“The truest poetry is the most feigning;
and lovers are given to poetry; and what they swear in poetry
may be said, as lovers, they do feign.” ---William Shakespeare, As You Like It, (III.iii.15–17).
What I love most about As You Like It is all the feigning. The pretending. The role-playing. The deception. And yet, despite all that, the truth about love is never clearer. Here's Rosalind and Celia after Rosalind has feigned her way (disguised as a boy) through a mind-twisting duel of words with Orlando:
You have simply misused our sex in your love-prate:
we must have your doublet and hose plucked over your
head, and show the world what the bird hath done to
her own nest.
O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou
didst know how many fathom deep I am in love! But
it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown
bottom, like the bay of Portugal.
Or rather, bottomless, that as fast as you pour
affection in, it runs out.
No, that same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot
of thought, conceived of spleen and born of madness,
that blind rascally boy that abuses every one's eyes
because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I
am in love. I'll tell thee, Aliena, I cannot be out
of the sight of Orlando: I'll go find a shadow and
sigh till he come.
I'll go find a shadow and sigh . . . and again we're back to the feigned (shadow) . . . isn't Shakespeare the best at casting light on love?
Poetry Friday is hosted this Shakespeare's birthday by Anastasia at Picture Book of the Day.
This post is part of a month-long celebration of not-quite-daily quotes about poets, poems, and poetry. For more quotes, see the archive of the Poetry Quote of the Day. There are many more National Poetry Month celebrations across the Kidlitosphere.