Sonnet 18 set to lovely music
September 5, 2014 by Mark Shea
"But thy eternal summer shall not fade" ... Indeed, the Blessed Virgin was called to Heaven after decades of living when Her Son was gone. Nunc hiems ... (Nam enim hiems transiit) imber abiit et recessit. Surge amica mea at veni. Her eternity and resurrection and glory is already ongoing and never ending.
"So long as men can breathe or eyes can see" ... ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes, ... all generations must praise Mary as Blessed (Luke 1:48), just as all generations must give Glory to God (Ephesians 3:21).
"So long lives this," - not the sonnet as uncautious readers might think, but an Ave (of which the sonnet is a translation).
"and this gives life to thee." - Indeed, "Ave Maria" must have sounded about the same in Hebrew as in Latin and the Hebrew meaning of it is "life to thee Mary".
Just a little confirmation of a thesis not my own discovery, that Shakspear was a secret Catholic.* They also say he painted his famous portrait over an icon of Our Lady, to protect it from vandalism.
Mark Shea was asking a good question, though an ignorant one. Or rather the question was good because it was an ignorant and therefore innocent one:
"I wonder why somebody hasn’t attempted to set all the sonnets to music? Seems like a natural."
But one did! Sonnets and madrigals back in the Renaissance were given standard musical melodies. Writing a sonnet back then was not just a question of writing in such and such a form, but also of writing to a preset tune, at least in some parts of the Italian music life.
And according to the thesis I read, Shakspear had actually been in Italy.
However, I do not know if there was a set melody for sonnets in English music life. Nor if Shakspear's sonnets were actually sung to such a melody.
Maybe David Gilmour knows?
Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Zacharias the Prophet
and my own 46:th birthday
* When I read it in a mail distributed magazine of German SSPX, I got the impression the research had been done by a woman. Here it seems it was done by a Jesuit:
Shakespeare's Secret Faith (by Joan Frawley Desmond)
"Father Peter Milward, the author who began researching this subject a half century ago."