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The Subtlety of Words

April 22, 2012

December 15, 2011 4:29pm

So I started reviewing for my english midterm yesterday. It’s going great actually. I read Shakespere’s Twelfth Night yesterday, and today, read some sonnets by Donne, Herbert, and Marvel. They’re so amazing.

Sometimes, when I’m in English class, or just doing my readings, I suddenly get hit with this inexplicable feeling. It amazes me how these writers use words to convey such intense emotions! The way they speak, the way they write about things, I wouldn’t be able to say it any better. The way the words compliment each other seem like an exotic dance that sometimes, is hard to understand. Hard to understand, yet, they fully describe all that we feel, and all that we know. And that’s what I love about these works; they’re not obvious. 

Subtlety is beautiful.

The way the words mingle with each other, intertwine if you will, makes it hard to know exactly what the author means by them. Each word is carefully plucked from the imagination, each with intentionality.

So next time, when you’re enjoying that good ol’ read, take a step back and think about what the author wants you to think and what the author is really saying.

One of my favourites from John Donne:

The Good Morrow

“I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then,

But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?

Or snorted we in the seven sleepers’ den?

‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.

If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good morrow to our waking souls,

Which watch not one another out of fear;

For love all love of other sights controls,

And makes one little room an everywhere.

Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,

Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown:

Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eyes, thine in mine appears,

And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;

Where can we find two better hemispheres,

Without sharp North, without declining West?

Whatever dies was not mixed equally;

If our two loves be one, or thou and I

Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.”

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