Monday, October 26, 2009

Rudeness or flattery?

In my Lit. class, we're working on a lot of early English poetry, full of hopelessly romantic ideals and silly notions. So when you run across something like Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 it stands out:
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.

Really, it's quite interesting ( not to mention I'm currently writing an essay about it, so I can't get it out of my mind). It does raise the question, well posed by Charlotte Brontë : Do you prefer flattery or rudeness in love? Or do you hope there's a middle ground because neither are ideal? Either way, this poem, for the period it was written in, leans dangerously to the honest side, with a touch of sarcasm. It's a personal favorite. Well said, Bard.


Michael Nawrot said...

I love how its a huge beak show. Beaking all the poets who figure you need to describe love in unrealistic melodramatic metaphors, in order to prove it better than the next poet's love.

Craig Sturm said...

My new word for the day is "dun" ... defined as "grayish brown"