This podcast series will take you through them one by one in easy 15 minute installments. The show’s two hosts, and maybe one or two special guests, will read through the sonnet and talk about what it means to them and what they feel about it.
You can listen as the hosts increase their knowledge of the sonnets while providing an entertaining and enlightening experience for you.
Sonnet 154: The little Love-god lying once asleep
The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow’d chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm’d;
And so the general of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm’d.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseased; but I, my mistress’ thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.
Sonnet 153: Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep
Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep.
A maid of Dian’s this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground,
Which borrowed from this holy fire of love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress’ eye love’s brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast.
I sick withal the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distempered guest,
But found no cure; the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire—my mistress’ eye.
Sonnet 152: In loving thee thou know’st I am forsworn
In loving thee thou know’st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing,
In act thy bed-vow broke and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing.
But why of two oaths’ breach do I accuse thee,
When I break twenty? I am perjured most,
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee,
And all my honest faith in thee is lost.
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy,
And to enlighten thee, gave eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see:
For I have sworn thee fair; more perjured eye,
To swear against the truth so foul a lie.
Sonnet 151: Love is too young to know what conscience is
Love is too young to know what conscience is,
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove.
For, thou betraying me, I do betray
My nobler part to my gross body’s treason;
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love; flesh stays no farther reason,
But rising at thy name doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize; proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.
No want of conscience hold it that I call
Her ‘love’ for whose dear love I rise and fall.
Sonnet 150: O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
With insufficiency my heart to sway,
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
There is such strength and warrantize of skill
That in my mind thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,
The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
O, though I love what others do abhor,
With others thou shouldst not abhor my state.
If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
More worthy I to be beloved of thee.
Sonnet 149: Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not
Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee, when I forgot
Am of myself, all tyrant for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?
On whom frown’st thou that I do fawn upon?
Nay, if thou lour’st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in myself respect
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
But love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;
Those that can see, thou lov’st, and I am blind.
Great achievement to work through the sonnets although I do think the commentators may be missing quite a lot of the meanings of the sonnets. Listening to 18 I did guffaw when the Darling Buds of May was referred to as a dodgy sitcom that David Jason did before he was Del Boy 🤣. Also don’t think Shakespeare was taking a duvet day and knocking out a lazy sonnet! So many layers of meaning not even glanced over but driven by at 100 miles an hour! To be fair I’ll listen to some more and maybe adjust this rating but on this one, boys go back again and have a think.