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Sir Patrick Stewart Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets

This is a link list of Sir Patrick Stewart’s readings of Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram and Twitter. The readings/performances are identical.

Sonnet Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 1 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 2 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 3 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 4 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 5 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 6 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 7 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 8 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 9 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 10 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 11 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 12 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 13 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 14 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 15 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 16 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 17 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 18 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 19 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 20 Skipped Twitter
Sonnet 21 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 22 Skipped Twitter
Sonnet 23 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 24 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 25 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 26 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 27 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 28 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 29 Instagram

Retake

Twitter

Retake

Sonnet 30 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 31 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 32 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 33 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 34 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 35 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 36 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 37 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 38 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 39 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 40 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 41 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 42 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 43 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 44 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 45 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 46 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 47 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 49 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 50 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 51 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 52 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 53 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 54 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 55 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 56 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 57 Instagram (Guest: Jonathan Frakes) Twitter Guest: Jonathan Frakes
Sonnet 58 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 59 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 60 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 61 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 62 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 63 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 64 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 65 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 66 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 67 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 68 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 69 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 70 Skipped Skipped
Sonnet 71 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 72 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 73 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 74 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 75 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 76 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 77 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 78 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 79 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 80 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 81
(Guest: Ian McKellen)
Instagram Twitter (Guest: Ian McKellen)
Sonnet 82 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 83 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 84 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 85 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 86 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 87 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 88 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 89 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 90

In the same video as Sonnet 89, directly after Sonnet 89.

Instagram Twitter Follows immediately after 89
Sonnet 91 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 92 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 93 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 94 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 95 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 96 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 97 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 98 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 99 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 100 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 101 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 102 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 103 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 104 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 105 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 106 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 107 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 108 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 109 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 110 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 111 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 112 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 113 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 114 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 115 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 116 Instagram Twitter and again
Sonnet 117 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 118 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 119 Instagram Twitter
`Sonnet 120 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 121 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 122 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 123 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 124 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 125 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 126 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 127 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 128 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 129 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 130 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 131

“I am skipping 131 because I don’t like it.” — Patrick Stewart

Sonnet 132 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 133

Skipped Sonnets 133, 134, 135, 136
“Sonnets 133, 134, 135, 136 I just cannot handle. They are so complex with word meanings changing and plays on words. I’ve struggled and struggled and failed to make sense of them. So I’m not going to pretend that I do make sense of them. I’m just going to leave them unsaid.” —Patrick Stewart

Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 134 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 135 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 136 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 137 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 138 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 139 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 140 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 141 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 142 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 143 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 144 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 145 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 146 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 147 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 148 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 149 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 150 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 151 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 152 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 153 Instagram Twitter
Sonnet 154 Instagram Twitter

Shakespeare Sonnet #1

 

1609 quarto Image: The British Library

1

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory;
But thou, contracted1)Contracted as in a marriage contract; betrothed. OED contract as a verb: “To enter into an agreement or contract.” Also contracted adj. “Drawn into smaller compass; narrowed, shortened, shrunken, etc.” to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content2)Content see OED content n2 1a “Satisfaction, pleasure; a contented condition” but also OED content n1 “That which is contained in anything.”,
And, tender3)Tender ; a tender is “One who tends, or waits upon, another; an attendant, nurse, ministrant” (s.v. OED tender n1). churl, mak’st waste in niggarding4)Niggarding is Shakespeare’s coinage, derived from the Scandinavian loan-word niggard, a miser. All three of the OED’s entries for niggard, niggardly, niggarding use context quotations from Shakespeare, including this line for niggarding,which is the only example for a word marked “rare.”:
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

This sonnet is generally considered part of the sequence from 1–17 that appear to urge a young man to produce an heir. It has the typical Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme; ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, and the three quatrains and a couplet structure, neither of which were actually invented by Shakespeare, though he employs both with exquisite skill.

The first line “from fairest creatures we desire increase” is a reference to reproduction. The poet refers to wanting beauty to reproduce and bear children and thereby gain immortality. At the same time, given Shakespeare’s fondness for playing havoc with word order, “we desire increase” can also mean “our desire increases.”

“But as the riper should by time decease” continues the idea of a parent and offspring from the first two lines. despite the nature of life, that with age, “the riper” will because of time, “decease,” or die. Tender serves double-duty; both as soft or delicate because of youth, and as a noun; an attendant. There is in addition, given the legal context of any discussion of an heir, the meaning of tender (OED tender n2) “a formal offer.”

In the fourth line the anonymous creature becomes “he”by virtue of the repeated “his” and the concept of an heir enters the poem. This line is the pivot on which those readers who think that Shakespeare was addressing a specific aristocratic male and urging reproduction (and the creation of an heir) turns.

Contracted in line 5 means both “someone who has agreed to a contract” or betrothed, and possibly also “reduced in size.” He is married to himself; his compass has been reduced to his own person. He is thus self-consuming, and “making a famine where abundance lies” by ignoring other potential suitors, other “contracts.”

With the start of the third stanza the poet continues the flower metaphor begun with the reference to the rose in line 2, describing the youth as the “only herald to the gaudy spring.” This line always makes me think of Chaucer’s description of the Squire in the “General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, and to the closely related Spring images of a “young and lusty bachelor” in the May calendar images of books of hours.

In line 11 “Within thine own bud buriest thy content” Shakespeare returns to the rose metaphor of the second line. Bud is ostensibly self-explanatory in the context of the rose; an unopened immature blossom. The youth is burying his own content, his own happiness, within his own bud. By not reproducing he buries (as if hidden in a grave) his own future happiness. Note that content means not only “contentment” or happiness but content, something contained. The youth “contains” the potential for progeny, for fatherhood, and, the poet argues fatherhood would make him (and presumably the world) feel content.

I can’t help but see bud in the context of producing progeny as a phallic reference. Particularly given this couplet:

Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding:

He buries his happiness within his own bud, and “mak’st waste in niggarding.” By not fathering progeny, he is wasting his potential by keeping his content to himself.

The final couplet in this sonnet is a summary argument for the preceding stanzas:

Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

That is, pity the world, who would lose his beauty, and reproduce, or “eat” the world’s due by not reproducing, and thus being swallowed by the grave, the grave foreshadowed by the reference to “bury” in line 11. In this closing couplet the motifs built around the theme of eating and of death join.

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