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The Hopeless Romantic and Poetry

I am a hopeless romantic; I believe fully in true love, the possible of marital bliss (or at least long-term, cordial partnerships), and most of the cliches.

I also cannot imagine myself falling in love long-term with a reciprocal, healthy man.

There's lots of therapy potential there, but I'd rather spend my money on leather and travel (to be quite candid).

Nevertheless, the Renaissance has many anthems to love that I love. Here are two of my favorite deep love poems and then John Donne's lascivious "The Flea" (because I love the song "I'd like to check you for ticks").

Astrophil and Stella 1:

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,— Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,— I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe; Studying inventions fine her wits to entertain, Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn'd brain. But words came halting forth, wanting invention's stay; Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows; And others' feet still seem'd but strangers in my way. Thus great with child to speak and helpless in my throes, Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite, "Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write."

Amoretti LXVIII: Most Glorious Lord of Life

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day, Didst make thy triumph over death and sin: And having harrow'd hell, didst bring away Captivity thence captive, us to win: This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin, And grant that we for whom thou diddest die, Being with thy dear blood clean wash'd from sin, May live for ever in felicity. And that thy love we weighing worthily, May likewise love thee for the same again: And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy, With love may one another entertain. So let us love, dear love, like as we ought, Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this, How little that which thou deniest me is; It sucked me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea our two bloods mingled be; Thou know’st that this cannot be said A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead, Yet this enjoys before it woo, And pampered swells with one blood made of two, And this, alas, is more than we would do. Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, Where we almost, nay more than married are. This flea is you and I, and this Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is; Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met, And cloistered in these living walls of jet. Though use make you apt to kill me, Let not to that, self-murder added be, And sacrilege, three sins in killing three. Cruel and sudden, hast thou since Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence? Wherein could this flea guilty be, Except in that drop which it sucked from thee? Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now; ’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be: Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me, Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

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