Readings: Weeks 2-4


Love & Meaning 1.  "Sonnet 116" (in Romance & the Elevation of Beauty) -  "Black Star" (Radiohead - LL) -  "Black" (Pearl Jam - LL) -  "Paint It Black" (Rolling Stones - LL) - "Sonnet 130" (William Shakespeare) - "Bright Star" (Keats) -  "Reason or Rhyme" (Bryan Ferry - LL)


Love & Meaning 2.  See Worksheet A: Ophelia. "Ophelia's Death" (from Hamlet) -  "Ophelia" (Natalie Merchant - LL - this address has the foreign words at the end with translations; "They wasted" in stanza 7 should read "Lay wasted") -  "Abattoir Blues"  (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - LL) -  "Nature Boy" (Nick Cave - LL) - ♫ YT "Swimming Pools (Drank)" &  "Pride" (Kendrick Lamar - LL - LL)

WEEK 4  

Love: Idealism & Distortion.  Given that you have an essay due this week, I don't expect you to read the following texts before class -- but make sure to bring hard-copies of them: "Love's Grief" & "Love at First Sight" (in Romance & the Elevation of Beauty) - "To His Coy Mistress" ("Mistress," Andrew Marvell) -  "No I in Threesome" ("Threesome," Interpol - LL) -  "Beauty Queen" (Bryan Ferry - LL) - ♫ YT "Tuyo" (Rodrigo Amarante - translation in Readings).



Sonnet 130  (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.*

dun = dark or dusky; damasked = velvety pink or light red; As ... compare ~ As anybody who lied about her by making a false comparison

Bright Star (John Keats, 1819)

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,*
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution* round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask                
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors --
No -- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever -- or else swoon to death.                         

Eremite = hermit; ablution = ritual cleansing



Ophelia's Death (4.7)

Gertrude: There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold [chaste] maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable [unaware] of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

**♫ + YT "Swimming Pools (Drank)" (Kendrick Lamar)



“A Love Song for Lucinda” (Langston Hughes)

Is a ripe plum
Growing on a purple tree.
Taste it once
And the spell of its enchantment
Will never let you be.

Is a bright star
Glowing in far Southern skies.
Look too hard
And its burning flame
Will always hurt your eyes.

Is a high mountain
Stark in a windy sky.
If you
Would never lose your breath
Do not climb too high.


“somewhere” (e.e. cummings)

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

To His Coy Mistress  (Marvell, c. 1650)

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber* would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast;
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart;
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
   But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
   Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt* power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

* Humber = tidal estuary in NE England - slow-chapt = slowly eating

Tuyo (Rodrigo Amarante, 2015) / Yours (trans. RYC)

Soy el fuego que arde tu piel / I'm the fire that burns your skin
Soy el agua que mata tu sed / I'm the water that kills your thirst
El castillo, la torre yo soy / Of the castle, the tower am I
La espada que guarda el caudal / The sword that guards the treasure

Tú, el aire que respiro yo / You, the air that I breathe
Y la luz de la luna en el mar / And the light of the moon in the sea
La garganta que ansío mojar / The throat that I yearn to moisten
Que temo ahogar de amor / That I fear to drown with love

Y cuáles deseos me vas a dar, oh / And which desires are you going to give me, oh
Dices tu, mi tesoro basta con mirarlo / You say, my treasure it's enough to look at it
Y tuyo será, y tuyo será / And it will be yours, and it will be yours