For almost five hundred years, William Shakespeare has been known the world over as the master of the Sonnet. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets which comprise two groups, and all are reproduced in this small but stylish collection. In the first 126 Sonnets, Shakespeare speaks of a young friend's beauty, refinement, and goodness, and insists that he must marry and sire children in order to perpetuate that beauty lest it end with his eventual death. The Bard brilliantly and movingly describes the object of his affection in a series of variations on traditional themes of the form. As the sequence progresses, however, the poet expresses disappointment that his friend no longer loves him in return. Ultimately, it appears that the friend has actually stolen the poet's lover, a woman addressed in the latter Sonnets (below). The poet fears that his place in his friend's affections (as well as, perhaps, his literary patronage) has been taken by another, superior poet. The Bard worries that his friend resents his public displays (perhaps referring to Shakespeare's career as an actor), but gradually, over the course of the last several poems of this group, the spirit of love returns, reflecting a reconciliation between the friends. Sonnet 126 closes the series with a return to the subject of the young man's beauty and mortality. Sonnets 127-154 address a woman who has become known as Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady” (a woman of dark complexion and, metaphorically, of dark morals) who has betrayed the poet's love by loving other men. The poet complains not only that she has been unfaithful to him, but that she has been so with his friend, the subject of his first 126 Sonnets, thereby leaving him abandoned by both of his loves. Was the love triangle which played out in Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets a situation which played out in his life, or a literary creation – a story told in 154 ‘chapters’ comprised of Sonnets which are not only able to stand alone to move the heart but which, together, move the soul, as well?
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Christopher Corbett-Fiacco is a writer, editor and publisher who has produced "The Whole World Calendar Book(s) of Holidays Around the World" (soon to be re-titled the "Happy Holiday" Series as in "Happy Holidays 2016") as well as the poetry collection "The Faithful Heart" and the literary magazine "Sisyphus Quarterly."
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