These are dark times.
People are sick and dying. Folks are trapped inside their houses on virtual quarantine. We're running out of options, and quite honestly, we're running out of sanity.
But Sir Patrick Stewart, as always, is an international treasure and is determined to do his part to help us weather this crisis.
Stewart, 79, has taken to reading a sonnet a day aloud and posting it on Instagram.
He started with Sonnet 116:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments. Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds,/Or bends with the remover to remove./O no! it is an ever-fixed mark/That looks on tempests and is never shaken;/It is the star to every wand'ring bark,/Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken./Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickle's compass come;/Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,/But bears it out even to the edge of doom./If this be error and upon me prov'd,/I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd."
The sonnet's beautiful message says that love does not change through hardship; rather, it is the "star" to guide those struggling through to safety.
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Sir Patrick got such a powerful response to his reading that he continued with yet another sonnet.
"From fairest creatures we desire increase,/That thereby beauty's rose might never die,/But as the riper should by time decease,/His tender heir might bear his memory:/But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,/Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,/Making a famine where abundance lies,/Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:/Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,/And only herald to the gaudy spring,/Within thine own bud buriest thy content,/And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding:/Pity the world, or else this glutton be, /To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee."
Stewart also said that during his childhood, in the 1940s during WWII, his mother would "cut up slices of fruit" for him and say "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
"How about, 'A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away'?" he posits.
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Thus far, a sonnet a day we have gotten.
"When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,/And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,/Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now,/Will be a totter'd weed of small worth held:/Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,/Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;/To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,/Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise./How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,/If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine/Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,/'Proving his beauty by succession thine!/This were to be new made when thou art old,/And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold."
"Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest/Now is the time that face should form another;/Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,/Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother./For where is she so fair whose uneared womb/Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?/Or who is he so fond will be the tomb/Of his self-love, to stop posterity?/Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee/Calls back the lovely April of her prime;/So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,/Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time./But if thou live, remembered not to be,/Die single and thine image dies with thee."
Folks had no idea this is exactly what they needed in order to weather this storm.
In these trying times, the simplest beacon of hope goes a long way.