Now, a Shakespearean Moment
William Shakespeare created some of the most influential and enduring works in history. Though he died nearly four hundred years ago, he remains the most widely performed playwright in the world.
But for many readers it is Shakepseare's sonnets that speak most directly to the heart and mind. Sonnet 55.
Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lover's eyes.
James Earl Jones reads Sonnet 55.
This Shakespearean Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts. I'm Dana Gioia, Chairman of the NEA.
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