Before we begin today's love poem, shall we have a quick lesson? Sonnets are an interesting breed of poem. Here are the basic details:

A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines with a particular rhyme scheme. These lines are typically arranged in three quatrains and a couplet (though not always). The two major rhyme schemes are attributed to the poets who used them regularly--The Italian (some say Sicilian) Sonnet is commonly called "Petrarchan" and the English Sonnet is best known as "Shakespearean". Any further explanation than that, I would refer you to your favorite English teacher to fill in the blanks.

My point behind all of this is that the epitome of love poems is the sonnet. It isn't necessary for the theme of a sonnet to be about love, but when someone starts spouting a sonnet at you, start with the assumption that they are thinking along the lines of amour. William Shakespeare wrote a mountain of sonnets (many, most, if not all of them spewing love). In his Romantic Tragedy Romeo and Juliet our star-crossed lovers engaged in sonnetation (if it's not a word it ought to be) with their first words to each other. And so, My Blushing Bride, I give you this "kiss" from Shakespeare (I've removed the stage directions to see the beauty of the love poem--you will notice the extra four lines tacked on for the purpose of characterization)(R= Romeo; J= Juliet):

(R) If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
(J) Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.
(R) Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
(J) Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
(R) O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
(J) Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.
(R) Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.
(J) Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
(R) Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.
(J) You kiss by the book.   (Romeo & Juliet, Act I, Scene v.)

This entry was posted on 11 February 2012 at 9:57 AM and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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