…wrote, I believe all, or most, of his sonnets while unable to perform his plays during an outbreak of the plague. There was,at this time, a moratorium placed on most public activities; therefore, concerts and plays of all kinds were, for a time, proscribed. So Shakespeare had little to do but confine himself to his rooms and write. I do not know why he chose to write sonnets at this time, however his chosen form–much simpler, and some might say elegant or sublime–was of his own devising.
His first sequence is some 127 sonnets long and deals with one subject only. Although I am far from an expert on these matters, I do rather feel that the young man to which he is speaking metaphorically in these works is more likely himself than any other, nor do I feel that he was speaking metaphorically to young men in general–although certainly there is a level on which this certainly is the case.
Although I have now written as many sonnets as did Shakespeare at that time, I have certainly not written a sequence much over 10 sonnets in length. There are too many subjects upon which I ponder, to keep to one subject for such a length of time. On the other hand, When I write of love–such sonnets could be taken as a sequence, since they explore different aspects of my love for my sweetheart. Such things as I have felt–and over so many years. I have not counted how many of these are specifically directed to my beloved; however it is bound to be quite a large share, I should think. Possibly more than half? Truly, I am not sure, but perhaps such an accounting would be a worthy pursuit.
…which was and is essentially the catalyst to the Shakespeare project in that the insight I gained in writing these nine sonnets caused me to understand Will Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets in a way in which I could not have done had I not written these. I have posted a link to this sequence to the right. See the link entitled “Notes to Myself,” which I have also included here for convenience.
Although perhaps everyone has heard the name Shakespeare, Not so many have heard of Jonson or of Donne–or of King, for that matter–It is a wonderful moment for most everyone when they do discover them. So I post a link to the above tribute to him, and an example below of one of his best known short poems. Such a lovely sentiment–both this original and the tribute.
Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much hon’ring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon did’st only breathe,
And sent’st it back to me,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear
Not of itself, but thee.
…the desire to compete it, may supersede all other motivations. Because of this, look for a bit of laurel-resting, after which I will write more “Etudes.” (I believe)
Still, the desire to continue with the “Shakespeare Project” is also forefront, as is my desire to write more “Canopians.”
I would also enjoy writing more split sonnets. To that end, I have in mind a form wherein two sonnets, one with the reverse rhymescheme as the other–possibly in the Shakespearean style (with ABAB quatrains) are recombined as two new Shakespeareans. If the two sonnets interlock well enough all four should be readable and perhaps I will explicitly publish both the originals and the interlocking version. I believe such a thing would make the rhymes palindromic in nature. Yes… but I have not given sufficient thought to the proof of this : )
In any case look for something new soon. Probably not Canopians but probably Etudes in the Shakespearean form with inverse rhymes and possibly palindromic versions of them.