William Shakespeare's Sonnet 17 Who will believe my verse in time to come... (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 17 "Who will believe my verse in time to come..." (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

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Like Sonnet 18, there is little doubt that this was written to a young man.
Similarly, there is no justification for any presumption of homoeroticism (not that there's anything wrong with that, according to Jerry Seinfeld)
The notes attached to Sonnet 18 apply here, too.

It might be addressed to Shakespeare's patron, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, who had already had a son who died at birth.
http://tinyurl.com/yd6ehtq

He was a couple of years older than Shakespeare and it is usually accepted that the "Fair Youth" of the Sonnets was younger, so Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton is a more likely candidate.

Some analysis of this sonnet here:
http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/xviicomm.htm

A portrait said to be William Herbert is shown, painted in about 1625.

The picture of Shakespeare is called the Cobbe Portrait, claimed to have been painted while he was alive in about 1610.

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
If it were filled with your most high deserts?
Though yet heaven knows it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say 'This poet lies;
Such heavenly touches ne'er touched earthly faces.'

So should my papers, yellowed with their age,
Be scorned, like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be termed a poet's rage
And stretched metre of an antique song:

But were some child of yours alive that time,
You should live twice, in it, and in my rhyme.

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