On today’s English class my teacher referred to some interesting facts about poetries, an essential part of English Literature. (btw, apart from that are prose, novel and drama.)
English Poetries are written in lines, and separate lines consist of stanzas, among which the most popular two are Couplet (两行诗) and Quartrain (四行诗). A Sonnet is composed of 3 Quartrains and 1 Couplet. William Shakespeare, undoubtedly, is regarded as the laureate in Sonnet-writing.
Below follow two poetries of Shakespeare picked by my teacher:
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? Shall I compare thee1 to a summer’s day? Thou2 art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease3 hath4 all too short a date; Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion5 dimm'd; And every fair from fair6 sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd7; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st8; Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
- hath：即 has；
- complexion：肤色，这句里面的 gold，同样值得推敲，现代英语的 golden 有青春美好的意思；
- fair from fair：两个 fair 指代不同，前一个 fair 指美好的形象，而后一个 fair 指美人；
- untrimm’d：untrimmed，adj. 杂乱的；不整齐的；
- ow’st：古英语中 own 的第二人称形式，下文的 wander’st, grow’st 也是如此；
The poet wanted to convey in his poem that despite the fleeting life humankind are endowed with, and the golden appearance easily gone like the passionate summer, his loved would live forevermore in his eternal lines.
That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold That time of year thou mayst in me behold1, When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang Upon those boughs2 which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou seest the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self3 that seals up all in rest. In me thou seest the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his youth doth lie As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consumed with that which it was nourished by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long4.
- That time of year thou mayst in me behold：That time of year you may in me behold，这里把介词和宾语提前，正常语序是 behold in me；
- Death’s second self：指的是人的睡眠；
- ere long：before long
Comparative to the former one, this one used more contained language and chose gloomy imagery: withered leaf, ruined choirs, sunset and ashes of hearth. In the last sentence did the poet express his thoughts — One day death would befall you and you would leave me alone. So love me more, before that.
Additional Vocabulary of Terms
connotation, denotation：一对反义词，含义 和 指称义；
pentameter：英语诗歌中一扬一抑两个音节为一个 meter，pentameter 含有十个音节；