Celebrity Sonnet: James Earl Jones reads Shakespeare Sonnet 55

Each weekend at the Daily Sonnet, I endeavor to bring you something different than during the weekdays. This week it’s James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, reading Shakespeare’s sonnet 55.  His voice is amazing, although the quality of this recording is less so.  (It’s a little too echoey and boomey)  And I couldn’t find the video of him reading it, although there are a few different versions of this on youtube.

Nevertheless, his artistry shines through.

If you’d like to see other celebrities we’ve featured reading poetry, visit this page.

Here’s the text of the sonnet. Please read along.


Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.

‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.