Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Poem for Meditation

Sonnet #116

How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

The use of music and the delight in the dance make this one of my favorite sonnets.  But Shakespeare adds to the fun with his envy of the nimble "jacks" and his wish that it would be his lips and not the lute that would be tickled by her kiss.   It is reminiscent of the part in Taming of the Shrew where Kate calls her music tutor “rascal fiddler and twangling jack.”  She was not an enthusiastic musician.

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