Nov. 2, 2003

Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold

by William Shakespeare

Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Sonnet 73," by William Shakespeare, from The Complete Sonnets (Dover).


That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the deathbed 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 long.

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of Marie Antoinette, born in Vienna, Austria (1755). At age 15 she was married to the crowned prince of France, who became King Louis XVI four years later. He was quiet and kept a low profile, but she was outgoing and flamboyant, and people came to resent her extravagant ways. She tended to do her own thing with her friends, and thereby alienated a lot of the people in the court. They distributed satirical pamphlets criticizing her as immoral and wasteful. Antoinette supported the Old Regime when the French Revolution began, and when the National Convention established the First French Republic in 1792, she and the King were imprisoned. On October 16, 1793, she was executed on the guillotine.

It was on this day in 1889 that North Dakota and South Dakota became the 39th and 40th states of the Union. The European explorers had first discovered the region in the 1740s, when the area was populated by at least eight American Indian tribes. Lewis and Clark wintered there in 1804. It's where they saw their first grizzly bear. Lewis wrote, "[The grizzly bear is] a most tremendious looking anamal, and extreemly hard to kill. I find that the curiossity of our party is pretty well satisfyed with rispect to this anamal." In 1874, gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and a flood of hungry prospectors poured in from the east, battling and displacing the Sioux as they came. The Northern Pacific Railway was finished, which brought in 100,000 more people to settle in the Dakota Territory. The territory was divided in two and proclaimed by President Benjamin Harrison as North and South Dakota—one section for people who wanted Bismarck as their capital, and one for those who favored Pierre.

It's the anniversary of the first scheduled radio broadcast in the United States, in 1920. Station KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcasted the results of the presidential election in which Warren G. Harding defeated James M. Cox. The broadcaster read telegraph ticker results over the air as they came in, and the few people in the eastern part of the country who owned radios could tune in to listen. The 1920 election was also the first election in which women were allowed to vote, following the passage of the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It's the birthday of Swedish writer Moa Martinson, born in Vardnas, Sweden (1890). She was a novelist and journalist who wrote about the struggles of poor farm workers in the Swedish countryside. She left home when she was thirteen years old, and worked at a series of menial jobs. She married a cement worker when she was twenty, and they had five sons together. But two of the children drowned, and in 1928 her husband killed himself. She eventually got remarried to the novelist Harry Martinson, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1974. She became a journalist and a socialist, and she wrote passionately on behalf of farm and factory workers. In 1933, she came out with her first novel, Women and Appletrees, about several women's struggle against poverty and abuse. She's best known for her autobiographical trilogy published in the late 1930s: Mother Gets Married (1936), Church Wedding (1938), and The King's Roses (1938).

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show