Monday, February 14, 2011

Would love by any other name not be as sweet?

     I hope that everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day! I know that I sure did. Yesterday my boyfriend gave me a dozen long- stem roses that were particularly swoon- worthy; what made it even better was that they were completely unexpected. Today, as a "part two" to my roses he gave me a red heart- shaped box plumb full of chocolates (YUM!) Even if Valentine's Day makes you feel like you're about to revisit your breakfast, you can't deny that one of the stories behind the day is pretty inspirational. So the legend goes, in the days of the Roman Emporer Cladius II marriage was outlawed because young men grew hesitant at the thought of joining the military. Now, what did the military and marriage have in common? Young men would fall in love and marry their sweethearts, and let's face it, there aren't many young men who would willingly give up a charmed life for a hard one. By outlawing marriage, Claudius II thought that his militia would grow. However, he did not count on Saint Valentine and others to continue marrying couples in secret. After a while Valentine was found out and was violently martyred, but his name lives on... although I doubt that he ever would have imagined that his special day would inspire sugary conversation hearts, let alone cardboard cut- outs of a certain little winged Pagan god ;)

My lovely roses from my lovely boyfriend.

     In honor of today, I thought I would like to share some of my favorite verses on love with you:

     This was written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("How Do I Love Thee?"), and every time I read it I can't help but to think of my own fella. Wouldn't it be a lovely piece to read at a wedding?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

     And of course, I can't forget my favorite parts from "Romeo and Juliet," from Shakespeare.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
 Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
 Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
 What's in a name? that which we call a rose
 By any other name would smell as sweet;
 So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
 Retain that dear perfection which he owes
 Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
 And for that name which is no part of thee
 Take all myself.

     Of course, the peices by Shakespeare aren't consecutive, I've taken them out of context. I know that the work seems like one of the world's biggest cliches, but I really do encourage anyone to read it. If you take the time to understand the text, it is really a rich piece of writing. The best versions are the ones with footnotes explaining the meaning of all of the phrases and wordplay ;)

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