Favorite Poems: Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more

I’ve been wanting to write about some of my favorite poems, so here is the first in a short series.

From Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;

Men were deceivers ever;

One foot in sea and one on shore,

To one thing constant never;

Then sigh not so,

But let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny;

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no mo,

Or dumps so dull and heavy;

The fraud of men was ever so,

Since summer first was leavy.

Then sigh not so,

But let them go,

And be you blithe and bonny,

Converting all your sounds of woe

Into hey, nonny, nonny.

Now, I don’t think so low of men as Beatrice, who says this quote, but this selection is representative of Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. I love the joyful tone of much of this play, the quick conversation, the musicality, and the themes of purity and fidelity and the perils of hasty speech and wrong, judgmental thinking.

I love Kenneth Branagh’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. Once when I was in high school, I watched this movie repeatedly for two days straight while laying sick on the couch. I’ve been sick with a sore throat today, and I am currently watching the movie for the second time tonight. This is one of those movies I can watch over and over without getting sick of it and appreciating more every time. I love the characters, setting, music, and filmography; the whole production is summery and full of light and laughter.

The acting is incredible, as it should be such a star-studded cast: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Robert Sean Leonard, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale, Imelda Staunton, Richard Briers, and Michael Keaton. I enjoy the repartee between Benedick (Branagh) and Beatrice (Thompson), the love sick Claudio (Leonard), the handsome and confident Prince Don Pedro (Washington), and the charming father Leonato (Briers). Keanu Reeves’s portrayal of Don John so creeped me out that I didn’t want to watch another of his movies until The Lake House. And Michael Keaton’s portrayal of the mis-speaking Constable is hilarious.

(I feel like I must issue a word of caution about some potentially objectionable elements; there is some brief nudity at the beginning and many of the ladies’ dresses are low-cut and revealing.)

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