Sir Patrick Stewart, the subject of this week’s ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ profile, has shared the great William Shakespeare’s collection of 154 sonnets with his 1.5 million-strong Instagram community as a way to bring comfort and meaning to the world in the midst of some of the toughest days of our lifetimes.
We encourage you to take a few minutes to listen and contemplate these words, first published all together in a quarto in 1609.
We include the first, and final four sonnets as a teaser, in the hope that the wisdom and incomparable eloquence of the Bard will help to inspire you. You could even have a crack at reading them out aloud, as they were designed to be enjoyed.
Whether familiar to you or not, Shakespeare’s sonnets represent every aspect of the human condition, and are a priceless guide to all the glories, infamies, archetypes and shadows in life, and everything in between.
With his roots firmly grounded in the lives of the working people, and a man of socialist beliefs, Sir Patrick has long championed the rights of every man and women to live, and die, with dignity.
He applies this to his life and work, and shared with us this valuable life lesson, from his days at the Royal Shakespeare Company: “I’ve always referred to companies I’ve worked in, whether we were making a series or a movie or a play, as an ensemble.
“And I always insisted on that. ‘Nobody’s the lead. Nobody’s in charge.’ And it was Peter Brook, the great English director, who once said, ‘Whoever is speaking is the most important person on stage.’ So if you were a servant or a soldier with a message, you knew that you had a right to be there and a right to take your few moments of moving a story forward, or doing something interesting, or making an announcement. And it produced in the company a feeling of confidence and interaction.
“Well, I’m trying to find that again.”