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Winter -- William Shakespeare

(Poem #611) Winter
 When icicles hang by the wall
   And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
 And Tom bears logs into the hall
   And milk comes frozen home in pail,
 When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,
   Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit;
      Tu-who, a merry note,
   While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

 When all aloud the wind doth blow
   And coughing drowns the parson's saw
 And birds sit brooding in the snow
   And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
 When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
   Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit;
      Tu-who, a merry note,
 While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
-- William Shakespeare
 From "Love's Labours Lost", Act V, Scene ii.

 The weather has suddenly taken a turn for the colder here in Tokyo; also,
just yesterday I was watching the Elizabethan series of Blackadder [1]. The
combination made the choice of today's poem irresistible...


[1] "For many people under 35, their most vivid glimpses of Britain's
illustrious history have been through the Blackadder chronicles which
brightened television screens from 1983 to 1989. Their constantly reborn
protagonist, Edmund Blackadder, flounced through a bloody Middle Ages, a
campy Elizabethan court, even camper Regency revels, and the rat-infested
trenches of the Great War, armed with only his repulsive servant Baldrick,
and a fine line in complex insults [2]."
     -- [broken link]

[2] For example: "you would bore the leggings off a village idiot" and "he's
got a brain the size of a weasel's wedding tackle"; a complete set of
Blackadder transcripts is available at
[broken link]

32 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

OA.Devonport said...

So evocative ; a remembered childhood in a cold postwar England.Warming
frozen fingers on a schoolroom radiator only to cry again when feeling
returned to announce the burning sensations in six year old fingers....And
to experience the mind numbing cruelty of Victorian outdoor open roofed
schoolyard toilets,designed to provide only briefest fleeting relief to the
desperate child. How this poem brings back the chilling memories of a cold
childhood.and yet a certain nostalgia for a world now gone. How can that be
The fear of going to school and of the confusion of not really understanding
what was going on or required of me ,being punished and thinking "I must be
stupid"..only to discover later in my life that I have a hearing problem.
Being out in the cold ....Winter.

Sara Huntley said...

My favorite Shakespeare poem-makes you feel the cold.

ArineYuki Afz said...

Winter of william shakespeare...
it makes me feel how cold the place is.

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