Thanks - I've not seen that before, and am glad to have been introduced to it.
It's the first verse of a long "Epithalamium".
Really? It stands very well on its own, though.
Just the word "Epithalamium" makes me shiver. Can you tell I was an English student? (And not terribly fond of it!)
I think it's rather a pretty word. Though all those "f"s make one feel as if one's mouth is full of feathers.
That wacky John Donne. I like the things he wrote when he was young and dissolute.
I really don't spend enough time with the classics as I should. Usually I only go back as far as the 18th c. or so but there's plenty of good writing before that.
Donne is good. The most fiercely intelligent of English poets.
Very fine. I'd never heard it.
Let's see--did Saint Valentine take presents to good boys and girls? I forget.
St Valentine was an early Christian martyr- quite obscure really- and I think his association with
lurve is an accident of the calendar.
I have some recollection of St. Valentine marrying people in secret and getting hanged for it. I'll have to Google him and see if I'm right.
Kate says he probably had his heart cut out, hence the nifty icons in his honor!
I found this on a Roman Catholic page:
St. Valentine was:
a) a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II, was thrown in jail and later beheaded on Feb. 14.
b) a Catholic bishop of Terni who was beheaded, also during the reign of Claudius II.
c) someone who secretly married couples when marriage was forbidden, or suffered in Africa, or wrote letters to his jailer's daughter, and was probably beheaded.
d) all, some, or possibly none of the above.
If you guessed d), give yourself a box of chocolates.
(Which means nobody knows anything.)
So we can imagine him as we like.
He's some bloke who got his head chopped off.
I wish Kate's suggestion were true.
You can always count on Donne, whether it's sex or religion or both. :)
He's damn good, isn't he?
There's no English poet with such a gift for rocking you back on your heels with his startling conjunctions.
"All the air is your diocese"- I mean, that's just so bloody brilliant!
I can tell you that the old tradition of birds choosing their mates on this day is pretty accurate. In my region, at least, birds *do* start to think about mating as early as February. I saw a couple of mockingbirds fighting for territory the other day.
"All the air is your diocese--" I think I read this poem in college but had forgotten about it, much as I love Donne.
It's a line that stuck in my head.
There's another further on in the poem where he talks about the attendants fussing around the bride "as though they were to take a clock in pieces".