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Star-Spangled Shakespeare

Updated on June 5, 2016

"Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck"

A Sonnet - By William Shakespeare

Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;
And yet methinks I have Astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself, to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.


There are many more beautiful sonnets by William Shakespeare

The Art of the Sonnet


A sonnet is a 14-line poem.
English sonnets usually have 10 syllables per line.

Often there are three a-b-a-b rhyme patterns, followed by a rhyming couplet for the final two lines.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, our word 'sonnet' derives from the Italian word 'sonetto' meaning ‘little sound’.

William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare was born in Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564 ~ and he died there in 1616.

He is regarded, by many, as one of England's greatest playwrights and poets. He was also an actor.

His plays include 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Hamlet', 'MacBeth', 'A Midsummer Nights Dream', 'The Merchant of Venice' and many others.

Though Shakespeare is possibly best known for these plays, he is also famous for his sonnets. He wrote 154 of them. Two of them ~ numbers 138 and 144 ~ were first published in 1599, in a collection called 'The Passionate Pilgrim'. All of the others were later published together, in 1609. This quarto was simply titled: Shakespeare's Sonnets', with the additional words 'Never before imprinted'.

Edit - More Stars

I was first attracted to this sonnet ~ "Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck" ~ because of the reference to 'stars'.

'Stars'. It is a beautiful word

'Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck ...'

'... constant stars, in them I read such art'

I decided to find more 'starry' Shakespeare quotes.

Romeo and Juliet - Star Crossed Lovers

The 'Star Crossed Lovers' - Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' by Dicksee
The 'Star Crossed Lovers' - Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' by Dicksee

Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Prologue:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

'Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes

A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;

Whole misadventured piteous overthrows

Do with their death bury their parents' strife.'

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Much Ado About Nothing

Act 1, Scene 1


'Call you me fair? that fair again unsay.

Demetrius loves your fair: O happy fair!

Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue's sweet air

More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,

When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.'


Act 2, Scene 1


'.... but then there was a star danced and under that was I born.'



'But she [the queen] perforce withholds the loved boy,

Crowns him with flowers and makes him all her joy:

And now they never meet in grove or green,

By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sheen,

But, they do square, that all their elves for fear

Creep into acorn-cups and hide them there.'



'And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,

To hear the sea-maid's music.'


Act 5, Scene 1


'How chance Moonshine is gone before Thisbe comes

back and finds her lover?'


'She will find him by starlight.'

Stars in the Sky (also used to frame quotes)

Image from European Space Agency. Listed as 'LH 95 star forming region of the Large Magellanic Cloud'. Taken using the Hubble Space Telescope. European Space Agency (ESA/Hubble). Full details at Permission
Image from European Space Agency. Listed as 'LH 95 star forming region of the Large Magellanic Cloud'. Taken using the Hubble Space Telescope. European Space Agency (ESA/Hubble). Full details at Permission | Source

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Act III, Scene I


'... I am constant as the northern star,

Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks;

They are all fire and every one doth shine'

King Lear, Act I. Scene II

King Lear, Act I. Scene II


'This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are

sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make

guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if

we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion;

knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance;'

Sonnet 14 - Spoken

Sonnet 14 - Sung

My Shakespeare Hubs

In 'Hamlet', Is Claudius a careful ruler, a good king and loving husband; or a hateful, lying villain?Is Claudius a good king?


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