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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My funny Valentine

So I'm not huge into Interpretations and Symbolism or even Poetry (like poems, don't so much love Poetry). But this is something I find kind of neat.


Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 is often titled "To a Dark Lady," and often interpreted literally. In the movie Shakespeare in Love, we see a woman lover of his who looks like she's maybe got African ancestry. But Shakespeare almost certainly wasn't being so literal when he wrote this, my favorite of his sonnets, 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 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.


He didn't call it To a Dark Lady himself; much like the lovely Moonlight Sonata, it was named later by other folk. And the evidence that he's speaking in metaphor comes more from poems he didn't write. See, at the time, love sonnets were as schlocky as greeting cards. Everybody was running around with eyes like the sun and lips like coral and cheeks like damasked roses, whatever those are. Shakespeare was kind of saying that imperfection is beauty. Or at least, imperfection by the standards of all the schlock-flingers. 
All right, this post may be a little boring, but you've got to give me credit for schlock-flingers.

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