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Thursday
Apr232009

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore . . .

We'll begin today with the Bard of Avon. Today is the death day of William Shakespeare. This day is also celebrated as his birthday, but we don't know for certain if that is true. We only know he was baptized on April 26, 1564. We are certain that Shakes died on Apr 23, 1616. Later today, I'll have a couple more posts on Shakespeare and other writers who share death anniversaries on April 23.

But first the Great Shakes.

A couple interviews with contemporary Shakespeareans: Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the Globe Theatre, and Michael Boyd, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Here's Boyd on the Sonnets, which were published 400 years ago this year (another anniversary!):

Far from being a minority pursuit at the RSC, studying the Sonnets is a core activity, he explains. 'They provide one of main agencies of teaching actors. You can really start to dig into Shakespeare’s habits in miniature with the Sonnets. An awful lot of them are miniature plays. If ever I’m in danger of feeling superficial about the way I read the plays, I go back to the Sonnets and just follow all that filigree thought and layered consideration.

The Telegraph interview with Boyd also includes my new favorite sonnet, number 60, which will be read at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford this Sunday:

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

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