The Rival Poet's Reply to William Shakespeare's Sonnet 2

Updated on January 12, 2018
Lord of Poetry profile image

World's lone sonnet grandmaster. Shakespeare's Sonnet 1 describes him as “the world’s fresh ornament and only herald to the gaudy spring."

Am I among the fairest? Only you
make so much fuss about my progeny.
Why should I get than you a greater due?
Why force my beauty on posterity?

A "decent, gracious motion" in your view
comprises Beauty's "best part". I agree!
But not just physical, I would argue,
for mind and heart can move more artfully.

Then I can say we're beautiful with zest
if apprehended in a higher sense.
Proclaiming beauty can provoke protest.

But in my own beloved Philippines,
there are no winters, sire, so I'd request:
speak plainly when you speak of yourself hence.

-- Jose Rizal M. Reyes
April 1, 2012 / Palm Sunday, April Fool's Day
Baguio City, Philippines

rhyming pattern: abab abab cdc dcd
sonnet type: Italian sonnet 1 in iambic pentameter

To properly understand the Shakespearian sonnets and the Replies, readers should understand that it was Sir Francis Bacon who wrote the Shakespearian plays and poems.  The great American writer Mark Twain is among those who hold this perspective.
To properly understand the Shakespearian sonnets and the Replies, readers should understand that it was Sir Francis Bacon who wrote the Shakespearian plays and poems. The great American writer Mark Twain is among those who hold this perspective. | Source

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 2

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a totter'd weed of small worth held:
Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

Notes and Commentaries

✿ Re "decent, gracious motion" & "Beauty's best part"

This refers to a passage in Sir Francis Bacon's essay titled "Of Beauty":
"In beauty, that of favor, is more than that of color; and that of decent and gracious motion, more than that of favor. That is the best part of beauty, which a picture cannot express; no, nor the first sight of the life."

✿ Off-the-cuff remark 1

Today is a crucial day. I've got to decide whether to infuse some fancy aspect to my 154 Replies -- I mean, whether or not I should attempt a sonnet sequence (in terms of structure, not in terms of subject).

My preferred sonnet sequence for the 154 Replies is what I call a Ladder of Sonnets (as distinguished from the so-called Crown of Sonnets) on both ends to create an impression of a grandstand or coliseum for the whole work.

✿ Off-the-cuff remark 2

But I am reluctant to infuse too much fancy structure into the 154 Replies because it diminishes my ability to answer the Shakespearian author as sharply as I can. I wanted to but I shouldn't. I suppose that in a work like this, substance (meaning, making a good reply) should be given more importance than form (although artistry is already a given this being poetry). And yet ...

Let me ask you a question, why do cue artists and basketball greats had to do those trick shots and fancy moves even if they didn't have to?

✿ Off-the-cuff remark 3

Aw, I've just noticed. The sestet is not cdc dcd but cdc cdc ^ ^.

We are both lovely then if that's the sense
and thus protect ourselves from loud protest.
Proclaiming beauty can be an offense.

But in my own beloved Philippines,
there are no winters, sire, so I'd request:
speak plainly when you speak of yourself hence.

Let me do some troubleshooting.

✿ Off-the-cuff remark 4

Maybe this revision may do. It's now a genuine cdc dcd

Then I can say we're beautiful with zest
if apprehended in the proper sense.
Proclaiming beauty can provoke protest.

But in my own beloved Philippines,
there are no winters, sire, so I'd request:
speak plainly when you speak of yourself hence.

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    • Lord of Poetry profile imageAUTHOR

      Jose Rizal Reyes 

      12 months ago from Tabing Dagat, Odiongan, Romblon, Philippines

      Cleared for publication by July 12, 2017.

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