Sonnet 59

by William Shakespeare

If there be nothing new, but that which is

Hath been before, how are our brains beguil`d,

Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss

The second burden of a former child.

O, that record could with a backward look,

Even of five hundred courses of the sun,

Show me your image in some antique book,

Since mind at first in character was done!

That I might see what the old world could say

To this composed wonder of your frame;

Whether we are mended, or whe`er better they,

Or whether revolution be the same.

O! sure I am, the wits of former days

To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

Shakespeare is telling us that there is nothing new under the sun. What goes round, comes round with relentless regularity. Every day presents itself as a new wonder, but it`s been here before countless times; it`s face adorned with a billion precious dawns to astound and impart it`s glory upon human imagination. By some rose tinted quirk of mind, yesterday is always better than today, and the future a hoped for, bliss filled paradise of perfection. There is no better, or worse; today is the benchmark by which we should judge our lives, neither selective memory, nor the hope of tomorrow. Now is the moment of importance and measurement. None other.

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