Create an Argument Regarding Sting’s Integration of Sonnet 35 into “Consider Me Gone”

In his collection of essays, The Sacred Wood, T.S. Eliot claims: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” Reflect on that insight and consider 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. Also refine your argument around a specific poetic tool employed by one of the authors.

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: ]
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 Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
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27 Responses to Create an Argument Regarding Sting’s Integration of Sonnet 35 into “Consider Me Gone”

  1. Shams El Din says:

    I noticed that Sting’s lyrics basically is Sonnet 35, written in modern English. One similarity between the two is “such civil war is in my love and hate” in Sonnet 35 and “I’ve spent too many years at war with myself” in Sting’s lyrics. Furthermore, the second similarity is the oxymoron appearing at both ends of each lyrics. In Sonnet 35 it is the line “to that sweet thief which sourly robs from me” and in Sting’s lyrics it is the line “but to look for Heaven is to live here in Hell.” Sting has definitely used Sonnet 35 as the base for his song “Consider Me Gone.”

  2. Quinn Egan says:

    Sonnet 35 is opened in the first quatrain by pointing out that everything, even the roses in life have thorns. Shakespeare reiterated the fact that everything no matter how beautiful has a flaw. In the second quatrain, Shakespeare wrights that all men make mistakes including himself. In the third quatrain, Shakespeare says that the person you hurt is not advocating for you. In the last two lines it is said that he is so torn between love and hate that he cannot help but support the one that hurts him. In Sting’s song the first quatrain is added in. The first quatrain is about how there is weakness in everything positive. Sting states after that he is done searching for perfection and that he must look for heaven now because of cancer. This quatrain fits right in because he cannot look for a perfect life because the cancer is the thorn in the rose, but he will make the best of it and look for heaven.

  3. William Robidoux says:

    In Stings consider me gone it clear that he is taking one form of art and using it to create another. He is essentially taking Shakespeares incredible lyrics and insight and putting it into a musical version. My favorite line in Stings song is actually one that does not come from Sonnet 35. It is, “But to look for Heaven is too live here in Hell”. This is a very interesting line from Sting where he uses personification to create heaven and hell as human emotions. Although this is one of the few lines in the song that Shakespeare did not write i think he would really appreciate it because of Stings poetic capabilities and insight.

  4. bsullivan35 says:

    Good start. Be sure to follow rules for Standard English. You can compose in a Word document, and then proof and paste over your content to the comment thread here.

  5. 16alf says:

    From what it seems based on the lyrics, Sting is talking about a problem that is destroying him and his relationships. The first verse of the song might have talked about a relationship with a loved one in which that person had tons of forgiveness and support for Sting even with his malicious affliction. This is no longer a existent as the, “space has been emptied” (line 3) and the loved one no longer is willing to help out Sting. He is now left in a turmoil without assistance and uses allusions to express this. The use of this poetic device is influential to its meaning as a song, and how one can almost imagine an abandoned house devoid of life or love where once there was a feeling of acceptance and emotion. It creates a haunting experience for the listener.

  6. 16dmg says:

    In the song Consider Me Gone, Sting speaks of some problem that plagued him in his love life. Sting uses the metaphor of a house to describe what a relationship he had was like, saying that “There were rooms of forgiveness”, meaning that his lover was always forgiving of him. Other than direct samples from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35, Sting rephrases many of Shakespeare’s lines. Whilst Shakespeare says “All men make faults, and even I in this”, Sting says “And history reeks of the wrongs we have done”. Both of these lines mean that the speaker has done some wrong.

  7. naoki2 says:

    The song Consider Me Gone, and Sonnet 35 share very similar general theme of bitter sweet love. Metaphor and reference that is used in the song are just like the modern translation of the sonnet. The third paragraph in the song is almost completely the same with beginning of the sonnet where it talks about “Roses with thorns…” to describe the feeling of love. Even though they sing some exactly the same line as sonnet 35, these lines go really well with the song. It is clear to see that Shakespeare followed certain pattern that always goes with melody, just like it was explained in the Shakespeare and hip-hop blog in the past.

  8. Ross Dooling says:

    After reading Consider Me Gone, I am able to interpret what Sting is talking about. In the excerpt above Sting uses the language of Shakespeare to describe his struggles. Both him and Shakespeare use the line “Roses have thorns” which means that something beautiful in life always has something that can hurt you. Sting and Shakespeare both shared this issue through their use of showing it through a metaphor.

  9. emmaalexandra1 says:

    Consider Me Gone is a difficult piece of work to understand; however, Sting allows the listener to really get a rush of emotion of Shakespeare’s work. While Shakespeare is one of the most respected poets and writers around the world, Sting, a more modern and futuristic artist, really has the ability to not ruin the beautiful words of Shakespeare.

  10. 16jk says:

    The lyrics of Consider Me Gone and the verse of Sonnet 35 are related to each other. In Consider Me Gone, the composer is confessing humans’ fault. He states, “And history reeks of the wrongs we have done… I’ve spent to many years at war with myself.” It seems like, William Shakespeare, the author of Sonnet 35, responds to these words. He says, “Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are,” (8) which means that he will forgive people’s past misdeeds. In other words, the author would like to salvage people by offering the opportunity to make up their faults. Consider Me Gone was created in 2009, and Sonnet 35 was written more than hundred years ago; this is interesting because Shakespeare was forgiving not only people living in his period, but also people from the future.

  11. Peter Suh says:

    I recognized that the Sting’s song is very similar to the Sonnet 35 of Shakespeare. They both use an oxymoron in their lyrics. In the Sting’s song, it states “And cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud”, and in the Shakespeare’s lyrics it states “And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud”. Cancer is a fatal disease and is not shown externally until it is too late to cure. They both manipulated oxymoron that the fatal cancer lives in the sweetest place. I found interesting that Shakespeare still has considerable impact on poets and singers these days. I am surprised by how Shakespeare’s writing is deeply soaked into the Western culture.

  12. In consider me gone, written by stings there is a rhyming pattern throughout the song and there is repetition of the line “consider me gone” that serves as significance. The whole song is describing different examples and comparisons of how he could be gone. For example he talks about cancer and death but I believe the main point is about a relationship and how he is moving on. In the first line he states “There were rooms of forgiveness in the house that we share” which just suggests that this was in fact some sort of relationship but stings explains that it is over and you can consider me gone.

  13. Dan Tran says:

    Sting’s “Consider Me Gone” contains many allusions to William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35. Both artistic pieces share common themes of love and grief. Sting starts off by using figurative language to portray furniture in the house as reservoires for human feelings such as “cupboards of patience” (Sting 5) and “shelfloads of care” (Sting 6). The furniture’s emptiness represent that of the poem’s persona. Subsequently, Sting uses word connotation in line “Roses have thorns, and shining waters mud” (Sting 10) & “And cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud” (Sting 11) which, by the way, are almost composed word for word to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35 to show unpleasant side of seamlessly harmless things. This song reinforces the idea that the themes in Shakespeare’s works are universal and are relevant even today, 500 years after Shakespeare’s death.

  14. Maura Eagan says:

    Sting has artfully and poetically made Sonnet 35 into “something better; or at least something different”. “Consider Me Gone” has directly stolen the lines 2, 3 and 4 from Sonnet 35 that exemplifies imagery; “Roses have thorns, and clear fountains mud;/ Clouds and eclipse obscure both the moon and sun,/ And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.” Despite this form of plagiarism, Sting has made this piece of literature their own by developing their own meaning behind the lyrics. The small alteration is in the conclusion which both author acquire by the end of their pieces. In “Consider Me Gone”, Sting decides to leave the love interest that is toying with his emotions. However, in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35 the speaker is torn between leaving and staying with the love interest that the speaker loves but hates.

  15. Jeremy C says:

    Consider Me Gone by Sting is a song that contains a very strong message. This songs lyrics is very well know for relating to Shakespeare Sonnet 35. They both relate to the theme of love. In Consider Me Gone, the lines “there were rooms of forgiveness, in the house that we share” can be scene as symbolism. Symbolism in the sense that the house in the song can be scene as a relationship between a couple. They are both very similar. I noticed in Consider Me Gone, Sting uses almost the same identical words as William Shakespeare did in Sonnet 35. This brings to my attention that William Shakespeare still influences writers and musicians in this current day in age. Sting definitely has been strongly influenced by William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35.

  16. Harry Liddle says:

    It is no secret that Sting’s “Consider Me Gone” is a reimagined variant of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35. When considering T.S. Eliot’s claim that “immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” One can see clearly that Sting has accomplished Eliot’s minimum requirement for being a ‘good poet.’ He has stretched and compressed, arranged and rearranged the words and beauty of Shakespeare’s work, displaying a fresh approach to a timeless art. As a result, Sting has achieved what few can in that he has not only stolen and changed, but has improved the work through a perfect delivery. A seemingly effortless concoction of both language and sound, each holding their own power and magic, making their way into the heart and mind of the active or inactive listener.

  17. aki says:

    Though not verbatim, Sting’s song theme and tone about the beauty is similar. The line “consider me gone,” is repeated many times during the song. Which also somewhat reflects Shakespeare’s motive in creating his everlasting art that has been preserving the person that he was. Another idea adopted by the Sting is the idea that all beautiful things are never flawless. Shakespeare expresses the idea by writing, “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud, Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun ”compared to the lyrics “Roses have thorns, and shrinking waters mud And cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud.

  18. Joe Islam says:

    It is common knowledge after listening to Sting’s “Consider Me Gone” that they take Shakespeare’s sonnet 35 and revise it into modern english. In my opinion Sting takes Shakespeare’s sonnet and is embracing it as a piece of art and when he uses it in his song he is taking another artists piece and putting it into a version for his generation. I do not think that this is a bad thing because just what Eliot says, “Mature poets steal.” That is exactly what Sting did. He took Shakespeare’s work and put into his own words not because he was lazy but because he respected Shakespeare’s piece and used it as a way to show that. All in all it is just Sting’s interpretation of how he took Sonnet 35 and put into his own piece.

  19. Lauren says:

    The “consider me gone” lyrics essentially tie back to sonnet 35 because it exemplifies similar themes that Shakespeare shows, like how time can change relationships. Lines from consider me gone also talk about forgiving yourself. Both speak of finding forgiveness in yourself to move on with the past and to learn what to differently in the future. The poetic tools used, like personification, relate an empty house to feeling empty and a feeling of guilt.

  20. Chandler says:

    One of the main relationships that Sting and Sonnet 35 share is that they revolve around the same subject. The lines from “Consider Me Gone” show a more translated version of what goes on in Sonnet 35, being modern english. The two both revolve around imagery in a sense that you can see what they are talking about from what they are saying.

  21. Henry says:

    Sting’s Consider Me Gone and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35 basically say the same thing, but Sting revised the words to make more sense with present day English. In Sting’s song, he says “I’ve spent too many years at war with myself” and Shakespeare says “Such civil war is in my love and hate”, both conveying the same message: nothing is perfect. Shakespeare makes the comparison with how roses have thorns and silver fountains can be muddied. Shakespeare is saying how even something so beautiful like the rose still has its downfalls.

  22. susan mellekas says:

    In Sting’s Consider Me Gone, it shows that their is a problem with good things, or relationships coming to an end. In both Consider me gone, and Sonnet 35 it conveys that all beautiful things are ruined. Over time, something that once is beautiful, and flourishing can decay and begin to erode. Just as relationships over time may fade.

  23. Trevor says:

    In Stings song “Consider me gone” it is interesting how he “steals” Shakespeare’s work from sonnet 35 and makes it into his own. Sting uses modern English to transform the poem into his own unique style. In the song, Sting uses personification by saying “But to look for Heaven is too live here in Hell”. He talks about how to reach your eternal happiness in such a place of heaven, you actually have to go through all the hardships of living in hell. In his song he constantly repeats the lines “consider me gone” and this directly compares to Shakespeare’s sonnet 35.

  24. 16arp says:

    After reading Sting’s lyrics its very clear that the artist got the same idea from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35. Though the ideas were stolen from Shakespeare, this just proves that his writing style isn’t forgotten and still popular. Sting uses the same words like “Roses have thorns” to describe love and the beauty in everything, but it also displays that are beautiful things are ruined. This opens sheltered eyes to the light that everything has a beginning and an ending, like love.

  25. Will says:

    The words of each piece of art, Shakespeare’s sonnet 35 and Sting’s song, it is clear that Sting got this songs inspiration from Sonnet 35. This could be called stealing but Shakespeare’s words have such a deep meaning it is hard to not take inspiration from. For example in both works of art there are the words “Roses have thorns” this is common phrase meaning that things that are beautiful can also hurt you. Both Shakespeare and Sting use imagery each use it very extensively. It is very important tool in each of these works of art to support their message.

  26. Katie Kuzmeski says:

    In listening to Sting’s Consider Me Gone and then reading William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 35, it becomes apparent Sting was inspired by Shakespeare and used what had written to get his point across. He especially uses lines 2 and 3 of the sonnet and although it is not verbatim what Shakespeare wrote, it is clear where he got it from and what he was trying to do with it. It is interesting to think about T.S Elliot’s quote because stealing and making it different is exactly what Sting was doing with the sonnet. The way that he uses the words also add a third dimension to the song by referencing the ideas in the poem.

  27. Caroline Pape says:

    Consider Me Gone, written by Sting and Sonnet 35 are related to each other. The artists have directly copied the the lines from Shakespeare, “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud, Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.” (lines 2-4). Though Sting did plagiarize, they created their own lyrics with their own meaning behind it. Shakespeare’s writing has influenced other people to create similar writing and put it in their own work. Although Sting did copy Shakespeare’s work, it shows that other’s that his writing can be the same as any genre music. Poetry is the same as music because they both have a rhythm and pattern. 

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