Monday, February 20, 2012

sonnet 130

so much of humor is finding the below-the-surface or unexpected relations between two things, especially two disparate things. it can also be a rather effective type of argument, supplying just the sort of associations (contravening all reason) that support your position. said hyperbolically and with a wink, your opponent has no recourse to reason: to beat you rhetorically, he's gotta come up with a better joke! I came to a newly-betrothed friend's aid recently in her disagreement with her mother over her choice of a birdcage veil over the more traditional gossamer affair.

my text:
"tell her that traditional veils are more suited for cheesemaking and that you will not be walking down the aisle with cheesecloth draped over your head. when michael [the groom] lifts the veil, he is opening the cage to beautiful and rare songbird--not unwrapping some Gouda"
I'm told that the birdcage veil is gaining favor.


I'm going thru Shakespeare's sonnets now and I was struck by the parodic humor of sonnet 130 (especially as it prefigures our contemporary reflexive sarcasm). for anyone who's completely missed the poetic conceits when reading something like Dunne's "The Flea" (thank Jove for commentaries), sonnet 130 is there to commiserate.
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.