The British Council has supported these recordings as part of the Shakespeare Lives in 2016 programme celebrating the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death.
A Winter Elegy
i.m. Erzsebet Adam, Teatrul National
A valley outside town. Winter. Earth. Stone.
Today Time’s judgement holds, that you lie here
In a dark portion of his chest which none
Save he will guard; and let no light shine near,
Unless some hand contrive to oversway
His power with such strong actions as I think
Might flower in summer, on a lovelier day,
In written lines, in bright, enduring ink.
Then would you live, and all your fairest parts
Be so remembered beyond boundless seas
For the rarest jewels, inside all loving hearts
Hidden away from Time’s foul jealousies.
Let these words serve as Prologue to an act
Cruel Time shall envy when it is a fact.
from On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration edited by Hannah Crawforth & Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Bloomsbury, 2016), © Alan Brownjohn 2016, used by permission of the author