Shakespeare's Sonnets
May 24, 2008 7:40 PM   Subscribe

William Shakespeare wrote some of the world's finest sonnets. The website is a fine place to start delving into the poems. Here you can see scans of the first edition of The Sonnets as printed by Thomas Thorpe in 1609. If you wish there were more sonnets by Shakespeare, your jones might be eased by the Shakespeare Sonnet Shake-Up, which lets you remix them according to taste. And finally there's Shakespeare in Tune, a site where Jonathan Willby recites each of the 154 sonnets following a short improvisation on a German flute.
posted by Kattullus (8 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Here's my remixed sonnet:

And sue a friend, came debtor for my sake
Make answer Muse, wilt thou not haply say
Or I shall live your epitaph to make
But let your love even with my life decay
Fairing the foul with art's false borrowed face
Which like two spirits do suggest me still
And my sick muse doth give an other place
Reserve their character with golden quill
Which rank of goodness would by ill be cured
And in themselves their pride lies buried
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured
But when my glass shows me my self indeed
Love is a babe, then might I not say so
But why thy odour matcheth not thy show
posted by Kattullus at 7:42 PM on May 24, 2008

That ain't gonna win any design awards, but it's a great site nonetheless.

And with that last link, you've gotten me snooping around for more info on the German flute, which is a term I'd never heard before..

Thanks for the fine post, Kattullus.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:10 PM on May 24, 2008

Shakespeare's sonnets suuuuuuuck, dude. Discuss.
posted by facetious at 8:19 PM on May 24, 2008

154 sonnets, you say? Try a hundred thousand billion! (Illustrious precursor of the sonnet remix.) Oulipo forever!
posted by DaDaDaDave at 8:26 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

I was just coming here to mention Queneau's book of sonnets.

Instead, I'll just give my favorite of the Bard's, #CXXX:
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.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:31 PM on May 24, 2008

154 sonnets? One wonders how he found the time, between recording My Little Angel and battling alcoholism...
posted by Pinback at 10:49 PM on May 24, 2008

Thanks for sharing this site. If you read enough Shakespeare, and attend his plays, you find characters dancing across the stage with the same flaws and strengths we have today. The themes, the plots, the characters--all are timeless, and will always be wonderfully enlightening and entertaining.
posted by davinciuno at 1:56 PM on May 29, 2008

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