21 April 2012

Book du jour - sonnet

The first in what is intended to be a book of well-known sonnets is "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part",written by Michael Drayton (1563-1631). It was published in 1619 and is reckoned to be the only great sonnet among the 150 that Drayton wrote. (But I didn't know that before rewriting it....)

The format of my page manifests a method of memorising poetry - start at the end and work forward. So I wrote the last line, then over it the penultimate and on the line below the last, then the last three... which makes the top line very dense, because it consists of the entire poem, layered so that the first line is on top (not that you'd notice!). I'm quite familiar with the end of the poem by now, but cannot confidently recite the entire thing.

Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part,
Nay I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath,
When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,
When faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And innocence is closing up his eyes,
  Now if thou would'st, when all have given him over,
  From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

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