17th Century Romance

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is the perfect opportunity to use John Donne’s, “The Good Morrow,” which is my favourite poem by him:

“My face in thine eye,
thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, both thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.”

This beautiful poem was used memorably in the film Tristan & Isolde:

“The Birth of Cupid” by Eustache Le Sueur, 1645-47.

“To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.”

– Ophelia, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Bernini's Apollo & Daphne, 17th Century.

Bernini’s Apollo & Daphne, 17th Century.

“A Sigh Sent to his Absent Love,” by poet William Cartwright ( (1611–1643)

I sent a sigh unto my blest one’s ear,
Which lost its way, and never did come there;
I hastened after, lest some other fair
Should mildly entertain this travelling air:
Each flow’ry garden I did search, for fear
It might mistake a lily for her ear;
And having there took lodging, might still dwell
Housed in the concave of a crystal bell.
At last, one frosty morning I did spy
This subtle wand’rer journeying in the sky;
At sight of me it trembled, then drew near,
Then grieving fell, and dropped into a tear.
I bore it to my saint, and prayed her take
This new-born offspring for the master’s sake:
She took it, and preferred it to her ear,
And now it hears each thing that’s whispered there.
Oh how I envy grief, when that I see
My sorrow makes a gem more blest than me!
Yet, little pendant, porter to the ear,
Let not my rival have admittance there;
But if by chance a mild access he gain,
Upon her lip inflict a gentle pain
Only for admonition: so when she
Gives ear to him at least she’ll think of me.

 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Express thyself: