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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Roses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1419  Monday, 29 August 2005

From: 		David Basch <
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Date: 		Friday, 26 Aug 2005 13:47:44 -0400
Subject: 16.1370 Roses
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1370 Roses

Larry Weiss made an astute observation about my thought. Here is my 
thought repeated:

 >Through Sonnet 20, the poet tells how he must approach this
 >self through a pure love, fitting for a godly higher angel sent
 >by the Lord to all young men (and to young women too as an
 >angelic young lady) at the age of twelve or thirteen, which is
 >part of the allegory that the Sonnets as a whole present."

To this, Larry Weiss quipped:

 >I see now,  it's a bar mitzvhah sermon.

Yes Larry, or a confirmation sermon, which is another way to describe 
it. Larry correctly sees the nature of Shakespeare's Sonnets allegory 
but chooses to disparage that which the poet has hallowed.

The substance of this allegory is introduced in the Pentateuch which 
identifies 13 as the age of responsibility. This is followed up in 
1Kings 3:5-15 in the episode of the heavenly visitation to Solomon, who 
was "but a little child" and who is given wisdom. The Rabbis saw this 
visitation as a universal phenomenon experienced by all young people at 
age 12, just before their 13th birthday, when they are about to enter 
maturity and to receive the guidance of a higher soul, their higher 
angel, to complement their lower angel given at birth.

This angelic personification is the young man of the Sonnets and he is 
described as dwelling within the heart of the poet. For example, read 
the hint in the first line of Sonnet 24:

    |\/| Ine eye hath play'd the painter and hath steeld
    |  | Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;
    My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,

Note the "Ine eye" or "inner eye" referred to and the fact that the 
beauty of the friend resides within the body.

If this allegory is understood, the Sonnets are transformed from odes to 
spontaneous impulse into a coherent whole with a larger message about 
the nature of man and his trials as part of the divine plan. This would 
be reveal a different Shakespeare than what many imagine, who see the 
poet as quintessentially terrestrial and involved in little more than 
"making it" and satisfying his impulses.

The Sonnets is truly a key to the personal higher thoughts of the poet 
and is worthy of careful, in depth study to reveal its message. And the 
higher message the poet brings here is but an example of the messages he 
brings in his other works about the human condition. These reward the 
deep study that would be a fitting response to their most high content.

David Basch

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