Sonnet XXXIL (32) – If Thou Survive My Well Contented Day

Sonnet XXXIL (32) – If Thou Survive My Well Contented Day

This has been a favourite to read out loud over the last couple of months.  Is Shakespeare teasing his lover – is it possible that he wasn’t aware of his own genius?  Perhaps Stewart Trotter author of the Shakespeare code could explain?

‘If thou survive my well contented day,

When that churl death my bones with dust shall cover,

And shalt by fortune once more re-survey

The poor rude lines of thy deceased lover,

Compare them with the bettering of the time,

And though they be outstripped by every pen,

Reserve them for my love, not for their rime,

Exceeded by the height of happier men,

O! Then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:

‘Had my friend’s muse grown with this growing age,

A dearer birth than this his love had brought,

To march in ranks of better equipage:

But since he died, and poets better prove,

Theirs for their style I’ll read, his for his love.’

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare