Monday, March 21, 2011

World Poetry Day - Immortality Through Our Descendants



Shakespeare understood the importance of leaving behind children.  That they are our path to immortality.  We live on through them.  As long as there are descendants, we too live in some form.  I'm a big Shakespeare fan.  Can I wax poetic on all aspects of his works?  No.  I'm reading his entire works this year via the Shakespeare in a Year group.  I'm a little far behind, but even if I don't finish with the group I will finish.  It's different reading Shakespeare as an adult than as a high school kid.  You tend to understand more of it.  These are two of my favorite sonnets.  It made me realize how passionately he felt about having children.

Sonnet IX

Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye
That thou consum'st thyself in single life?
Ah! if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee, like a makeless wife:
The world will be thy widow, and still weep
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep,
By childrens eyes, her husband's shape in mind.
Look, what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it:
But beauty's waste hath in the world an end, 
And kept unus'd, the user so destroys it.
No love toward others in that bosom sits, 
That on himself such murderous shame commits.

Die without leaving a child and the world weeps for the loss, while should a wife lose her husband (or vice versa), they continue to see their spouse in their children's faces.  You continue to live on through your children.

Sonnet II

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field, 
Thy youth's proud livery, so gaz'd on now,
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer - 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse-'
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new-made when thou art old, 
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

As we reach the end of our lives we see that there is still so much life left.  Life that we issued.  Why wouldn't a parent as they grow old not look at their children and grandchildren and smile!