Arts & Culture

A Better Shakespearean Sonnet for Valentine’s Day

With all due respect to Robert Pinsky, it’s not often that Shakespeare’s glorious sequence to “W.H.” is credited with lesbian overtones. Here’s one example of suspected girle-on-girle action, at least according to the excellent Stephen Booth’s annotated Sonnets. What potions … Read More

By / February 14, 2007

With all due respect to Robert Pinsky, it’s not often that Shakespeare’s glorious sequence to “W.H.” is credited with lesbian overtones. Here’s one example of suspected girle-on-girle action, at least according to the excellent Stephen Booth’s annotated Sonnets.

What potions have I drunk of Siren tears, Distill’d from limbecks foul as hell within, Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears, Still losing when I saw myself to win! What wretched errors hath my heart committed, Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never! How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted, In the distraction of this madding fever! O benefit of ill! now I find true That better is, by evil still made better; And ruin’d love, when it is built anew, Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater. So I return rebuk’d to my content, And gain by ill thrice more than I have spent.

The hell with “bed death.” Limbecks foul as hell within is apparently code for cooter, which at least goes a small distance towards complicating that notorious marriage of two minds.

Middleton and Rowley read this sonnet and said, “How you doin’.”

Great poems about sex. – By Robert Pinsky – Slate Magazine

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