Sunday Sonnet: 130

On Friday I attended a teacher seminar on Shakespeare's poetry, sponsored by the Atlantic Poetry Guild. That inspiring presentation is responsible for a new feature here at the blog--Sunday Sonnets.

And here's one of my favorites:

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak,--yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress when she walks, treads on the ground;

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

I love this one for its audacity. In response to the conventions of the times, when women are praised in terms of  "cheeks like roses, lips like rubies, hair of spun gold" etc., Will tells it like it is. Her skin is dark, her hair is coarse, her breath smells, her voice is not musical, and she's no goddess who walks on air.

And guess what? He loves her anyway--an average girl with her feet firmly on the ground. Well done, Will.

♥ ♥ ♥