Jan 13 Robert Graves: Down, Wanton, Down!

On St. Valentine’s Eve, I thought that I would post a poem expressing a sentiment often confused with love (too often). I just finished reading David Copperfield in which the hero of the story enters into a marriage with a creature that he’s convinced himself that he is in love with. She’s a creature so dumb it’s amazing that she does drown when looking up in a rainstorm, but she’s so beautiful, he’s certain that she’s the perfect girl for him. It’s not until she can’t figure out how to add and subtract – to do the house’s books, a wife’s duty in that day – he realizes that she’s much less than perfect, especially for him. He’s too modest to admit what he followed to get him into this mess, but we the modern audience know all too well – it still happens today. Which just goes to show, the more things change the more they stay the same.

I’ll just end my commentary with this, when the professor introduced this poem, he realized it was a mistake as soon as he said, “And the context of this poem is… well, you know.” ‘Nuff said.

Down, Wanton, Down!

by Robert Graves

Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
That at the whisper of Love’s name,
Or Beauty’s, presto! up you raise
Your angry head and stand at gaze?

Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
The ravelin and effect a breach –
Indifferent what you storm or why,
So be that in the breach you die!

Love may be blind, but Love at least
Knows what is man and what mere beast;
Or Beauty wayward, but requires
More delicacy from her squires.

Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?

Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?

Will many-gifted Beauty come
Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!

happy v day!!!

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About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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