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Sonnet 20

an excellent biography
Read by Claire Marchionne
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William Shakespeare, His Life and Work by Anthony Holden: "If these private poems are to some extent unavoidably about himself  -  'with this key' , wrote Wordsworth, 'Shakespeare unlocked his heart'  -  this sonnet makes the poet's heterosexuality brutally, if reluctantly, clear.  With a pun on 'prick' the poet laments the fact that his effeminate young 'master-mistress' is of no use to him".

O'Connor writes with enormous, extravagant enthusiasm.  The ideas jostle each other off the page.

Wiliam Shakespeare: A Life by Gary O'Connor: Shakespeare surrendered the sexual 'use' of Southampton to women.  His love for Southampton was not physical, but the marriage of true minds.  In fact nothing is more paradoxical than his attachment to Southampton.  Both men died at the age of fifty two, but Southampton never quite lived up to the promise that Shakespeare so lovingly depicted in his early years.  While Southampton became, after a shaky start, the man of action par excellence (he shone in his last campaign in the Netherlands in 1624), the able politician and Privy Councillor, the noble patron of letters, he certainly never achieved maturity in the complete way that Shakespeare did.  He diminshed into the moon to Shakespeare's sun, the reflector of a light more powewrful than his own.

The Young Southampton?
Earl of Southampton
A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all 'hues' in his controlling,
Which steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
  But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
  Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

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