A Sonnet from the Bard

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

 

Sonnet 130

William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616

 

Remembering the Elephant Man

With today’s post I’d like to pay tribute to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, born on this day 5 August in 1862.

I would like to share a poem Merrick used to end his letters – adapted from “False Greatness” by Isaac Watts – which has touched me deeply:

 

‘Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.

                    If I could reach from pole to pole
                  Or grasp the ocean with a span,
                  I would be measured by the soul;
                  The mind’s the standard of the man.