Monsieur Would Enjoy the Chateau Python-Lalande, Perhaps, or the Spambolle-Moosigny?
Conjugate Your Way to Total Fitness

Comparisons Are Odorous
(Sonnet 18 Gets a Once Over, Twice Over)

Sonnet xviii

At a young and impressionable age, probably around the time it was published in 1963, I acquired a copy of Bennett Cerf's Houseful of Laughter, an anthology of humorous pieces by such masters of the genre as Thurber, Benchley, and Perelman.  It was through that collection that I first discovered poet and humorist Richard Armour, who was represented by a long excerpt from his parodic history of the United States, It All Started with Columbus.  Armour was a long time favorite of mine, largely because he indulged his gift and inclination for puns whenever the occasion presented.

Another of Armour's books was Punctured Poems: Famous First and Infamous Second Lines, in which (as his title suggests) he would take the Famous First Line of a poem and attach to it a risible second line.  I no longer have my copy of the book, but I can recall three examples.  

  • John Milton:

When I consider how my light is spent
I'm glad that utilities come with the rent.

  • Walt Whitman:

I sing of myself and praise myself
My picture's in the hallway, my bust's on the shelf.

  • And the actual subject of this post, William Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?  
Hot?  Sweaty?  Fly infested?

On April 1, 2005, in the days before that date became the exclusive province of Blawg Review, I took a whack at Sonnet XVIII by reducing it to a PowerPoint slideshow.  I gave it no further thought until the good folk at the Catalan literary blog blocs de lletres, who have produced a series of video adaptations of poems in many languages, made Sonnet XVIII their latest selection.  

Here it is, in their pleasing if conventional version:

Sonet XVIII, de William Shakespeare
from blocsdelletres on Vimeo.

This languid pastoral served me as a call to action.  I had been thinking for some time that it would be a bit of a lark to transfer that old PowerPoint version of mine to video, with appropriate narration, and to repost it here.  And that is what I have done.  

Here then, con vox et musica, is the return of Sonnet XVIII -- The PowerPoint

Thou and a Summer's Day [Sonnet XVIII - The PowerPoint]
from George Wallace on Vimeo.


Illustration: Photo of handmade limited edition of Sonnet XVIII (edition of 25), by De Walden Press.





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