I’ve been wanting to post this for a long time. It is Puck’s final speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It technically isn’t a sonnet, but it is Shakespeare, and it does rhyme, so I’m calling it a “poem” by Shakespeare and posting it as part of Sonnet Week!
I first became familiar with this speech, not by reading the text, but because it was part of a poignant scene from Dead Poet’s Society. One of the characters in the film, played by the amazing Robert Sean Leonard, is cast as Puck in a local production of the play. The scene with this speech has remained vivid in my mind since the first time I watched the movie, and to this day is one of my favorite passages from Shakespeare.
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.