Sonnets for Advent 2: Sonnet 8

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Photo: ifcullen.com

A musical sonnet about the far-reaching sounds of harmonies and procreativity in our lives as well as in poetry…

Sonnet 8
Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lov’st thou that which thou receiv’st not gladly,
Or else receiv’st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds
By unions married do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes in each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother,
Who all in one one pleasing note do sing;
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: ‘Thou single wilt prove none.’

Find out more about Shakespeare’s Sonnets via our free on-line course www.gettingtoknowshakespeare.com

Listen to the same sonnet being read by a student at the University of Tubingen by clicking here.

You might like to treat yourself to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s own, exclusive edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, edited by our Honorary President, Professor Stanley Wells C.B.E., and beautifully printed by Oxford University Press. Find out more by clicking here.

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson
  • Bruce Leyland

    Thank you for highlighting this most musical of Shakespeare’s sonnets. It’s interesting that he chose to number this as the 8th sonnet – being the octave. It seems he was a “numbers” man.

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