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When my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
   Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
   And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.

Shakespeare Sonnet 138

Shakespearean Sonnets and doing SharePoint in the Pharmaceuticals

I had the privilege of building SharePoint sites for a Pharmaceutical company whose name will remain hidden to protect the guilty. Not that this company is much guiltier than any other of the same ilk and not that they really have a choice but to be the way they are (and if that is not a convoluted statement, it is only because I have made some by far more convoluted than this).

Regardless of blame or lack thereof, as a consultant in the Pharma industry my hands are tied. I am not even an admin on my own PC and have to beg for every privilege no matter how important it is for a successful performance of my tasks.

So what does all of this have to do with the Shakespearean sonnet? A LOT!!

The Surrey sonnet better known as the Shakespearean sonnet consists of 14 lines, each of 10 syllables and divided into 3 quadruplets and a couplet. The general rhyming form is abab, cdcd, efef, gg. The last two lines (gg) generally sum up the first twelve.

Did you notice how many rules the author has to observe and obey? The rules are not as simple as one might think. Writing in 10 syllables is actually extremely hard. Shakespeare himself “Cheated” a lot by swallowing extra syllables (e.g. o’er instead of over) and taking poetic license with the way words are pronounced so that he could preserve the rhymes (note the young – tongue in lines 5 and 7 above and even more so with lies - subtleties in lines 2 and 4).

When I was a young student, my love for Math did not reduce my joy of poetry and when English (as a second language) was added to my curriculum, I started to write poetry. One of my self-training tasks was to mimic the poetic forms of the poets that I admired. Among them A.E. Housman, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Lewis Carroll – yes “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” contain many a wonderfully constructed poems as does the “Hunting of the Snark”. Did I mention Shakespeare? Yes, I tried my hand in Shakespearean sonnets too. Little did I know that the sonnetic (my word with a self-granted poetic license) limitations and the unavoidable bending of the rules that they entail will become useful so many years later when I needed to build a few especially equipped yet codeless sites for the Pharmaceuticals.

Sonnet 18 is possibly the most quoted and mentioned of all the sonnets. Look it up. Here is how my own poor imitation looks.

Shall I compare thee to a firm round grape?
Thou art more lovely and much more divine.
For it can only keep its young firm shape
In the summer, upon the fruitful vine.
Thy true beauty, being all internal
Compares to that of the good vintage wine;
Like the amber liquid it's eternal,
With a taste that lingers pure and sublime.
And I the lusty taster can't refrain
From sipping on your excellent sweet taste,
Forging my will trying to contain
And rule the urge of drinking you with haste.
  For you, dear soul, as delicate as lace,
  Are only to be sipped with careful grace.

That’s All Folks!!

Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 4:44 PM | Back to top


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