By William Shakespeare
Published by Librivox
Read by Alys AtteWater, Annie Coleman Rothenberg, Brett Shand, Graham William, Hugh McGuire, Justine Young, Fox in the Stars. Martin Clifton, Mark F. Smith and Stefan Schmelz
Well, it finally happened. I have endeavored to write a review of an audiobook, dramatic reading or radio play once a week. It is a sort of experiment to see how long I could do it without skipping a week. I still will not have skipped a week, but the latest audiobook I am listening to in my car is not yet finished and I will not review without listening to a recording all the way through. Fortunately, Librivox.org has come to my rescue with a recording of Shakespeare’s Sonnet #73 so my streak continues for now…
Q1 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 ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
Q2 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 in rest.
Q3 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,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
C This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Now if anyone expects me to trash even the least of Shakespeare’s scribblings, forget it. I started writing novels about twenty-eight years ago because I read a published story that was so bad, I was certain I could do better. Yes, I know how trite that sounds and I don’t even remember who wrote that particular waste of paper and ink. I suppose I should recall the full details of my original inspiration, but I think my mind is protecting me from the horrendous trauma recall might bring. Or else it really was that forgettable.
Sonnet 73 is about old age or perhaps about the loss of youth. The experts do not entirely agree. Some even criticize Shakespeare’s metaphors and if you want a learned discussion of this relatively short poem, I recommend starting with the entry on Wikipedia and then start looking up the sources cited in the footnotes. There are men and women who have spent their lives examining Shakespeare’s sonnets, but I am not one of them. However this is one of the more oft-quoted sonnets, especially the line, “….where late the sweet birds sang.”
The true worth of a poem is whether or not it is appreciated by the listener and I think this one is definitely worth listening to,
This collection of ten recordings was done to celebrate the Bard’s birthday back in 2006. Like most Librivox offerings in which multiple readers are used, this one is a mixed bag although none of the readers are horrible and some are quite enjoyable, indeed.
I was somewhat surprised that a friend of mine, Alys AtteWater, was not only one of the readers, but the lead-off reader of the project. I was a bit worried to see her name because I would truly hate to give a friend a bad reviewed, but I need not have feared at all. Alys’ reading was a perfect lead-in to the others and definitely one of the best of the ten.
One of the interesting things about listening to multiple readers of the same poem is the chance to get multiple perspectives and interpretations of the work. Because this collection was so short, I listened through it three times and I think I enjoyed it a little more each time.