Shakespeare Sunday | 191117

"I have seen roses damask'd red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks..." 130 Sonnet

“I have seen roses damask’d red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks…” Sonnet 130 by the Bard.

Can’t believe I haven’t yet used Sonnet 130. Then again it did take me a while to use the Scottish play so I suppose it’s not that weird.

Anyway, Sonnet 130 is arguably one of the most famous Shakespeare Sonnets. If you’ve not read it, let me relieve you of your ignorance:

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.

Feel better now? Also, Grammarly- get your act together and stop trying to correct Shakespeare!

For the first read, and those who don’t analyse very well, it looks terrible. Why would I love this poem? The last two lines are kind of the key to this whole poem. He doesn’t want to make childish exaggerations of her because he loves her anyway. Before you get a bit uppity- ‘Mistress’ was another term for wife: back when there was a ‘Master’ and a ‘Mistress’ of a house.

Shakespeare, as I say every week, is always applicable to the modern day. Women have, from Shakespeare’s time and to the present day, have always had unreal expectations placed upon them. In his time it was Goddesses, now it’s photoshop.

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