performance. I believe this poem is demonstrating the skill of a very good actor when they understand the character as alluding to we understand the words when we realize there is a suppressed design (sprezzatura) in Shakespeare's work.


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