Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Previous Sonnet

   Sonnet 23

an excellent biography
Read by Claire Marchionne
Click here to
listen to reading

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".

Elizabethan Mirror
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'ercharg'd with burthen of mine own love's might. 
O! let my looks 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.

Next Sonnet: 24

   Introduction to the Sonnets

   Home Page