Sigh No More, Ladies


William Shakespeare

He may have died 400 years ago, today on April 23, 1616, but his advice remains fresh and relevant.  One of my favourite passages is Sigh No More Ladies from “Much Ado About Nothing” which reminds us that our lives are not meant for melancholy, but for living with joyous abandonment.    William Shakespeare’s notion that blame falls to men’s nature as “deceivers ever” – well, I will leave that to you to decide.  In the meantime, here is my tribute to William Shakespeare:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no 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 more,
          Of 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’.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Shakespeare on Goodreads

Holy Trinity Church - The Place of baptism and burial of William Shakepeare

Holy Trinity Church – The place of baptism and burial of William Shakespeare

There is a lot that has been said about William Shakespeare.  Everyone has an opinion on who he was, who he was not, what he wrote etc.   The debate goes on, even after 400 years of his passing in 1616.  Therein lies the true brilliance of literature – the compelling force to continue the conversation.

Goodreads is celebrating Shakespeare Week (August 18 – 23, 2016), which includes quizzes, book lists and an invitation to write a “deleted scene” from one of the Bard’s plays. Shakespeare would be pleased, no doubt.

I first met Shakespeare when I read Macbeth and confess that I had a partiality to the unfortunate Lady Macbeth.

“But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Then came The Taming of the Shrew (wasn’t Elizabeth Taylor magnificent):

“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” 
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Followed thereafter by Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Twelve Night, King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Henry V:

“We few. We happy few.
We band of brothers, for he today
That sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother.”

William Shakespeare, Henry V

Peter Ackroyd’s, Shakespeare, the Biography brought it all together for me.  This is not an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination, but after all, he is writing about William Shakespeare.  My husband, my son and I listened to the audio-book version while driving in the car, which allowed us to integrate knowledge incrementally.  We were taken back to the sixteen century and imagined that we were part of the audience.  Even more exciting, we followed William from his childhood to his final night, when he met with friends for the last celebration before the curtain closed on a life well-lived.

This last quote is one that I embrace as I move forward in my timeline…

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Wait for Me

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House – Deborah Mitford’s Home

April 10, 2016 was National Siblings Day.  I have two brothers and one sister who have been with me through good times, bad times and everything in between.  They are the first ones I call to celebrate achievements and milestone.  In times of decision, they are there to offer their support and guidance.  In moments of sadness, I feel their presence in silent communion.  They have been with me for my whole journey and will be with me as we move ever forward.



By happy coincidence, April 10th was the day that I finished, “Wait for Me! Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister” by Deborah Devonshire.  It was the title “Wait for Me” that spoke to me, for it brought back memories of my own childhood.  And I was intrigued by the grand age at which Debo (that’s her familiar name) penned her memoirs.  A lot of things happen in 90 years. While it is not my usual reading material, I appreciated viewing the 20th century through Deborah Mitford’s reflections.



There were seven siblings, born into a “minor aristocratic” family.  That is the only time I would consider this family as “minor.”  These siblings lived passionately and, in many respects, recklessly for their decisions brought them controversy and well as notoriety:  Nancy, the oldest, was a writer who loved and lost.  Next came Pamela, who enjoyed country life.  Tom, the only boy of the family, died as a solder in Burma.  Diana, who married well, chose to love another, became a fascist and spent time in prison.  Unity became famous for her friendship with Adolf Hitler.  Jessica (known as Decca) eloped with her lover to Spain, spent most of her years in the United States and became a communist.   Last, but certainly not least, Deborah, the Duchess.  This is the abridged version.  The interesting part is the details that fill in a lifetime of living.



While the writing lacked vitality in places, I discovered in Deborah a warm personality, someone who really cared about family and community.  Here are my takeaways:

  • Celebrate the life that is given. Deborah loved writing her story and looking back on a life well-lived.
  • Decisions have consequences that effect an entire family.
  • Siblings many not always agree, but differences and competitive behaviors can be overcome.
  • Wealth does not necessary bring happiness.
  • We live in a global community where external events influence our choices and our destinies.

I read “Wait for Me” via audio-book which felt as if I was having tea with the Duchess at Chatsworth.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”  C.S. Lewis