Friday 29 October 2010

SONNET 90? William at his most human

I love Sonnet 90; I remember -- vividly -- the first time I read it. Can still feel my eyes widen as understanding flooded through me, word by word. This poem is universal:

Hate me, if you must, just make it now. Now, when all the world wants to get in line, if you must join in and kick me too, tell me... I'll lie down. Just, don't let your hate come later.
When this elastic expanse has stretched my heart, but failed to make it break apart, do not sneak up behind me with the shock that would see me fail. Do not, to extend my pain, be condensed like precipitated drizzle to flood the morning after my darkest night.
If you are going to leave, don't wait until every other minor aggravation has corroded me, get in at the start. Go first. Then, I'll know fate’s most cruel blow. After that, any and every other misery that seems unbearable now, will not feel that bad.

Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;

Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,

Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,

And do not drop in for an after-loss:

Ah, do not, when my heart hath 'scoped this sorrow,

Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe;

Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,

To linger out a purposed overthrow.

If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,

When other petty griefs have done their spite

But in the onset come; so shall I taste

At first the very worst of fortune's might,

And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,

Compared with loss of thee will not seem so.

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