Read my books, read my looks - just read already! SONNET 23 is one of Will's more recognized sonnets because he refers to an actor on the stage, but did you ever think it could pertain to your life experience? Have another look and listen and see for yourself!
Old Word New: fleer - a condescending look or laugh; gibe.
1609 QUARTO ACTING CLUES VERSION
As an unperfect actor on the stage, As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his feare is put besides his part, Who with his fear is put besides his part,
Or some fierce thing repleat with too much rage, Or some fierce thing repleat with too much rage,
Whose strengths abondance weakens his owne heart; Whose / strengths abundance weakens his own heart;
So I for feare of trust, forget to say, So I for fear of trust, forget / to say,
The perfect ceremony of loves right, The perfect ceremony of love's right,
And in mine owne loves strength seeme to decay, And in mine own love's / strength seem to decay,
Ore-charg'd with burthen of mine owne loves might: Ore-charg'd with burthen of mine own love's might:
O let my books be then the eloquence, O let my books* be then the eloquence,
And domb presagers of my speaking brest, And / dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who pleade for love, and look for recompence, Who plead for love, and look for / recompence,
More then that tonge that more hath more exprest. More then that / tongue that more hath more expressed.
O learne to read what silent love hath writ, O learn to read what silent love hath writ,
To heare wit eies belongs to loves fine wiht. To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
*As we talk about in the show, modern editors often change this word to "looks."