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 there is 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.
~ William Shakespeare
“And in some perfumes there is more delight than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.”Did you laugh outloud when you read this line? I did! I love this sonnet, I think, because I could imagine my husband saying these words. It was his honesty, his integrity that drew me to him, and honest he is. Even when I have bad breath. Kind, mind you, but truthful. He eschews sentimentality and doesn’t particularly care for Hallmark cards. The couplet at the end is essential to the sonnet. Because his love is also the truth.
My middle son, who is getting married next month, inherited the blunt genes but also the kind ones. I can count on him to let me know if I have missed plucking a truant hair from my chin. I value this highly because I hate those nasty female chin hairs! And I know he loves me, and it is this love and not nastiness that informs those lovely conversations.