Rhyme Out The Old, Rhyme In The New!

I want to share a Shakespeare sonnet  which gives me a New Years-y  feeling.

But before I do, a few words from one of America’s most popular poets, in her day:  Ella Wheeler Wilcox. (1850-1919) Never heard of her?  I guarantee you know ONE line of hers: “Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep, and you weep alone!”  One of the “three-named ladies” of American lit (although it was Hawthorne who coined that phrase, before Ella’s time), most of her stuff seems kinda Hallmark-ish. But check this out, from The Year:

“The new  years  come, the old years go;/We know we dream,we dream we know.”

I like that last line, it sort of spirals around in my brain, consuming its own tail like the Orphic serpent. The poet  was a spiritualist, a believer in Theosophy,  so Ella, if you’re watching:   I’ll raise a glass to you tonight!

But now for the Bard.

I think it’s the idea of the world-soul, dreaming the future, that makes this seem like a New Year’s Eve poem to me.  ( The fifth and sixth lines now make me think of 2016, when HIllary,  the “mortal moon”,  was eclipsed by Sol-like Trump, to universal prophecies of disaster,  none  of which came true!)

Here’s Sonnet  107:

“Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul/Of the wide world, dreaming on things to come/Can yet the lease of my true love control, /Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom./The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured/And the sad augurs mock their own presage./ Incertainties now crown themselves assured,/ And peace proclaims olives of endless age./ Now in the drops of this most balmy time/My love  looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,/Since ‘spite of him, I’ll live in this  poor rhyme/While he  insults o’er dull and speechless tribes.

And thou, in this, shalt find thy monument/When tyrants’crests and tombs of brass are spent.”

Happ New Year, O Ratty!


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