Saturday, April 30, 2011

Parallel - Weeping through Fear of Loss

First, Shake-Speare:

Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminante –
That time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Sonnet 64, 11-14


Portia:                   then confess
                   What treason there is mingled with your love.
Bassanio:  None but that ugly treason of mistrust,
                   Which make me fear th’enjoying of my love,
Merchant of Venice 3.2.27-9

Now, Bacon:
[A classical dictum]  Non uti ut non appetas, non appetere ut non metuas,
sunt animi pusilli et diffidentis [To abstain from the use of a thing that you may not feel a want of it; to shun the want that you may not feel the loss of it, are the precautions of pusillanimity and cowardice].
The Advancement of Learning (Spedding 3.427)

and also: 
I will not use because I will not desire. I will not desire because I will not fear to want.
A Conference of Pleasure p. 5

Comment: Fearing to lose love was of course a commonplace. But to weep to have it in case you lose it suggests that Shake-Speare had in mind the philosophical conundrum of the Bacon texts. (The conundrum is said to have its source in Plutarch’s Life of Solon).

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