Sonnet 130: Ode to Fried Chicken

by Rachel Long

Below is the recently rediscovered original version of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. We know now that Sonnet 130 was not the original title of the piece, but was in fact Shakespeare’s order number at KFC. The original title is An Ode to Fried Chicken. We have the privilege of presenting the original version for you here, for the first time ever. An Ode to Fried Chicken appears below, and we have included the later Sonnet 130 for comparison.

An Ode to Fried Chicken

These chicken thighs are golden like the sun;
No need for side dishes, no need for bread.
If flesh be white, why then, these breasts are done.
If skin be fried, our mouths will soon be fed.
I have seen chicken burned, that greasy blight,
But no such markings taint these crispy peaks.
And in no poultry is there more delight
Than in the juicy bird that fills our cheeks.
I love to try new foods, yet well I know
That nothing more delicious have I found
I grant I won’t turn down Popeye’s, to-go,
Nor let a dropped drumstick lie on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think I would not dare
To dine with one who thinks a breast I’d share.
                                                                                    c. 1608

Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
c. 1609

Rachel Long is a senior English major with an education and communications studies double minor from McComb, MS. After graduation, she plans to live in a box.