Friday, November 21, 2008
Godfried Schalcken. Gentleman Offering Lady a Joint in a Candlelit Bedroom, c. 1698.
Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all;
What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;
All mine was thine before thou hadst this more.
Then if for my love thou my love receivest,
I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest;
But yet be blamed, if thou thyself deceivest
By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty;
And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief
To bear love's wrong than hate's known injury.
Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.
-- Wm. Shakespeare, Sonnet 40
Ah, love – as you burn, you destroy. The pain of loving and even of attraction can make one weak. And yet remember the bounties love has brought to the world of art: Shakespeare, Schalcken. Love is never harmless. But its fervor can invoke into the world things unspoken, unarticulatable – art! I let Schalcken, master of the candlelight painters, speak for me here. Love is the greatest candle.