Posted in Of Quotations

Of Shakespeare on Beauty

Today, I bring you my first Youtube video.

Shakespeare discusses some very progressive ideas on beauty – standards of beauty we still hold today, what really is or should be considered beautiful, and whether “artificial” or enhanced beauty is real or legitimate beauty after all.

Sonnet 127

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slander’d with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature’s power,
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrow’d face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profan’d, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ brows are raven black,
Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says, beauty should look so.

I’d love to hear your ideas on this subject. Please share in the comments section!

As for the Youtube channel (yes, finally!), I am treading very new, very intimidating ground, but I’d love to extend into new ways of expressing myself. I hope to share ‘audio’ essays (basically, the kind I write here, but literally vocal) and others. I’m sure there is a karaoke video on the horizon. So, if you’d like to participate in the madness and the musing, please click here to subscribe. Thank you!


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

16 thoughts on “Of Shakespeare on Beauty

  1. Great post! I’m looking forward to seeing how your channel progresses – I think the essays are really going to suit the medium 🙂
    I definitely think Shakespeare had a way of looking at beauty that separated him from a lot of his contemporaries. It’s evident in the way his characters are described, as well as in his sonnets and more random pieces. It’s amazing how extremely relevant this is now!

    1. Exactly! His thoughts in this sonnet are light years ahead! He’s always had unconventional attitudes to men, women and beauty in his plays and poems, but this one puts things quite brutally. It’s almost avant garde!

      Thank you very much for your support with my blog and my “channel”. I promise it would still be very much me, only with a voice!

  2. You have such a beautiful voice! I can’t wait to see what else you’ll be reading and to hear your musings. When possible, I always prefer to hear people explain their thoughts than read them. As wonderful as the written word is, it can never fully replace tone. Good luck with your channel!

    1. Thank you very much, Kate! There is certainly something more friendly and inviting about listening to someone speak. That is why the radio never seems to go away, despite television and the internet. And sometimes videos can have too much stimuli in them. Thank you again for your interest in the channel!

  3. What a great idea! Love it! And it was wonderful to hear your eloquent voice. You are right that it changes everything. I remember one poetry class I took in college. We were working in teams on a poem (in our case Henry Vaughan’s ‘Retreat’ and the 17th Century prose was confusing at times so we would recite it out to one another to listen. It is less intimidating, and as you say, friendly and inviting to listen to. I subscribed to the channel and look forward to more

    1. Thank you very much, Robert! I am so glad you liked it! The audio essay concept, or ‘podcast’, makes me even more nervous! I’ve been meaning to start a podcast since the beginning of last year, but the demos I made had too many ‘ah’s’ and ‘um’s’ that would take hours to edit! It’s going to take a while to grasp a new medium, but I hope recording written material – like poetry or sections from plays etc, might help make the process smoother.

      I love the metaphysical poets. Donne is my fave, but I enjoy Vaughan too. It’s like poetry for people who aren’t interested in poetry.

      1. Not too many people know Vaughan so I am mightily impressed! People have told me I should do a podcast too but I am afraid to for the same reason-all those um’s and ah’s. Not to mention I don’t want to just speak about music. There are enough people doing that already and because mine is visual with the listening, I feel it would be doomed! Others want me to do a coffee table book but I have a hard time thinking of that for much the same reason. I think your idea is great, and at the end of the day, the classics always make for inspirational and engaging listening, so I for one will be following.

      2. Well, it is bread and butter for me. I studied English literature at uni so, it isn’t that impressive! I think it is wonderful that people encourage you to do these things to expand your blog. I think my readers, in general, only prefer my essays! I think a podcast with a voiceover and slideshow could work, without overemphasising on either. But, it will be a lot of work, mainly with the editing, as well as highlighting the main points of interest.

      3. I just meant that I think some considered Vaughan a minor poet, and if memory serves correct, some felt he had vaguely plagiarized others work. I appreciate all the comments too, but I think what I would do first (if I had the time and money) would be some type of interactive art show-photos, the music relevant to each playing nearby, and a little blurb next to them. I just think this is a great idea for you, and maybe in time, you can read one of your essays when you get a little more comfortable. Just read it like you write them, replete with Dylan Moran, Kate Bush, and whatever else grabs you!

      4. I haven’t read Vaughan in detail in recent years, though I still read a lot of Donne. The Retreat is a famous one though, and fine too. As an outsider whose idea of New York City is mainly based on pop culture, I think you live in the best place to be trying out something like that. If I were you, I’d prefer an interactive show to doing a podcast, or even a blog. It will be costly getting permission for the music, but if you focus more on the artists you are personally in touch with (I think you mentioned interacting with Mint Juleps), it will be a more achievable project. Just an idea, an uninformed one at that, but I hope that helps a bit!

        I don’t think I’d be reading my essays. Maybe have bullet points around, but it will be a free, hopefully coherent babble. It would be more awkward if I sat down with notes! Well, we shall have to see. I shouldn’t get carried away with my “success”, i.e. okayness with the Shakespeare sonnet!

      5. Actually, The Retreat is the one we did, and what I meant to mention. What you say is true, I think I could in time do that, but it would be a lot of work and the permissions would be a problem for the big names, but I have built a rapport with some of the other ones I write about. And you are right on the Mint Juleps. I started a tribute page for them, and have since gotten to know several of them, and we chat on FB occasionally. They are tickled that anyone remembers them let alone would do something like that. So yes, great idea and thanks for that feedback! I just think you did something that really speaks to who you are, and it might be nice to incorporate more of that into the YouTube channel. But just an idea, an uninformed one at that, but I hope that helps a bit lol!

      6. Ha ha! It will be incorporated. Even I can’t escape myself, but such is the blogging life! Or perhaps, the ‘making things’ life. And you did mention ‘The Retreat’. Just went and re-read it. I hope to share some metaphysical poetry, at least Donne, this poetry month. Hey, post idea. What about ‘Poetry of a Photograph’ in honour of national poetry month? See what poem coordinates with a photograph you’ve taken?

  4. Oh, my, you have a lovely voice. I have listened to it a few times already. Because I have a secret obsession with accents, I love accents! If I had a smooth and lovely reading voice like yours, I would consider doing this, too. (I have a nasal voice 😦 ) It is always a treat to hear someone read poetry aloud, not something I hear in my life too often. I look forward to more videos!

    1. Thank you very much, Sourgirl! Yes, I do remember your special interest in accents, I am glad to have entertained you as much as Shahrukh Khan in that respect! I’ve always enjoyed accents. Can’t help trying to do one if I listen to a new one! I hope to make more videos soon!

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