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Saturday, 1 September 2018

Saturday Rave: sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare.

It's the first day of Autumn - or possibly Spring if you live in the South of the World - but here's an Autumn poem anyway.

The poem looks as if it's going to be a bit miserable, but this has been written by genius, and it has a twist at the end.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all the rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Word To Use Today: choir. The bare ruined choirs of this poem aren't a group of elderly cracked-voiced nudists, but the area of a church in front of the altar where the choir and clergy sit. There would have been quite a lot of bare ruined choirs about in Shakespeare's day because so many of the monastery churches would have been abandoned or ransacked or recycled after Henry VIII threw out all the monks a couple of generations before.

The word comes from the Greek khoros.

By the way, Shakespeare never did get to the bare-ruined-choirs stage: he died, retired and wealthy, after a night out with some writer friends, at the age of fifty two.

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