Happy Valentine’s Day!
Behold! I will now present what I argue is the greatest love poem ever written:
Sonnet 130: My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
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.
Was Shakespeare being serious here? Was he being satiric? Both?
I think we have an early example of parody here.
Every love poem compares a woman’s eyes to the sun, her breath to perfume, her cheeks to roses, etc. Here, Shakespeare is saying, “You know what? I have a regular, normal, average woman. She’s nothing special. But I love her anyway.”
And that’s a great thing! Most people are normal, average, and ordinary. You don’t need to over hype people to love them. Just love your special someone for who they are.
Now then – and listen carefully, dudes. Keep in mind I am not recommending that you take your ladies out tonight and tell them, “Baby, your breathe reeks, your breasts are grey (dun being an old word for grey), you’re no goddess, and music sounds better than you do!”
And in fact, as a disclaimer to all the crooked lawyers out there reading this – the Bookshelf Battler takes no responsibility for anything that happens to a man who recites Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 to his lady love.
Because while most people won’t get it, it really is a sweet poem. Why?
Because anyone can love a person with breathe like perfume and whose voice is like music, but true love comes in loving the normal, the average, the ordinary, and even the below average. And as hot as your woman may be, no one really has breathe like perfume, walks like a goddess, etc.
You may think there are a handful of women like that in the world, but I’d imagine even Brad Pitt is like, at least once in awhile, “Damn Angelina’s breath stanks!!!”
So this Valentine’s Day, grab hold of your very average and ordinary loved ones, knowing that to you they are above average and extraordinary, and make them feel that way.
But seriously. Don’t tell her that her eyes are nothing like the sun.