Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force,
Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill,
Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humor hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest,
But these particulars are not my measure,
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments’ cost,
Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
And having thee, of all men’s pride I boast:
Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
All this away, and me most wretched make.
At first glance this looks like it would make a fine reading. The repetition, in particular, makes it easy to follow. Some people’s pride comes from their family name (their birth), some from what they can do (skill), some in their wealth, some their strength…and so on. And then comes the nice turn, “I can do one better than none of you can beat — the fact that she loves me is worth more to me than all those things.”
If he’d stopped right there I’d say, “Cut! Print it!” and move on to the cake. But dear Shakespeare with his insecurities doesn’t let me off easy by sticking in the last bit – “What makes me most miserable is the fear that she might take that away.” Curse you, Shakespeare! Currrrrssssse yooooooouuuu!
I leave it to Carl and anyone else who wants to join to fill us in on where 91 fits in the story and why it ends on what, as far as I can tell, is an absolute bummer note. I mean, is it supposed to be a compliment? Like, “The worst thing in the world would be if I didn’t have you?” sort of thing? I suppose in a different context that might sound nicer, but here it just seems like he shoots down his whole argument. It’s one thing to have something better than everybody else has, but to then freely admit that your biggest fear is losing it? The dude with a hawk and a horse can always go buy more hawks and horses, or make more money to buy new clothes. But poor Shakespeare’s admittedly screwed.