Here is something from The Writer's Almanac:
|Shakespeare's sonnets were first published on this day in 1609, most likely without Shakespeare's permission (books by this author). The book contained 154 sonnets, all but two of which had never been published before. Shakespeare (or perhaps the publisher Thomas Thorpe) dedicated the collection to "Mr. W.H." whose identity has never been known. The poems are about love, sex, politics, youth, and the mysterious "Dark Lady," and they have given young lovers and the hopelessly romantic words for the ages:|
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, a
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade,
Nor loose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time though grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
And here is a personal postscript:
I would often hear students complain about having to read Shakespeare's plays and poems because of what students referred to as his "old English." To be fair, I understood their complaints. After all, too many people have lost their ability to read anything not compressed into small-brain bits on a cell-phone screen. I suspect the future of Shakespeare is bleak (i.e., students will neither be assigned nor be able to read and understand the works of William Shakespeare or similar giants of literature). In other words, even though men can breathe and eyes can see, Shakespeare's words will no longer have a life. What do you think?