“Sonnet 23″ by William Shakespeare
As an unperfect actor on the stage
Who with his fear is put besides his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart.
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love’s rite,
And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,
O’ercharged with burden of mine own love’s might.
O, let my books be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love and look for recompense
More than that tongue that more hath more express’d
O, learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.
“Sonnet 23″ is of course a Shakespearean sonnet, consisting of fourteen lines and have a rhyme scheme that goes ababcdcdefef gg. The general summary of this sonnet is of a man who loves a woman so much, but cannot find the words to express his feelings vocally, so he decides to write down his endearments to let his lover better understand his emotions.
The first two lines state to the reader about a far from perfect actor that forgets his lines. “Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage / whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart,” means that the writer is like a raging animal or person whose passion makes him weak in turn making the writer not trust himself (Lines 3-4). He continues in lines five through eight stating that because of his lack of trust in himself, he forgets to tell his lover what he should, and that he feels like his strongest love is getting weak. When Shakespeare writes, “O let my books be then the eloquence / And dumb presagers of my speaking breats, / Who plead for love, and look for recompense / More than that tongue that more hath more expressed.”, he means to say that the man in his sonnet wants his lover to read the words from the books he writers, and let his written words do the talking because it is more eloquent than any words he could speak aloud (Lines 9-12). And in the final two lines, the man in the poem wants the woman he loves to listen to the love in her heart for the insight to read between the lines of his words and sentences.
A common theme in this, as well as many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, is that of love. This sonnet shows a bond between a man and his lover that is not unrequited love but a love that is taken for granted. This sonnet shows a love that seems to weaken at its best strength, a love that the woman is blind to and that the man doesn’t know how to vocally express. Anyone can be so in love that he/she cannot find the words to express it until they touch a pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard.