As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by fortune’s dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth;
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despised,
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
That I in thy abundance am sufficed
And by a part of all thy glory live.
Look, what is best, that best I wish in thee:
This wish I have; then ten times happy me!
In this sonnet, Shakespeare is comparing the adoration he feels toward the fair youth to the love an aging father feels toward his children. As a father who has passed middle age, it is this feeling to which I relate.
When I look at my kids, or talk with them on the phone, I catch aspects of myself reflected in them. As a parent, I have tried to impart only the better parts of myself, but I also see my shortcomings. I guess it’s a package deal. We try to share our experiences, strengths, and hopes, but inadvertently, we also share our fears, flaws, and sufferings. Essentially, we share our lives.
When I see my children happy, the feeling of joy that wells within me is something that is beyond my normal happiness. It is like a geyser of euphoria erupting from my soul. Conversely, when I see my children sad or in pain, the anguish I feel knows no depth. I suspect any parent reading this can relate.
These uncertain times are making me appreciate what is truly important in my life, the relationships to people I love. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope you and your family are all safe and healthy.
5 responses to ““Sonnet 37: As a decrepit father takes delight” by William Shakespeare”
Hi Jeff – I completely relate to how you feel about your children’s ups and downs. I’m truly happy when they are. I also believe we have that “sense” when things aren’t going well with them. Great analogy.
Hi Barb. Glad you enjoyed the poem. Wishing you and your family all the best. Stay safe and healthy!
I hear what you’re saying as a parent Jeff. When things are great it feels great. When things are not great when they are dealing with stress etc. you feel helpless. I guess thats what a caring parent is about I suppose.
Hey Deke. Thanks for your comment. You summed it up nicely. I hope you get to enjoy some good times with your family. These stressful times make you realize what’s important. Peace.
Absolutely Jeff! Absolutely!