I had stopped bothering to watch Lark Rise to Candleford these past few weeks - it had begun to annoy me too much. Anachronism-spotting was proving far too unchallenging and joyless, and the last time I sat in front of it, I merely fell asleep with boredom.
However, tonight it happened to coincide with my feeling the urgent need to put my feet up with a restorative cuppa and I ended up seeing it. Two good things emerged from the general soup of toshiness: (1) Julia Sawalha - who really is quite wonderful to watch, and (2) The Definition of Love, by Andrew Marvell (1621-78), which I regret to say that I don't remember having read with intent since I was at school.
How silly it is, I often think, that we study at 13 or 14 poems (and plays and novels) which we cannot hope to understand until life and love have bashed us around a bit.
My Love is of a birth as rare
As 'tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by despair
Magnanimous Despair alone.
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne'r have flown
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing.
And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended Soul is fixt,
But Fate does Iron wedges drive,
And alwaies crouds it self betwixt.
For Fate with jealous Eye does see.
Two perfect Loves; nor lets them close:
Their union would her ruine be,
And her Tyrannick pow'r depose.
And therefore her Decrees of Steel
Us as the distant Poles have plac'd,
(Though Loves whole World on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac'd.
Unless the giddy Heaven fall,
And Earth some new Convulsion tear;
And, us to joyn, the World should all
Be cramp'd into a Planisphere.
As Lines so Loves Oblique may well
Themselves in every Angle greet:
But ours so truly Paralel,
Though infinite can never meet.
Therefore the Love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debarrs,
Is the Conjunction of the Mind,
And Opposition of the Stars.
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