William Shakespeare has been a very important part of my life, especially my married life. My husband proposed on April 23, Shakespeare’s birthday, and we were married a year later on April 23.
We decided, instead of the traditional vows, to each choose a Shakespeare sonnet that would best express what we felt for each other.
My husband chose Sonnet 29, one of the most famous and best-loved of all Shakespeare’s sonnets. I am still immensely flattered and humbled by his choice. This year, on April 23rd, we will celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary, and I absolutely believe that William Shakespeare’s words are very much a part of why our marriage has endured.
Click here for Sonnet 29:
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
by William Shakespeare
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
. . . For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
. . . That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Oh, and for those of you wondering which sonnet I chose, it was this one:
Those lines that I before have writ do lie
by William Shakespeare
Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
Even those that said I could not love you dearer:
Yet then my judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning Time, whose million’d accidents
Creep in ‘twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp’st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas! why, fearing of Time’s tyranny,
Might I not then say, ‘Now I love you best,’
When I was certain o’er incertainty,
Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?
. . . Love is a babe, then might I not say so,
. . . To give full growth to that which still doth grow?
It isn’t as well-known as Sonnet 29, but I knew even on our wedding day that love would be an ever-growing and changing feeling, having to weather many storms and trials, as well as all our joys. That has certainly proved to be true.
May all of you, Dear Readers, be so fortunate as to find your bright particular star to love, and be loved by.