Friday, 15 August 2008

Woman's Constancy

A young person of my acquaintance who has no respect for age and infirmity has pointed out that Other Men's Flowers, while purporting to be a vade mecum for intellectuals, currently contains 49 posts about food and drink and 40 about hats but only 33 about poetry and 17 about art, thus suggesting that eating, drinking and comic headgear are more important to me than than other, more cultured, enthusiasms.

That may well be the case, though I could point out that music gets 69 and literature 57. Still, many of the posts in these categories are merely frivolous or facetious so it is true that the general tenor of OMF is not such as to give sustenance to those in search of edification.

Well, tough titty for them. Anyway, to raise the tone a bit here's a picture of John Donne, and a poem he wrote called Woman's Constancy in which the poet suggests some excuses his lover might make for dropping him. He isn't really being kind, he's just showing that he might well drop her first:

NOW thou hast loved me one whole day
To-morrow when thou leavest, what wilt thou say
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were?
Or that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear?
Or, as true deaths true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose?
Or, your own end to justify,
For having purposed change and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
Dispute, and conquer, if I would;
Which I abstain to do,
For by to-morrow I may think so too.

(I discovered this poem in the marvellous website of Anniina Jokinen of Philadelphia, who has translated some of Donne's poems into Finnish but in the case of one of his rude ones was not satisfied with the result.)

1 comment:

Marc said...

I quite like the posts about drinking , eating and funny hats. If you were to write a post about eating and drinking while wearing a funny hat, I'd likely fall out of my chair.