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Sonnet 108

Read by Claire Marchionne
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Commentators remark on the implicit blasphemy, or sacrilege, of coupling the respect and love for the Deity with love of a fellow mortal.  Shakespeare gives the impression of a man having heard the arguments on both sides, of being respectful of religious conviction, of subscribing generally to the tenets of Christian doctrine, but having such a large admixture of tolerance and humanity in his being that he did not feel the need to espouse any one cause.  Besides, so many of the characters in his plays, Falstaff, Pistol, Autolycus, Sir Toby Belch, to name but a few, are almost completely outside the control of religion of any colour.

St John the Evangelist
from the Lindisfarne Gospel
What's in the brain, that ink may character,
Which hath not figur'd to thee my true spirit?
What's new to speak, what now to register,
That may express my love, or thy dear merit?
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,
I must each day say o'er the very same;
Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine, 
Even as when first I hallow'd thy fair name.
So that eternal love in love's fresh case,
Weighs not the dust and injury of age,
Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,
But makes antiquity for aye his page;
  Finding the first conceit of love there bred,
  Where time and outward form would show it dead.

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