William Shakespeare: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

(Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.





WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st [ownest];

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

   So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45087/sonnet-18-shall-i-compare-thee-to-a-summers-day


David Bruce: William Shakespeare’s CYMBELINE: A Retelling in Prose — Act 5, Scenes 1-2

— 5.1 —

Posthumus stood in the Roman camp in Britain, looking at a bloody cloth he held in his hand. Pisanio had sent him the bloody cloth as evidence that he had killed Imogen. Of course, Pisanio had not killed Imogen, despite Posthumus’ order to kill her.

Posthumus said, “Yes, bloody cloth, I’ll keep you, for I wished you should be colored red like this. Anyone who is married, if each of you should take this course of revenge that I have taken, then many of you will murder wives much better than yourselves simply because your wives strayed a little from the path of virtue!

“Oh, Pisanio! Every good servant does not obey all commands. There is no obligation to obey any commands except the just ones.

“Gods! If you had taken vengeance on my faults, I never would have lived to commit this wrong. You should have saved the noble Imogen so she could repent, and you should have struck me, a wretch more worth your vengeance. But, unfortunately, you snatch some from the world of the living because they committed little faults; still, that’s showing them love because you don’t allow them to sin any more. You also permit some to reinforce old sins with new sins, each later sin worse, and so eventually make the sinners dread sin, to the sinners’ spiritual benefit.

“But Imogen is your own now. Gods, do your best wills, and make me blest to obey your wills! I have been brought here among the Italian gentry, so I can fight against my lady’s — Imogen’s — Kingdom.

“It is enough, Britain, that I have killed your mistress. Peace! I’ll give no wound to you. Therefore, good Heavens, hear patiently what I intend to do. I’ll take off these Italian clothes and put on the clothing of a British peasant, and dressed like that I’ll fight against the army I came here with. In that way, I’ll die for you, Imogen, for whom my life is every breath a death. Thus, unknown, neither pitied nor hated, I will dedicate myself to face danger. Let me make men know that more valor and courage are in me than my peasant clothing shows.

“Gods, put the strength of the Leonati family in me! To shame the usual practice of the world, I will begin the fashion of showing less on the outside and more on the inside. Internal valor and courage are better than fashionable clothing.”

Leonatiis the plural of Leonatus.

— 5.2 —

The battle began, with the forces of Caius Lucius and Iachimo making up the Roman army, which fought the British. Fighting on the side of the British was Posthumus Leonatus, who was dressed in the clothing of a peasant. At one point in the battle, Posthumus fought and defeated Iachimo, who did not recognize him. Posthumus did not kill Iachimo, but simply disarmed him and left him alive.

Iachimo said to himself, “The heaviness and guilt within my bosom are taking away my manhood. I have told lies about a lady, Imogen, the Princess of Britain, and the air of Britain gets revenge by making me feeble and weak. Otherwise, this churl, this natural-born peasant, this drudge of nature, would never have defeated me — fighting is my profession! Knighthoods and honors, borne as I wear mine, are titles only of scorn. Britain, if your gentry is that much better than this lout as he is better than our Italian lords, the odds are that we Italians are scarcely men and you Britons are gods.”

The battle continued, and the Romans began to win. The British, routed, fled. King Cymbeline was captured, but Belarius (Morgan), Guiderius (Polydore), and Arviragus (Cadwal) arrived and began to fight to free him.

Belarius (Morgan) shouted to the retreating British soldiers, “Stand your ground! Stand your ground! We have the advantage of the ground. The lane is guarded. Nothing can rout us except our villainous fears!”

Guiderius (Polydore) and Arviragus (Cadwal) shouted, “Stand, stand, and fight!”

Posthumus Leonatus showed up and joined Belarius (Morgan), Guiderius (Polydore), and Arviragus (Cadwal). Together, they rescued King Cymbeline and took him to safety.

In another part of the battlefield, Caius Lucius stood with Iachimo and Imogen (Fidele).

Caius Lucius said to Imogen (Fidele), “Get away, boy, from the troops, and save yourself. In the confusion, friends are killing friends, and the disorder is such that it is as if soldiers were fighting while wearing blindfolds.”

Iachimo said, “The British are benefitting from fresh reinforcements.”

Caius Lucius said, “It is a day whose fortunes have turned strangely. We were winning, but now we are losing. It is time either to regroup or to flee.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


William Shakespeare: SONNET 130

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.


Note: In Shakespeare’s day, “reek” meant “exhale” much more than it meant “stink.”