Friday, October 08, 2010

Poetry Friday: Sonnet 130

I have another Shakespeare sonnet today. I was thinking about this sonnet because my husband had some students memorize it and I saw their quiz papers in his office. Shakespeare is making fun of the extravagant comparisons his contemporaries used in their love poetry. He tells us about his mistress, who isn't nearly as gorgeous as some of theirs, with their sun-like eyes, coral lips, snowy skin, rosy cheeks, perfumed breath, and musical voices. However, his mistress has the advantage of being real. Shakespeare liked that in a person, and so do I.


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.

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.


Andromeda Jazmon said...

I am with you and Will! My favorite line: "My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground".

Mary Lee said...

That "false compare" will get you into trouble every time! I'm with Andi -- let's keep our treading on the ground!