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I LOVE thee not for sacred chastity.
Who loves for that? nor for thy sprightly wit:
I love thee not for thy sweet modesty,
Which makes thee in perfection's throne to sit.
I love thee not for thy enchanting eye,
Thy beauty, ravishing perfection:
I love thee not for that my soul doth dance,
And leap with pleasure when those lips of thine,
Give musical and graceful utterance,
To some (by thee made happy) poet's line.
I love thee not for voice or slender small,
But wilt thou know wherefore? Fair sweet, for all.
'Faith, wench! I cannot court thy sprightly eyes,
With the base viol placed between my thighs:
I cannot lisp, nor to some fiddle sing,
Nor run upon a high stretching minikin.
I cannot whine in puling elegies.
Entombing Cupid with sad obsequies:
I am not fashioned for these amorous times,
To court thy beauty with lascivious rhymes:
I cannot dally, caper, dance and sing,
Oiling my saint with supple sonneting:
I cannot cross my arms, or sigh "Ah me,"
"Ah me forlorn!" egregious foppery!
I cannot buss thy fill, play with thy hair,
Swearing by Jove, "Thou art most debonnaire!"
Not I, by cock! but I shall tell thee roundly,
Hark in thine ear, zounds I can ____ thee soundly.
Sweet wench, I love thee; yet I will not sue,
Or show my love as musky courtiers do;
I'll not carouse a health to honour thee,
In this same bezzling drunken courtesy:
And when all's quaffed, eat up my bousinglass,
In glory that I am thy servile ass.
Nor will I wear a rotten Bourbon lock,
As some sworn peasant to a female mock.
Well-featured lass, thou know'st I love thee dear,
Yet for thy sake I will not bore mine ear,
To hang thy dirty silken shoe-tires there:
Not for thy love will I once gnash a brick,
Or some pied colours in my bonnet stick.
But by the chaps of hell, to do thee good,
I'll freely spend my thrice decocted blood.



There's probably way more complicated and confusing works by Marlowe than this one, but this was the first to spring to mind. The first stanza is simple enough: hey, I dig you, you're pretty and hot and awesome. The second stanza basically has the character going all nuts, saying he won't be this, he won't be that, etc., etc. And thus far, the poem is devoid of any real poetic language, as the second stanza comes off more of a list absent of any metaphors or similies, and the first stanza is basically just romance novel talk. And finally, the third stanza, the one where no matter how many times I read and re-read and re-read it, I haven't a friggin' clue what it means.


If anyone reading this website can understand masterful jibberish that perhaps only Jar Jar Binks could translate, drop me a line, alright?


I can, however, point out that Marlowe used a simile: "show my love as musky courtiers do." Ain't I brilliant? However, this poem, I wager, is ripe with imagery. The first stanza especially, not so much with the last two stanzas.


So what this poem basically says to me is that there's this uppidy type of bloke who really digs this girl - like, a lot. The exact reasons why he loves this gal elludes me at this moment, nor why this gal could possibly reciprocate those feelings. But he doesn't want to change his assholey way. That's about as much itnerpertation as I can get. Those last two stanzas are so messed up and all-over-the-place I can't pinpoint what the emotion is, what the narrator is remotely attempting to say, so therefore I fail. I mean, what does "Hark in thine ear, zounds I can ____ thee soundly" even mean, or is it one of those 'special' things that are just meant for individual interpertation?


This poem is a jumbled mess, one I cannot possibly fathom understanding without the expertise of someone who actually understands poets, and it's why I therefore dub this the most difficult poem on this website.