William Shakespeare is considered the world’s greatest writer — he was a brilliant playwright, but his genius really shines through in his glorious sonnets and poems. Although Shakespeare wrote plays to make a living, he wrote poetry to nourish his soul. Four centuries after they were published, the sonnets remain the most widely-read and recited poems in all of English literature. Stop and ponder for a moment: if Shakespeare were alive today, would he also be writing pop songs? According to Erik Didriksen, author of the very cheeky Pop Sonnets, the answer would be a resounding yes! Here is Shakespeare’s version of Journey’s famous rock hit Don’t Stop Believin:
A lonely maiden from a hamlet small;
a boy within a woeful city rear’d —
they both at midnight left their ports of call
t’ward any destination volunteer’d.
A public-house is where their journeys end,
where patrons’ pipes burn long and minstrels play.
The darken’d hours have made them more than friends,
the other’s smile inviting each to stay.
Look ye on those who wander through the streets
beneath the lamplight, searching for a soul —
they comb the darken’d night in hope to meet
the sweet companion that shall make them whole.
— Ensure thy heart won’t let their spirit leave;
’tis most important thou dost e’er believe.
Read related posts: Were Shakespeare’s Sonnets Written to a Young Man?
When Was Shakespeare Born?
The Legacy of Shakespeare
Shakespeare the Pop Song Writer
The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folio
Who Are the Greatest Characters in Shakespeare?
The Most Common Myths About Shakespeare
Shakespeare and Uranus
Best Editions of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
For further reading: Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen (2005)