Monday, February 14, 2011

Back to the Bard

Fiorella considers Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130" to be the best love poem ever. Skim through it, bear with her, and she'll explain why.

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 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.

Back in the Bard's day, extravagant descriptions were the style when describing one's (often fictional) beloved. In Sonnet 130, Shakespeare turns the convention on end and guns for reality. His beloved's eyes are NOT brighter than the sun, her lips are NOT redder than coral, her breasts are as NOT white as snow, her hair is NOT golden, roses do NOT bloom in her cheeks, her breath is NOT sweeter than perfume, her voice is NOT more pleasant than music, and she is NOT a goddess whose feet never touch the ground.

Shakespeare's beloved is a real life woman. Her eyes will not laser you, her lips do not look like she's been sucking blood; her breasts are flesh-colored rather than a leprous white; her hair is dark; her cheeks don't sprout flowers; her breath is normal for the century; her speaking voice is nice, but not extraordinary; and she doesn't levitate. And he thinks she's wonderful, just as she is.

Ladies, isn't that what we all want to hear, that we are loved for ourselves, ladies, just as we are?

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