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When my love sweares that she is made of truth,
I do beleeue her (though I know she lies)
That she might thinke me some vntutor’d youth,
Vnskilful in the worlds false forgeries.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinkes me young,
Although I know my yeares be past the best :
I smiling, credite her false speaking tounge,
Outfacing faults in loue, with loues ill rest.
But wherefore sayes my loue that she is young ?
And wherefore say not I that I am old :
O, Loues best habit’s in a soothing toung,
And Age in loue, loues not to haue yeares told.
Therefore I’le lye with Loue, and loue with me,
Since that our faultes in louve thus smother’d be.
–William Shakespeare, Sonnet cxxxviii first published in The Passionate Pilgrim (1599)
Listen to John Dowland’s Can She Excuse My Wrongs from the First Booke of Songes (1597) in a performance by Gérard Lesne and the Ensemble Orlando Gibbons, and then a guitar performance of his Melancholy Galliard and an Allemande by Jamie Andreas on a modern guitar:
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”