As an actor, Shakespeare's sonnets have always been close to my heart. I have had much fun at staged readings of these 'mini plays' over the years. Although they can be enjoyed for their great poetry, finding the 'character' or the 'voice' behind each piece is much more fun. Imagine a crusty, ageing father or mother admonishing their son for not marrying and having children in sonnet number 2, or imagine an old farmhand speaking the lines of sonnet number 130, which happens to be my personal favourite. This sonnet turns the whole idea of a sonnet upside down. Instead of declaring his love's beauty to the world, he spells out in no uncertain terms of her plainness. Yet, by the end of the sonnet, it is plain how much he loves her. There are 154 sonnets to explore and 154 'characters' to populate your world and befriend. So please explore to your heart's content and let your imagination run wild, but don't forget to drink a glass of Sonnet Pinot while whiling away the hours with old Will.
- 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.