Monday, February 21, 2011

A Lover's Complaint Background and Lines 1-70


okay. i am attempting to make a fresh start today. i don't have rehearsal for Vinegar Tom. i do have rehearsal for Writes of Spring, but i will get out 2 hours earlier! i re-started SparkPeople today with resolve. i am re-approaching Shakespeare with vigor! i will get back on the ball in school. i mean, i'm not OFF the ball, but i could be more on top of my work. and i am going to attempt to get 8 hours of sleep most nights. i can do this. i have my goals written out to be posted on my bathroom mirror. bring it ON.

i started A Lover's Complaint today. i learned that a man named Thomas Thorpe published it for the first time without Shakespeare's authorization. awesome. i guess there is some, although very little, doubt about this being Shakespeare's. apparently there are no better theories out there, and it seems like it's his. so there ya go. it is assumed it is. this poem is written in the 'complaint' style popular of that time. it is unique in that it has multiple points of view. we will have the POV of the narrator, the 'forlorn maiden', an aging shepherd, and a young man. i look forward to seeing how Shakespeare makes those transitions. and i am HOPING this one is more readable than The Phoenix and the Turtle!

here's what's up in the first 70 lines (or what i think is happening anyway):
the narrator is sitting on a hill, when he sees a 'fickle maid' who is tearing up some love letters. she is a little older, but not all of her beauty is gone. (see quote below.) the maid cries for her woes in love. her hair is a mess and her overall appearance is haphazard. she throws letters and tokens of love into the river as she cries and cries. the letters were full of lies and she rages against them. a shepherd tending his herd sees her, and is drawn to the river. he feels that he understands her and goes to sit by her side. he, being older, can offer her comfort.

i've only read a short bit, but what is most interesting to me right now is the content of the stanzas. it's so crazy how some stanzas contain SO much information and some contain very little. for instance, in one stanza we learn only that the letters were full of lies. in the next stanza, we learn that there is an old shepherd who has had a lot of experiences in life, and is drawn to the girl, and wants to know what is going on with her. i'm not saying that one is better than the other, i just think it's wild. he goes back and forth, delving deeply into minute things in one, and then giving a bunch of information in the next. that Shakespeare has some mad skills.

and YES, this is much easier to understand than The Phoenix and the Turtle. thank goodness.

quote of the day:
'upon her head a platted hive of straw,
which fortified her visage from the sun.
whereon the thought might think sometimes it saw
the carcass of a beauty spent and done.
time had not scythed all that youth begun,
nor youth all quit, but spite of heaven's fell rage
some beauty peeped through lattice of seared age.'
   -lines 8-14

for tomorrow: lines 71-end

to read Titus Andronicus or Richard III next, that is the question.

-rebecca may (still missing my Henry)


  1. I would suggest reading Richard III next, simply because Henry VI, 3 is still fresh in your mind. It will make certain people more understandable in the long run (like that young Henry, earl of Richmond that you questioned earlier).

    You won't regret it...and Titus Andronicus stands alone as a play and can be a fresh start.
    I mean...I wouldn't follow up the Godfather I with anything but Godfather II...or Empire Strikes Back but with Return of the Jedi.

  2. hahaha awesome. yeah, i wanted to take a break from history but i think i'm just going to go straight into it. thanks!