Bette
Glimpses of Childhood

Bette's Grandchildren

    My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold
by William Wordsworth

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
    'The Child is Father to the Man'
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

‘THE CHILD is father to the man.’
How can he be? The words are wild.
Suck any sense from that who can:
‘The child is father to the man.’
No; what the poet did write ran,
‘The man is father to the child.’
‘The child is father to the man!’
How can he be? The words are wild.

Shakespeare
1564-1616

Sonnets I Love

Sonnet 116 | Sonnet 29 |Sonnet 25 | Sonnet 27 | Sonnet 73 |Sonnet 129 | Sonnet 109
Sonnet 110 | Sonnet 78 | Sonnet 125 | Sonnet 152 | Sonnet 23 | Sonnet 146



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Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, althought his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
...If this be error and upon me prov'd,
...I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.
I remember lying on Crane Beach
one late summer afternoon
with my teenaged daughters
memorizing Sonnet #116.
Mia was in high school,
Lori & Deahn in college.
We all would have brought a book to the beach.
I think it was Deahn who began reading aloud:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments."
I don't know whose idea it was to memorize it,
but that's what we did, right then,
lying side by side, on our backs, on the beach,
on that unforgettable afternoon,
memorizing Sonnet 116.
 
Sonnet 29

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
...For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
...That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
According to respected Teachers and Professors
and Shakespeare scholars, like Helen Vendler,
the "thee" and "thou" and "thy" in Shakespeare's sonnets
refer to a beautiful and beloved woman or man.
That's what I was taught. I accepted that.

Until recently!
I like to browse through Vendler's The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
and, to keep my brain sharp, find new sonnets to memorize.
A while ago, memorizing Sonnet 29, I had an epiphany!
The "thee" was not a person!
Only God's love could lift me
from "myself almost despising"
to "sing hymns at heaven's gate."

Shakespeare lived and wrote under the rule of Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, and King James, when Catholics were ruthlessly persecuted for their faith. To keep on writing, Shakespeare had to both please the Crown and be true to his Catholic faith.

In Shadowplay, Clare Asquith's analysis of his plays shows how Shakespeare uses secret code words and puns and plays on words, to reveal his own experience, convictions and faith. I am now happily discovering all this in his sonnets.
 
Sonnet 25

Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun's eye,
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
Fior at a frown they in their glory die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil'd,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd;
...Then happy I, that love and am beloved
...Where I may not remove nor be removed.

"But do you know what they (Shakespeare's sonnets) mean?" a friend asked.

By the time I have memorized a sonnet or a poem,
I have gone over and over it a hundred times.
To keep it forever in my memory, it could be a thousand times.
And all those times, I'm thinking about it,
so my answer would be "Yes, I do know what they mean."

Sonnet 25: Worldly triumph is forgotten, dies!
Only in the eternal is "Unlook'd for joy."

"Then happy I, that love and am beloved
Where I may not remove nor be removed."
 
Sonnet 27

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body's work's expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
...Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
...For thee and for myself no quiet find.

All my memorizing comes with a big bonus!
When I wake up in the middle of the night,
I don't worry. My memory is in control, not my thoughts.
Silently, so I don't wake up Charlie, I go through my repetoire.
I could start with Dover Beach, my favorite poem,
or with prayers, the Hail Mary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet,
or with my latest memorized sonnet.
Sometimes, I get through a all of them,
other times I fall asleep in the middle of something,
but at the end, unlike Shakespeare, quiet I find.

 
Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs, 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 death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
...This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
...To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
I first read this sonnet in Mrs. Curley's 10th grade English class
and saw
the oak tree in my back yard with no leaves,
the early dark of daylight savings time,
the dying fire in our living room fireplace,
and my mother and father, already over 50 years old,
older than my friends' parents.
Always terrified of their dying,
I never forgot
"To love that well, which thou must leave ere long."
Now I am old, and what I must leave has expanded widely
which makes my "love more strong."
 
Sonnet 129

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
...ll this the world well knows; yet none knows well
...To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.


I gave this assignment
to my A.P. English class:
Choose a Shakespeare sonnet and respond to it.

The response from one group, this 5' 6" x 2' masterpiece!
At the end of the year the artists (3 boys)
gave their painting to me, framed and ready to hang.
It makes me smile.
 
Sonnet 109

O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reigned
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
...For nothing this wide universe I call
...Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.

I am certain that Sonnet 109 is addressed to the Virgin Mary.
The word absence (line 2) touched me!
When I married Charlie 37 years ago, I made a big decision,
not to go to church on Sundays.
Sunday was the only day he didn't have to work.
I couldn't leave my husband on Sundays.

Then, on a Sunday about 10 years ago, at 7:30 a.m.,
the phone rang. It was Demi crying, "You forgot to do my pills."
(He always did his sister's pills on Saturday evenings.)
He jumped out of bed, and went downtown.
I looked at my watch, realized I could make it to 9 o'clock Mass
at the Novitiate, where friends had been encouraging me to join them..

The reading was 1 Corinthians 7:34
"The unmarried woman thinks about things of the Lord . . . .
Whereas she who is married thinks about the things of the world."
Since that morning, I have gone to Sunday Mass.
Soon after that, Charlie started going to to his Church on Sundays.
And now I go to 9 o'clock Mass at Our Lady of Hope
and meet Charlie at his 10 o'clock Mass at the Greek Orthodox Church.
 
Sonnet 110

Alas, 'tis true I have gone here and there
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new.
Most true it is that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely: but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays prov'd thee my best of love.
Now all is done, have what shall have no end!
Mine appetite, I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A god in love, to whom I am confin'd.
...Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
...Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.
Words in Sonnet 110 Defined:
motley: composed of incongruous elements
gor'd: pierced with a knife
dear: precious
askance: with disapproval, scornfully
blenches: deceptions
essays: trials, tests
proof: experience
an older friend: his Catholic faith
confined: enclosed
 
Sonnet 78

So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse

And found such fair assistance in my verse
As every alien pen hath got my use
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,
Have added feathers to the learned's wing
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine, and born of thee:
In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
...But thou art all my art, and dost advance
...As high as learning my rude ignorance.
Words in Sonnet 78 Defined:

Muse: source of inspiration. God? Holy Spirit?
that alien pen: other poets
got my use: adopted my style
under thee: under your (Muse) patronage
disperse: circulate
grace: a virtue coming from God
compile: compose
influence: inspiration
advnce: raise up
 
Sonnet 125

Were't it aught to me I bore the canopy,

With my extern the outward honouring,
Or laid great bases for eternity,
Which proves more short than waste or ruining;
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favour
Lose all, and more, by paying too much rent,
For compound sweet forgoing simple savour,
Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent?
No;---let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mix'd with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee.
...Hence, thou suborn'd informer! a true soul,
...When most impeach'd, stands least in thy control.
Words in Sonnet 125 Defined:

Lines 1-4: The canopy is carried above the body of Christ (Eucharist) in a Corpus Christi procession. It is possible that Shakespeare, as a young boy, could have carried the canopy, an "extern" (outward) act of public homage. Or, he is simply evoking his Catholic upbringing, a base "for eternity," which often "proves "more short," not surviving "waste or ruining."

Lines 5-8: This is what happens to people who have strayed from their faith, spending too much time, money, and thought on worldly pleasures for pitiful gains. Choosing "compound sweet" over "simple savour, they become "pitiful thrivers."

Lines 5-8: No! he says to that life. He prays to be "obsequious," faithful, dutiful, offering himself as an "oblation," a sacrifice to God. He asks God to accept his devotion, which is honest and true, not artful, not false, "only me for thee."

Couplet: He tells a "suborn'd informer," a paid spy, when most "impeach'd," most accused, he is least in the informer's control.

from Shakespeare's Spiritual Sonnets--John T. Noonan JR
 
Sonnet 152

In loving thee thou knowst I am forsworn;
But thou art twice forsworn to me love swearing,
In act thy bed-vow broke and new faith torn,
In vowing new hate after new love bearing.
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee
When I break twenty? I am perjured most,
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee,
And all my honest faith in thee is lost:
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy faith, thy constancy,
And to enlighten thee gave eyes to blindness,
Or made themswear against the thing theysee:
...For I have sworn thee fair: more perjured eye
...To swear against the truth so foul a lie.
Sonnet 152: An English Catholic reproaches his country.

Line 1: You know I am perjured when I swear the Oath of Allegiance;
Line 2: But in swearing love and allegiance to your subjects you are perjured twice over;
Line 3: First, in Henry's act of supremacy (the bed-vow broke) and then in Elizabeth's Act of Uniformity ('new faith'under Mary 'torn' on Elizabeth's accession);
Line 4: That is, in swearing to persecute subjects
to whom you had just been reconciled (in Mary's reign).

From the worldly oaths to a personal oath, giving one's word of honor

Lines 5 & 6: But of the two of us, I am more perjured;
Line 8: And, in the course of your downfall I have lost everything I sincerely believed in--my faith in you, and the Faith.
Lines 9 & 10: For privately--on the deepest level--I have sworn that in the end you would remain constant to the old religion and true to your own;
Lines 11 & 12: By presenting you in this light I blinded others to the truth, and even made them deny the evidence of their own eyes;
Lines 13 & 14: For I have sworn that you were just and at heart faithful to the 'fair' religion, Catholicism--nothing could be further from the truth.

from Shadowplay--Clare Asquith
 
Sonnet 23

As an unperfect actor on the stage,

Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
O'charged with burthen of mine own love's might.
O! let my books be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that More hath more express'd.
...O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
...To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
Sonnet 23

Lines 1-4: An actor controlled by fear and rage is an unperfect actor. Fear and rage weaken qualities that the poet honors most, such as love.
Lines 4-8: "The perfect ceremony of love's rite is an allusion to the Catholic Mass, "love's right" and "love's rite." He is not enough present at this "perfect ceremony" because of "fear of trust." (Spies were present to report names of "papists" and priests to the authorities).
Line 12: The 3rd "more" in this line alludes to Saint Thomas More, who was martyred under Henry VIII for his Catholic faith.
Shakespeare contrasts his own "unperfect love" with the holy love, "which More hath more expressed."
Line 9: Since he does not have the sacrificial love of Thomas More, he wants his books to be the "dumb presagers of my speaking breast."
Lines 13 & 14: To his readers, Shakespeare tells his readers to "learn to read" what his love, silent through fear, has written. And to hear with their eyes and use their "fine wit" to discern the deeper meanings.

"Shakespeare's Shocking Catholicism" by Joseph Pearce
The Catholic World Report
April 26, 2011
 
Sonnet 146

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,

Feeding these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more.
...So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
...And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.
Sonnet 146

these rebel powers: rebellious flesh & blood
array: clothe
dearth: scarcity, poverty for the soul
outward walls: the body
short a lease: time spent on earth
fading mansion: the body
thy charge: your soul
end: purpose
thy servant's: thy body's
pine: decline
aggravate: increase
terms divine: everlasting life
dross: something base, trivial, inferior; waste

Let your body dwindle to enrich your soul.
"For it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."


from Macbeth,
spoken by Macbeth, upon hearing Lady Macbeth was dead.


She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.


Poems and Prayers

Dover Beach
by Matthew Arnold
1822-1888


The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, not love, nor light,
Nor certifude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
 

Love
by George Herbert
1593-1633

 
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here."
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve"
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat."
 

The World is Too Much With Us
William Wordsworth
1770-1850

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.



Mary
National Geographic Cover
December 2015


Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,

our life, our sweetness, and our hope!

To thee do we cry, poor banaished children of Eve.

To thee do we send up our sighs,

mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.

Turn then, most gracious advocate,

thine eyes of mercy toward us,

and after this, our exile,

show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,

that we may be made worthy

of the promises of Christ.
Let It Be
the Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted
there is still a chance that they will see
there will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy
there is still a light that shines on me.
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Oh, there will be an answer, let it be.


 
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying
That we are born to eternal life.
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

O Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose,
make intercession for our Holy Church,
protect the Sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke thee in their necessities,
and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from thy most holy Son,
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity,
and the precious gift
of final perseverance.