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Favourite Sonnets

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As I enjoy most of the poems readers place in the Poetry Chain slot, I think other poetry readers might like a 'favourite sonnet' topic, that might encourage appreciation and discussion of an easily digestible mode. I never fail to be moved by the following:


                                                                                Sonnet 164



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,

Featur'd like him, like him with friends possest,

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

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts almost myself 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 remember'd such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


--William Shakespeare



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  • 1 month later...

Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry, 
As, to behold desert a beggar born, 
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity, 
And purest faith unhappily forsworn, 
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced, 
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted, 
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled, 
And art made tongue-tied by authority, 

And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill, 
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity, 
And captive good attending captain ill: 
   Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
   Save that, to die, I leave my love alone. 


Sonnet 66 - William Shakespeare


I think this is my favourite, though how can you choose among so many gems?  The trouble with this thread is that Shakespeare's sonnets are so fantastic it's hard to think of any others.

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Help!  What's happened to the poetry chain?  Nonsuch, you didn't accidentally delete it, did you?


I'm working my way through all the post that have been made since I went into hospital at the end of January, and have just reached this one.

Am now in panic mode - I have no idea what has happened to it!


Not sure how to find out, either.

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All is not well!  The Poetry Chain has been moved to 'Anything but books/Games, quizzes and links'. There is a big difference between it and the other 'link' games in there, which involve linking book or song titles.  In order to contribute to the Poetry Chain you need to be able to think of a piece of poetry which contains one of the words in the previous post, and know it well enough to be able to find it again, either in a book or online.  You then have the fun of looking at what other people post, whether it's an old favourite or something new to you.  This is a game for poetry lovers, and it should be in 'Poetry and Drama' where it has always been.

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  • 1 month later...

I love sonnet 164 as well! Another favourite is this one by Tennyson's brother:


Letty's Globe

WHEN Letty had scarce pass'd her third glad year,
   And her young artless words began to flow,
One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere
   Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know,
By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
   She patted all the world; old empires peep'd
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand
   Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd,
   And laugh'd and prattled in her world-wide bliss;
But when we turn'd her sweet unlearned eye
On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry--
'Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!'
   And while she hid all England with a kiss,
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.

Charles Tennyson Turner
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  • 2 months later...

They bespoke doomsday and they meant it by

God, their curved metal rimming the low ridge,

But few appearances are like this. Once

Every five hundred years a comet's

Over-riding stillness might reveal men

In such array, livid and featureless,

With England crouched beastwise beneath it all.

'Oh, that old northern business ... ' A field

After battle utters its own sound

Which is like nothing on earth, but is earth,

Blindly the questing snail, vulnerable

Mole emerge, blindly we lie down, blindly

Among carnage the most delicate souls

Tup in their marriage-blood, gasping 'Jesus'.


--Geoffrey Hill, 'Funeral Music,' Sonnet 3

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I wouldn't say I prefer the 'dark' sonnets, Momac.  It's just that 'Death be not proud' and 'Wilt thou forgive that sin' are  more haunting than 'Shall I compare thee ...'  Perhaps I like looking at tortured souls rather than celebratory ones?

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  • 1 year later...

I like frienship sonnets, I like this sonnet post below,


What does a real, true best friend mean to you?
Someone that you share all your secrets with?
Or someone that you are always close to?
Are they like your twin, or is that a myth?

True friends relate to you like no other.
They’re the ones that I can tell my soul to.
True friends are there to help one another.
Through thick and thin, they’re always there for you.

A true friend is like a precious flower,
or an angel who lifts us to our feet.
A bond, that keeps growing every hour,
a friendship that never ends bittersweet.

To me, true best friends are never apart.
Maybe in distance, but never at heart.

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