November 01, 2004

romance-shmomance -or- lit geekery (next time on the rocky and bulwinkle show)

i spent all evening reading sonnets. sir thomas wyatt, henry howard, sir philip sidney, william shakespeare. it's not as if i elected to spend my halloween like this, but after i realized that i was terribly behind in work, it was the only recourse. i still have 150 pages to read and take notes on for ecology. i obviously too the easiest road first. not that this wasn't terribly tum-tum-tedious in its own right, i just find myself much more attracted to literature. so of all of that, i have posted 4 sonnets that i particularly like for some reason or another. ah, love. if i hear any more romantic blather tonight, i'm going to smash something or scream.

this one i don't like particularly well, the language irritates me: either stick with a strict meter or not, but don't mess with rhyme and foot and feminine ends (extra syllables, not booties) unless you're going to commit to it and just go wild. (beat poetry, yay!) i really only like this one for the sentiment, and the wry beginning. essentially: you can keep your poetic longings and hackneyed devices, i'm just as in love when i say my love's name. actually, i find that sentiment terribly romantic, something i rarely cop to as i enjoy exuding the persona of hearless ice-queen. but essentially, that's how i feel, you can keep your flowery words or large gestural displays, love is just as powerful simply displayed. (the heart of why i scorn romantic comedies so. yet such a guilty pleasure, ooh!)

Some lovers speak, when they their muses entertain
Of hopes begot by fear, of wot not what desires,
Of force of heav'nly beams infusing hellish pain,
Of living deaths, dear wounds, fair storms, and freezing fires;
Someone his song in Jove and Jove's strange tales attires,
Bordered with bulls and swans, powdered with golden rain;
Another humbler wit to shepherd's pipe retires,
Yet hiding royal blood full oft in rural vein;
To some a sweetest plaint a sweetest style affords,
While tears pour out his ink, and sighs breathe out his words,
His paper pale despair, and pain his pen doth move.
I can speak what I feel, and feel as much as they,
But think that all the map of my state I display
When trembling voice brings forth that I do Stella love.
sir philip sidney

shakespeare and essentially the same message. he describes his woman for what she is: not terribly pretty, not terribly refined, kinda stinky and rather overly made-up. but he still loves her. i always find it so silly when people idealize their lovers. (ooh and i've seen it happen to sickening degrees.) but it seems so juvenile, if you love someone, you acknowledge their faults. (don't get me talking about eternal sunshine because i'll go on for ever. of all movie romances, that is the most perfect i've ever seen. and i've watched an affair to remember. this mops the floor with that shit.)

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 damasked, 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.

more shakespeare, but these i just like for the likin' also in some cases for the double-entendes. 'specially the last one. did you know that the last line in number 144 is a reference to an std? yeah, shakespeare's my hero.

127
In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;
But now is black beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slandered with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature's power,
Fairing the foul with Art's false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Sland'ring creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.

138
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O! love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love, loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

144
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil,
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turned fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell:
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

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