Not Time’s Fool

My dad introduced me to Shakespeare’s sonnets when I was eleven or twelve. I didn’t understand everything of all of them, and some I didn’t like, and some were not written for me at all but later on in my life they would speak loudly. But this one described exactly what I wanted in a romantic partner. I wanted the “marriage of true minds.”

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.
Β –
I remember being intrigued by the use of “compass” and my dad explaining it to me.
In front of me at that time a drama was playing out. My dad was ill and would soon be much more debilitated from MS. My mom was a walking pile of nerves and medications to cope with the nerves, fears and sorrow she carried (another Shakespeare word) like destiny’s “fardle” — a burden that was both her triumph and her tragedy.
She never stopped loving my dad (according to her lights) but was determined to “bear it out until the edge of doom.” It wasn’t pretty.
Now, I look at “love” in this sonnet, and it seems to me that Shakespeare is speaking of an ideal, an “ever-fixed mark,” out there somewhere on the horizon toward which we steer our little life boats, our “wand’ring barks,” though we may never reach it. I can certainly think of worse stars toward which to steer my boat.

AND on the subject of Shakespeare, if you get the chance, watchΒ Upstart Crow. I have watched both seasons via Britbox ($7/month) on Amazon. Funniest show I’ve seen in AGES. Here’s a preview!

21 thoughts on “Not Time’s Fool

  1. I was never into sonnets, because I never read them. I had a sort of aversion to Shakespeare in the school and never really got him. Perhaps I should give it a chance one day.

  2. I read a few sonnets in school, but gave it up at some point. I loved the video, hilarious! And that particular sonnet of Shakespear’s was beautiful. One of the only ones I actually remember. Thank you so much. I also enjoyed the peak into how parents back in the day thought and felt about marriage. Women don’t give up, unless there’s a darn good reason. It’s most touching when you come across someone who lived by those words. Sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes, it is. In your mother’s case, it must have been exhausting.

  3. “Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds”
    One of my favorite lines:). And I love that you applied this one to life (of COURSE you did–you’re a writer–that’s what we do–in fact, I think we may be the only ones that do this:)). It may be a lofty goal but I love that us silly humans don’t give up on it.

  4. Pity about the show. Not on Acorn OR on Amazon. It’s on BritBox, which is another Amazon add-on which have haven’t added on. We have Acorn (independently), HBOGO, Netflix, and Prime Amazon and a cable setup and Garry figures we’ve got enough already. There’s always one show we’d like to watch on another channel … but I think we’ve hit our top πŸ˜€

    Shakespeare talked about love a lot. I always wonder if he had much of it in his real life.

    • I had a teacher in high school who got me writing sonnets. He said it was the best way to become a real poet. I don’t know if he was right or not, but I wrote a few. πŸ™‚

    • Monte Vista is small and not as “alive” as it could be. It’s a depressed economy here, but that means opportunity from a certain perspective. But yeah, there is no ocean. I understand the feeling — the whole time I lived in CA I missed “my” mountains. We do have a beach, though!

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