I have a sonnet on my desk at both work and at home. It is a reminder in the turbulent times about what’s important and how we should walk peacefully through this world appreciating what we have.
The story of how I found the sonnet is that I was an avid watcher of The Tudors, the dramatization of Henry VIII’s life. In one of the episodes the Earl of Surrey, Henry Howard is translating a sonnet to English. The first few lines are read and they really resonated with me. After the programme I searched for the sonnet and found the whole version which is an incredible piece. Only four verses long, but the rhyming and the rhythm of the whole piece just creates such a flow whilst delivering such an important message.
To me it’s about walking through this world contented leaving my own footprint whilst being happy with the actions I’ve taken and how I’ve gained what I have. The great thing about words though is they mean so many things to different people.
As I read, I feel the peace the sonnet talks about. It sort of puts things in perspective for me. Its incredible to think a bit of poetry from the 1500s is still as relevant today as it was then.
On to the sonnet itself, I hope you enjoy:
My friend, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain;
The fruitful ground; the quiet mind;
The equal friend; no grudge; no strife;
No charge of rule, nor governance;
Without disease, the healthy life;
The household of continuance;
The mean diet, no dainty fare;
Wisdom joined with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress:
The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night;
Content thyself with thine estate,
Neither wish death, nor fear his might.