The selection of sonnets for this interlude have a very self-satisfied feel to them. They all seem to be a Shakespearean humblebrag in some form or another. Not that I blame the guy for flexing a bit since he is still kind of a big deal. However, it is hard for me to wholeheartedly agree with his generous self-assessment after the mess that was The Comedy of Errors, but I promise not to talk about that play any more after this.
Sonnet 21 – The speaker (let’s assume his name is Bill) talks of how other poets might use hyperbole to describe the object of their affection, but Bill keeps it real and only makes realistic comparisons rather than filling your head with ultimately meaningless niceties. You can trust Bill, because he’s not trying to get anything from you, he’s just trying to tell you the truth about how gorgeous you are. I mean, you’re not as beautiful as a flower, but still, you’re real pretty. That’s how a real poet woos the ladies. *quill drop*
Sonnet 22 – Bill tells his love that he won’t feel old until she, or perhaps he (see Interlude #4 for details) begins to get old. You see, Bill’s sense of self-worth is wrapped up in how he values his one and only. Bill says you better take care of yourself because that will in turn keep me safe. Oh, and when I die, you’ll be ruined for other men because I’m taking your ability to love another person with me to the grave. *quill drop*
Sonnet 23 – In a relatively clear-eyed self-evaluation, Bill tells his love that he isn’t very good at displaying affection. He knows he should get better at that, but he is trying to acknowledge his (rare) shortcomings. Since he’s so good at being awesome and that takes a lot of time and effort, he would like his love to do a bit work in this relationship and recognize that Bill is doing his best. He says to his love, you should see that in my own way I’m showing you how much I love you. Come on, meet me halfway, babe, that’s all I ask.
Sonnet 24 – Bill tells his love that he has captured their beauty as a painting in his heart and this internal artistic rendering will show his love his true heart. However, he’s not a terribly good artist, so though he has captured the form of his subject, he hasn’t really captured their essence. The ending couplet in this sonnet almost has the feel of a punchline to a joke when Bill says he’s not great at drawing, so this is just a surface-level portrait I’ve been waxing poetic (literally) about. He really built up then toppled this whole metaphor.
Sonnet 25 – Great men depend upon other great men for their happiness. Political influencers need the approval of princes to gain any sense of self-worth. Warriors need to win every fight to keep their public esteem high. These sources of happiness are unstable and can be undone without the participation of the people dependent upon them. But little olde Bill is just living a happy and quiet life, depending on his friends and family for his sense of self-worth. I guess all those rich and powerful men aren’t really so smart after all, huh? *quill drop*
I really enjoyed this set of sonnets. We’ve moved on from Creepy Uncle Bill and have moved into a fun and varied array of subjects for discussion. I don’t really know if the sonnets are numbered in chronological order, but it does seem that they are getting better and the language is getting denser and more interesting. Or maybe I’m just slowly getting used to Elizabethan era English. We’ll have to wait and see, I suppose. Next up, Titus Andronicus!