Have you ever wondered why book day is celebrated this day? Some famous writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died on the 23rd of April, 1616.
Later on, some other important authors were born or died on a 23rd of April, too. Because of this, this date is considered to be very important when it comes to literature.
Reading something in English can sometimes be difficult, but trust me, it will help you learn a lot and very fast! A good idea to read something if you don’t have too much free time is to read short stories in English that you can read in just one day. Something else you could choose is poems, because they usually are very short and you will improve your vocabulary a lot.
On a day like this, we are going to check some poems written by William Shakespeare. Among all the things he wrote, we will pay attention to two very different sonnets of his book Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609).
In that time, it was very common to write sonnets using what is called “blazon”, where writers would say many nice things about the person they loved. In the following sonnet we have an example comparing this loved person with a summer’s day. It explains that time is unstoppable and summer has some bad things and it ends, but at the end he expresses that this person is perfect for him and eternal.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
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.
Even though using “Blazon” was very modern back then, and even Shakespeare used it himself, he also wrote some sonnets where he did the opposite. He wrote bad things about the person he loved. However, he didn’t mean it in a bad way, but being realistic. In the following sonnet we have an example against “blazon” where he describes the person he loves as common and plain, but even with all these flaws, he still considers this person to be very beautiful and unique for him.
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
This is just a small example of the many things you can try to read in English. The most important thing is to choose something that you like, and I am sure you will really enjoy while you read it. So go and choose a fun book, poem or text and let’s read together!