What is Sting Doing with Shakespeare?

What is happening in the Sting song, “Consider Me Gone”? In five to seven sentences of Standard English, create a critical observation about Sting’s lyrics. Be sure to supply at least one line of textual evidence to support your point.

Consider Me Gone, lyrics by Sting

There were rooms of forgiveness
In the house that we share
But the space has been emptied
Of whatever was there
There were cupboards of patience
There were shelfloads of care
But whoever came calling
Found nobody there

After today, consider me gone

Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud
And cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud
Clouds and eclipses stain the moon and the sun
[From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/s/sting-lyrics/consider-me-gone-lyrics.html ]
And history reeks of the wrongs we have done

After today, consider me gone

I’ve spent too many years at war with myself
The doctor has told me it’s no good for my health
To search for perfection is all very well
But to look for Heaven is to live here in Hell

After today, consider me gone

Sonnet 35

No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authorizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are;
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense —
Thy adverse party is thy advocate —
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence.
Such civil war is in my love and hate
That I an accessary needs must be
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.


About bsullivan35

I am an English teacher working with great students at an independent school in Ct.
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17 Responses to What is Sting Doing with Shakespeare?

  1. Jayson Dear says:

    Consider me gone is a song about a relationship. In the first verse there is a lot of symbolism. The house symbolizes the couple’s relationship. In the house are the feelings of both people in the couple. Forgiveness, patience, and care were in this house and were in this relationship. Sting states that the house has been emptied out. When the couple looked at their relationship, they found and agreed that these feeling didn’t exist anymore or when someone looked in the house, nothing or nobody was found. The second verse explains that everything good has a bad side to it. Roses have thorns and beautiful shining waters have mud underneath it. This verse uses contradiction to get the point across. WS wrote these words. In his sonnet he uses them to explain that everything has faults. He uses these examples to make himself feel better about himself having done bad things in his past. Sting used these lines for the same reason. Everything good has something bad. In the end Sting basically explains that he has given up and that the search for something that he really doesn’t end up wanting isn’t good for him. You can go out of your way to get what seems to be perfect but to look for that and to maybe attain it doesn’t mean you have happiness.

  2. Su Sie Park says:

    Consider Me Gone by Sting relates to Sonnet 35 by William Shakespeare deeply. Consider Me Gone refers to Sonnet 35 in line 10 to 13 “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud, And cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud, Clouds and eclipses stain the moon and the sun”. While Sonnet 35 describes that the poet speaker struggles to forgive a sin committed against him by the young man, Consider Me Gone depicts that the poet repents his sin which he has committed as he is leaving.

  3. Joanna Mac says:

    Consider me gone by Sting seems to have many allegorical meanings. The first stanza depicts a house. In the house lie forgiveness, patience and care. To me these things reflect on how in the world if people used these traits in every relationship they had, there would be no more conflicts, hate, or sin. The house is a symbol for the world or human race, so the fact that these traits are found inside the house means the world needs to have them in it. As Sting reflects in the next stanza, “but whoever came calling found nobody there” this to me seems like a lament against how no one is really taking this advice and using these traits more often. The stanza after that goes onto express how even things with great beauty or seeming perfection have their flaws. “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud” “and cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud” each beautiful object is systematically separated by the word following the euphonious sounding one. The last few stanzas talk of Stings personal distain for how people search for perfection, when in actuality everyone should become more content with himself or herself. This reflection is identified with the line, “the doctor has told me it’s no good for my health”. This prescription, so to speak, is the need for more compassion and care in the world. This line also includes the author, Sting, in the misdeeds of men. Thus adding to his thesis that not one person is perfect not even himself, the one commentating on it. The last line,” but to look for heaven is to live here in hell,” this reflects on another sort of busy body. One that is almost too religious in the practice of looking for something better. Heaven is what all men strive to reach. Thus what Sting is trying to promote is that when people brush aside the problems that are right in front of their faces just because earth is know to be imperfect, compared to heaven, earth will always seem like hell. Earth could be a heaven if only people took more advantage of their time here to make it a better place instead of just casting it off and deciding it will never amount to anything like Heaven.

  4. Remington Lyman says:

    String is using WS words to explain that sometimes a strong relationship can crash and burn as hot as hell. Allegory, as an example, is used with the house having empty furniture like, “There were cupboards of patience”. The whole house has been vacated of life, just like his heart has been left void of any feelings. If you expect too much from someone, then you take the chance of being disappointed or heartbroken if they don’t meet expectations. Sting has torn himself apart by reflecting on the negative, “I’ve spent too many years at war with myself.” Sting says that good can be found in everything; but, if you only focus on the bad, then you will live in agony.

  5. Frank Bolella says:

    “Consider Me Gone” by Sting and Sonnet 35 by William Shakespeare both share a common theme: sin and forgiveness. Each literary composition begins with acknowledging that forgiveness has been granted, however, the speaker cannot overcome his inner conscience. Sting suggests this concept when he states, “I’ve spent too many years at war with myself” (line 13). Shakespeare shares a similar concept with his readers when he states, “Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss” (line 7). Each author seems to be emotionally deteriorated and dispirited by his experiences. The authors describe this occurrence as one that they did not expect. Sting shows this when he states, “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud” (line 10). Likewise, Shakespeare mirrors this meaning when he states, “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud” (line 2). These instances might also mean that with every good thing, comes a bad. In addition, these excerpts could exemplify love, as roses symbolize love.

  6. Dan Bailey says:

    Stings song: Consider Me Gone is very similar to William Shakespeare’s sonnet 35. Both use an extensive amount of symbolism to expose the meanings of their songs/ Poems. The house that is talked about in the first stanza symbolizes the relationships that people experience in life. “Rooms of forgiveness” is talking about how the house is a place of comfort and it doesn’t hold grudges like people do towards each other. Home is a buffer between the hostility of the real world and your relationships with the people who surround you. Both Poems/songs are talking primarily about relationships and what they entail.

  7. Billy Regan says:

    In Sting’s song “Consider Me Gone”, Sting is drawing inspiration form William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35 and incorporating Shakespeare’s theme into his song. The theme of nothing last for ever and nothing is perfect continue to appear in Sting and Shakespeare’s words. In Sting’s song he uses metaphor to describe the idea that no thing or person is perfect. “Roses have thorns,and shining waters mud. And cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud. Clouds and eclipses stain the moon and the sun.” All things that seem perfect at first glance have imperfection in them. These imperfection are eventually discovered. Relationships are similar in that they sometimes don’t last when a couple discovers the imperfection of each other. If a pair in a relationship cannot over come the “imperfections” in each other then the relationship dies. An image of perfection is only temporary.

  8. Brien Hard says:

    “Consider me Gone” and Sonnet 35 both deal with the same idea’s and theme. For example, Sting sings that “there were cupboards of patience, there were shelf loads of care” while WS writes, “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud”. WS states that two beautiful things in life, no matter how great their beauty, still have a uglier or less attractive side. Sting also deals with this issue, stating that in a house which represents a relationship, and is filled with patience and care, does not work out for the better despite the important parts of a relationship that are present. The song and sonnet are even more closely linked when one realizes that Sting has used several lines from WS’s sonnet. Both the song and sonnet also do with forgiveness, in this case the inability to forgive. Later his song one can hear Sting say, “Consider me gone” (duh its the name of the song). WS also writes, “To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.” Both of these authors/artists portray an individual that cannot forgive what has happened despite their best efforts.

  9. Josh Galant says:

    Both “Consider Me Gone” and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35 use the same lines to describe the “dark side” of a relationship. Sting uses the line “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud and cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud”. The band is using a metaphor by saying that bellow the surface even the sweetest things in life have a dark unknown. This reminds of the type of love one hears about that destroys you; the type of love that draws one to the beautiful rose, then stabs you with its hidden thorns. I began to think that Sting was really original and smart for comparing such love to muddy waters, and roses with thorns, but then i read Shakespeare’s sonnet . In Sonnet 35 Shakespeare says something very similar; Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud…and loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.” It seems that Sting had copied the line almost word for word from Shakespeare’s sonnet! It seems that the words of Shakespeare are so powerful that hundreds of years later they resonate with modern day popular culture.

  10. Duncan Wong says:

    While Shakespeare’s sonnets are sentimental piece, mostly about love or relationship, Sting incorporated some lines from Sonnet 35 to convey his point. Although there are some minor changes to the original sonnet language, however, it is still identical: “roses have thorns, shining waters mud, and cancer lurks deep, in the sweetest bud …” As both art pieces obtain similar language, the underlying message is also very alike. The beginning of both pieces mention the authors want for forgive as they might have done something regretful. Moreover, another idea of flaw is also presented in both cases, saying the enchanting façade can always process unpleasant harm in the inner-core. Sting’s use of Shakespeare’s sonnet seems to be a great enhancement to Consider Me Gone, as he uses one of the most beautiful sonnet ever written.

  11. Martina Ruzicka says:

    “Consider me gone” by Sting and sonnet 35 by Shakespeare both have the same theme and share some of the same phrases. “Consider me gone” explains how a love and relationship that used to be there is gone and how the man is just hurting himself by thinking of it. Both the song and the sonnet say: “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud, clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, and loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud”. This phrase means that not everything is what it seems like when it is seen. A rose is beautiful, but the thorns can cut you. In silver fountains you can find dirt like mud. In clouds you can find eclipses that cover the beautiful moon and sun. At first sight these all seem like beautiful objects, however, they all have flaws.

  12. Carly Smith says:

    In Sting’s song Consider Me Gone he uses William Shakespeare’s sonnet 35 for inspiration. Sting describes a difficult relationship involving challenges that the speaker and the subject face. Sting incorporates three very important lines from sonnet 35 to convey his message, “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,/Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,/And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.” In these lines Shakespeare is stating that although something may appear to be flawless and everlasting there can still be a sliver of negativity. In regards to the relationship described in Consider Me Gone the speaker is trying to make it work but there is just no hope.

  13. Val Klimenko says:

    The Sting lyrics and Shakespeare’s sonnet have very similar connotations. Sting uses Shakespeare’s words to better show his feelings for what went wrong in his relationship, situation. He sings about how there is nothing left in his relationship because of all mistakes he had done. “Consider [him] gone.” Shakespeare’s words, “All men make faults, and even I in this” apply to Sting’s song proving that nobody is perfect. Everyone has their imperfections: people, roses. Both Sting and Shakespeare say, “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud”. They both express their acceptance of the real world, nature, and people.

  14. Alexander Vasilenko says:

    In the song “Consider Me Gone” by Sting he sings about leaving a relationship. He sang in his song “After today, consider me gone”. Since there is no love he would rather leave then endure the false love and emptiness. In Shakespeare’s sonnet 35 the person in the sonnet talks about how he/she wishes to be forgiven for what they have done, he emphasizes this. “All man make faults, and even I in this, … compare, Myself corrupting,”. Even though between the two, “Consider Me Gone” by Sting and sonnet 35 by William Shakespeare has many of the same words. But even though, they both have every different meaning.

  15. Shaquille A. Phillips-Breedlove says:

    In Sting’s first verse they are showing how there was some form of a relationship that was not working out. I say this because they say things like “were rooms of forgiveness”, “house that we share”, “were cupboards of patience”, “were shelf loads of care”. The key word in those quotations is “were”, because it shows that it is no more. Then the first line of the second verse says, “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud”. This shows that beautiful things have flaws and can be harmful to. So in this part of the song it is showing that things sometimes are soft and fuzzy looking on the outside, but rough on the inside. Then as you listen to the rest of the lyrics you will see that the person in the song is fed up with what he or she is being put through. I feel like Sting did not steal from Shakespeare, but instead wrote and shared the rest of Shakespeare’s sonnet 35.

  16. Spencer Winston says:

    Gordon did credit Bill, in the Blue Turtles liner notes. If memory serves, he added that he’d stolen two lines from Shakespeare. Cheers.

    • bsullivan35 says:

      Yes, when this was pitched in class, I reminded students that good poets borrow and great ones steal. So, the connotation of “theft” here is to acknowledge the crafty integration of the lines into the new work. A poet’s test and tradition. Thx!

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