How would Shakespeare's sonnet run in modern language?  Can it sound as powerful, or 
did Tolkien have it right, namely, that certain words have power that resonate with us 
partly because of their deep Anglo-Saxon roots?

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
-- Let me not to the union of loyal minds
Admit impediments, love is not love
-- Admit that there are impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
-- Which changes when it finds changes
Or bends with the remover to remove.
-- Or is swayed by death
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
-- O no, it a steady mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
-- That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
-- It is the pole star to every ship
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
-- Whose worth is unknown, although its angle be measured
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
-- Love is not a slave of time though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
-- Fall in the shadow of the grim reaper
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
-- Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
-- But lasts even to the edge of death:

If this be error and upon me proved,
-- If this be wrong and shown to me so,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
-- I never wrote and no man ever loved.

Well, it appears that except for the semi-obscure reference  to navigating by sighting 
a star for "wandering barks" (i.e. ships at sea), the language is not necessarily all 
that archaic, at least not for poetry.

Of course, a truly modern version of this sonnet would be unprintable, but cleaned up 
it might go something like:

Can love last forever?
And what if it did?
Nights like when Tom called to say that he couldn't come back
Because nothing felt the same anymore
Seared her soul and she thought "Why not?"
"I've found a younger, truer kind of love," he said.
And she wanted to scream and scream at him like a banshee
For knowing how a wrinkle killed the bloom of romance.
She hated his guts forever but he never thought about it.
Anyway, that's how I see it.

Poets must be a distinctly unhappy lot.  But then, I believe that they do sometimes 
accurately reflect the spirit of the times.  (Tom, Elf and other present company 
excepted, of course).

=========  Mark Gregson  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  =========

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