An English bookshop in France

Shakespeare’s sonnet CLV

The Glass Key holds a literary dinner every month with the most recent commemorating the life and work of the poet Christopher Hampton. We had invited people to enter a sonnet-writing competition with the winner being selected by ballot at the dinner. I had offered a prize of a book token for 25,00 to be spent at The Glass Key. All the entries were read out and I have printed the winning entry below. Modesty prevents me from naming the winner.

Shall I compare thee to my lederhosen?
Thou art more lovely, but they hardwearing.
Rough winds can blow when cabbage has been chosen.
But trousers for a summer leased will need returning.
Sometimes my eyes on thee so hotly burn
That I can scarcely stand; so dimly sit
And see the declination of the things that yearn
As my unnatural braces slide to the pit.
But nothing here shall be allowed to fade
And you shall hold one-handed onto life.
Death will not brag nor stand you in his shade
Because you are both trouble and my strife.
So long as trousers last and men desire
So long wear out the one and quit the fire.


Requested poems from Poetry Please number 7

Seventh most requested poem on Radio 4’s Poetry Please is Sonnet CXVI: Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds by William Shakespeare – or perhaps, as James Joyce would have it, William Rutlandbaconsouthamptonshakespeare (or some other poet by the same name). You can, of course, buy the sonnets, or the complete works of Shakespeare at The Glass Key in Montmorillon.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.