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A Brief History of Romance

Well shucks. Two days in a row. How ’bout that. OWl Farm was in great spirits today. Siameses Caesar and Pele and German Shepherd Athena, and Peacocks Oscar, Bosie, Sammy all were in the new sun today.  Teh grass is green, the daffodils are blooming and I fired up the John Deere yesterday. all is well.

Anyway, today’s mention is inspired from a book I’ve loved for many years, You’re Too Kind: A brief History of Flattery. By Richard Stengel. Great, funny book.

Didn’t know it, but Shakespeare mocked the conventions of courtly flattery by making fun of the famous love aching troubadours of the 12th century french love poets who passed down to us cheezy but effective love sentiments that you read in Hallmark Cards today. What they didn’t understand, or didn’t need, was GREAT flattery (because often they were more in love with love, or the abstract, rather than an actual woman.) Good flattery is general; great flattery is specific.

Hence, Shakespeare’s having a laugh at the troubadores, at their expense and our gain… Sonnet 130:


My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
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 damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there 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.

Ah, yes. Thank you Shakespeare. You make us laugh and love at the same time — often,  we find ourselves scratching our heads. So, when writing love letters to your lovers, be specific. or not….

your friend in Woody Creek,

Anita Thompson

 p.s. I thank Jim Caruso for dedicating his first post to me on cut the leash blog.  Many many thanks Jim. And thanks too, to Seth Godin



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