By William Shakespeare
For this new version, first released in 1971, Ted Hughes augmented his unique choice of Shakespeare's poems and dramatic speeches and entirely rewrote his accompanying essay, aspiring to restoration to the typical reader a lot of what, in Shakespeare, was once instinctively to be had to the viewers of his day, and to teach how Shakespeare's language unites in its sinews and substance the total variety of Elizabethan preoccupations, philosophical and social.
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I felt an embarrassing pain distributed over my arms which were powerless to order the leaves to blossom or the old women on the stairs to buy shoes to cover their feet. Then you took my hand. You told me that love was a sudden disturbance of the nerve ends that startled the fibres and made them new again. You quoted a song about a man running by the sea who drew into his lungs the air that had several times been around the world. A speck of coal dust floated down and settled on my lapel. Quickly with your free hand you rubbed out the spot.
Sunday Evening I am telling you a number of half-conditioned ideas Am repeating myself, The room has four sides; it is a rectangle, From the window the bridge, the water, the leaves, Her hat is made of feathers, My fortune is produced from glass And I drink to my extinction. Barges on the river carry apples wrapped in bales, This morning there was a sombre sunrise, In the red, in the air, in what is falling through us We quote several things. THE LOCATION OF THINGS / 13 I am talking to you With what is left of me written oﬀ, On the cuﬀ, ancestral and vague, As a monkey walks through the many fires Of the jungle while a village breathes in its sleep.
Port, produced in San Francisco by Poets Theater, California College of the Arts and Crafts, 2000. Collages: Ninth Street, New York (1950). On cover of Barbara Guest’s Selected Poems. Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1995. Note: in 1950 Barbara Guest was living in a rental apartment on East Ninth Street, Manhattan, New York. East Ninth Street, New York (1950). On cover of Barbara Guest’s Miniatures and Other Poems. : Wesleyan University Press, 2002. Awakening (1951). On cover of Barbara Guest’s Rocks on a Platter: Notes on Literature.
A Choice of Shakespeare's Verse by William Shakespeare