Sonnet Book

We have a run of 750 sonnetbooks. Each book signed by William S



INDEX to his 154 SONNETS …

All 154 sonnets in word and sound

by WS.

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And no YLS doesn’t expect you to listen to them all in one sitting!
Silly sausage!
Take Bite-sized chunks.

Some words of explanation are necessary.
Sh’s sonnets fascinate us, as they have many before us.

Our adventure will differ from another. It is unique to us.

The saturation point in memorising them has taken place.
A thousand interpretations and permutations enacted of
what it is to recite each and every sonnet.

Our way then.
An essential core truth of these sonnets.
These words are nothing but inky marks on a page.

As soon as they were published they became just that.

We are not suggesting that they are merely literary exercises,
though they are that too.
Your interpretation of these marks is yours.

Some impulse certainly quickened our author to have put these words in this order.
Our pulse quickens when we sense the author as we read them.
He isn’t there at all of course. It hardly even matters he existed.

But he did exist and wrote these 154 sonnets for some reason.

The sonnet form animates dead printed letters into living thought and speech.
Acting within the modesty of Nature, yet nonetheless showing her immodest behaviours.

Whether the argument is fiction or faction is moot.
As with the plays,
your enjoyment is not lessened by knowing who wrote them.

As we recite; we recreate anew
a physical, emotional, psychological or philosophical embodiment
of a 14 line printed poem.

A perfect recitation would be futile!
Realise the enunciation of the physical energy
inherent within the words as written.

Plosives, fricatives, sibilants, liquids, aspirants
all manners of articulation should get their due.

Physicalising sound provides a mainframe
to which the argument clings.

Rhythm and timing is also an important factor.
In singing, the notes and their measure are given.

The content words contain bucketloads of metaphor and metonymy,
influencing the argument’s development.

Many of the received ideas in the sonnets
were in popular usage all over the poetry of the age.
It’s not what he says, but how he says it.

Drayton is not Sidney is not Shakespeare in style.
Sh’s style is as Mozart was to music,
or Glenn Gould to playing piano.

This approach is a linguistic,
as opposed to literary,
rendering of the sonnet series.

Our first section concerns writers, the stories they write, and the players that enact them.

Let’s not forget this is Shakespeare:

from As You Like It, to The Tempest, and back to Hamlet.

We know he’s good for a story.

Let’s face the facts,

him collecting his works and editing them into something

he was proud to share with posterity,


Maybe he was a purist.

Maybe he thought his works would survive all on their lonesome.

We cannot EVER know.

No one can describe what Shakespeare thought or felt

without resorting to FANTASY.

BTW if I contradict myself in what I say today, so be it.

Shakespeare thrives on contradiction and in his Sonnets he practically revels in it.

You will hear 17 and a half thousand words which are just over 3250 individual words.

That’s some 2155 lines of verse made up of 10 and 11 syllables over 154 Sonnets.

Some of you might be completely clueless as to what a Sonnet is.

Don’t panic that bit is easy.

Sonnets are systems in motion. The content provides the argument.

The argument develops and is concluded in the Sonnet

OR over the course of two or three sonnets.

Here’s a quick story:

Procrustes was a son of Poseidon the god of the sea. He had an Inn where he insisted his guests sleep on his special bed. The bed was either too big or too small. If the guest didn’t fit he would either stretch them, or cut a bit off them until they fit. Procrustes died on his own bed.

The bed is the FORM of the Sonnet:

14 lines split up into 3 sets of 4 and a final couplet of 2 lines.

There are 10 or 11 syllables per line and the lines rime first with third second with fourth etc.

The guest is the CONTENT of the Sonnet.

The ideas, thoughts, emotions, or knowledge, that sleep in the bed.

Sometimes they fit, other times they’re too big, or too small.

The Poet is Procrustes.

Another example Automobile enthusiasts can relate to:

The chunks of 4 lines and final couplet are similar in function to a piston engine.


The 1st quatrain develops the main idea and sucks us into the world that idea lives in.

The 2nd quatrain squeezes the most out of the information field we’re in.

The 3rd quatrain contradicts or blows up everything we’ve thought so far

The final couplet pushes us outwards and onwards.

If one of the elements isn’t firing right?

A final example:

Imagine you’ve got a campfire from the night before and no matches.

You get down by the ashes and notice possible embers.

You gently start to blow and add flammable materials;

until, flame.

You feed and contain the fire.

Then you make SMORES.

Writing a Sonnet is like making that campfire.

It’s entirely personal and you need to do it.

Not everyone is going to like it.

It’s not a play meant for thousands.

It’s private, it’s internal.

The audience is small and select.

These sonnets are the closest thing to Shakespeare’s diary we have.

Conjecture is that sonnet 145 was the very first to be written.

The Anne Hathaway sonnet.

His contemporaries called them his sugar’d sonnets

and indeed the word SWEET appears some 50 times.

These poems are attempts at marrying form and content.

Structured writing that needs to be spoken upon delivery.

The playground is there in the middle.

The theme is LOVE.

All aspects of it.

REAL love, not some fake rom-com ideal of love.

Sonnets are about balance

The story sucks.


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1 FRom fairest creatures we desire increase,


2 WHen forty Winters shall besiege thy brow,


3 LOok in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest


4 UNthrifty loveliness why dost thou spend,


5 THose hours that with gentle work did frame,

6 THen let not winter’s ragged hand deface,


7 LO in the Orient when the gracious light,


8 MUsic to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly,


9 IS it for fear to wet a widow’s eye,

10 FOr shame deny that thou bear’st love to any


11 AS fast as thou shalt wane so fast thou grow’st,


12 WHen I do count the clock that tells the time,


13 O That you were your self, but love you are (First use of YOU)


14 NOt from the stars do I my judgement pluck,


15 WHen I consider every thing that grows

16 BUt wherefore do not you a mightier way

17 WHo will believe my verse in time to come

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18 SHall I compare thee to a Summer’s day ?


19 DEvouring time blunt thou the Lion’s paws,


20 A Woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted,


21 SO is it not with me as with that Muse,


22 MY glass shall not persuade me I am old,


23 AS an unperfect actor on the stage,

24 MIne eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d,


25 LEt those who are in favour with their stars,


26 LOrd of my love, to whom in vassalage


27 WEary with toil, I haste me to my bed,

28 HOw can I then return in happy plight


29 WHen in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,

30 WHen to the Sessions of sweet silent thought,


31 THy bosom is endeared with all hearts,


32 IF thou survive my well-contented day,


33 FUll many a glorious morning have I seen,


34 WHy didst thou promise such a beauteous day,


35 NO more be griev’d at that which thou hast done,


36 LEt me confess that we two must be twain,

37 AS a decrepit father takes delight,

38 HOw can my Muse want subject to invent

39 OH how thy worth with manners may I sing,

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40 TAke all my loves, my love, yea take them all,

41 THose pretty wrongs that liberty commits,

42 THat thou hast her it is not all my grief,

43 WHen most I wink then do mine eyes best see,



44 IF the dull substance of my flesh were thought,

45 THe other two, slight air, and purging fire,



46 MIne eye and heart are at a mortal war,

47 BEtwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,


48 HOw careful was I when I took my way,


49 AGainst that time (if ever that time come)


50 HOw heavy do I journey on the way,

51 THus can my love excuse the slow offence,


52 SO am I as the rich whose blessed key,


53 WHat is your substance, whereof are you made,


54 OH how much more doth beauty beauteous seem,

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55 NOt marble, nor the gilded monuments,



56 Sweet love renew thy force, be it not said



57 BEing your slave what should I do but tend,

58 THat God forbid, that made me first your slave,


59 IF there be nothing new, but that which is,



60 LIke as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

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COMPARE with 27:

61 IS it thy will, thy Image should keep open


62 SIn of self-love possesseth all mine eye,


63 AGainst my love shall be as I am now


64 WHen I have seen by time’s fell hand defaced


65 SInce brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,


66 TIr’d with all these for restful death I cry,


67 AH wherefore with infection should he live,

68 THus is his cheek the map of days outworn,

69 THose parts of thee that the world’s eye doth view,


70 THat thou art blam’d shall not be thy defect,


71 NO Longer mourn for me when I am dead,

72 O Lest the world should task you to recite,


73 THat time of year thou mayst in me behold,

74 BUt be contented when that fell arrest,


75 SO are you to my thoughts as food to life,


76 WHy is my verse so barren of new pride ?


77 THy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,

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78 SO oft have I invok’d thee for my Muse,

79 WHilst I alone did call upon thy aid,

80 O How I faint when I of you do write,

81 OR I shall live your Epitaph to make,

82 I Grant thou wert not married to my Muse,

83 I Never saw that you did painting need,

84 WHo is it that says most, which can say more,

85 MY tongue-tied Muse in manners holds her still,

86 WAs it the proud full sail of his great verse,

87 FArewell thou art too dear for my possessing,


88 WHen thou shalt be dispos’d to set me light,

89 SAy that thou didst forsake me for some fault,

90 THen hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now,

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91 SOme glory in their birth, some in their skill,

92 BUt do thy worst to steal thy self away,

93 SO shall I live, supposing thou art true,

94 THey that have power to hurt, and will do none,

95 HOw sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame,

96 SOme say thy fault is youth, some wantoness,


97 HOw like a Winter hath my absence been

98 FRom you have I been absent in the spring,

99 THe forward violet thus did I chide, (15 Lines)


100 WHere art thou Muse that thou forget’st so long,

101 OH truant Muse what shall be thy amends,

102 MY love is strengthen’d though more weak in seeming

103 ALack what poverty my Muse brings forth,

104 TO me fair friend you never can be old,

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105 LEt not my love be call’d Idolatry,

106 WHen in the Chronicle of wasted time,

107 NOt mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul,

108 WHat’s in the brain that Ink may character,

109 O Never say that I was false of heart,
110 ALas ’tis true, I have gone here and there,

111 O For my sake do you with fortune chide,
112 YOur love and pity doth th’impression fill,

113 SInce I left you, mine eye is in my mind,
114 OR whether doth my mind being crown’d with you

115 THose lines that I before have writ do lie,
116 LEt me not to the marriage of true minds
117 ACcuse me thus, that I have scanted all,

118 LIke as to make our appetites more keen
119 WHat potions have I drunk of Siren tears

120 THat you were once unkind befriends me now,

121 ‘TIS better to be vile than vile esteemed,

122 Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain

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123 NO ! Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change,
124 IF my dear love were but the child of state,
125 WEr’t ought to me I bore the canopy,

126 O Thou my lovely Boy who in thy power, (6 Couplets)

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127 IN the old age black was not counted fair,

128 HOw oft when thou my music music play’st,

129 TH’expense of Spirit in a waste of shame

130 MY Mistress’ eyes are nothing like the Sun,

131 THou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
132 THine eyes I love, and they as pitying me,
133 BEshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan

134 SO now I have confess’d that he is thine,
135 WHo ever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will, (WILL sonnets)
136 IF thy soul check thee that I come so near, (WILL sonnets)

137 THou blind fool love, what dost thou to mine eyes,

138 WHen my love swears that she is made of truth,

139 O Call not me to justify the wrong,

140 BE wise as thou art cruel, do not press

141 IN faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
142 LOve is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,

143 LO as a careful housewife runs to catch,

144 TWo loves I have of comfort and despair,

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145 THose lips that Love’s own hand did make, (Tetrameter, NOT Pentameter)


146 POor soul, the center of my sinful earth,

147 MY love is as a fever longing still,
148 O Me! what eyes have love put in my head,
149 CAnst thou O cruel, say I love thee not,

150 OH from what power hast thou this powerful might,


151 LOve is too young to know what conscience is,

152 IN loving thee thou know’st I am forsworn,

153 CUpid laid by his brand and fell asleep,
154 THe little Love-God lying once asleep,

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