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How oft when thou, my music, music play'st, Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st The wiry concord that mine ear confounds, Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap, To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap, At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks state And situation with those dancing chips, O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait, Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips. The poet turns to the elaborate conceits that other sonneteers were When Thou to use as expressions of their desire for closer intimacy with the beloved. They would wish to be a How Oft which embraced her hand, a hat, a handkerchief, a glass, a My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks dog, or, in the case of Barnabe Barnes, in the sonnet sequence Parthenophil and Parthenophe, the wine which his mistress drinks, which gradually works through her body and makes its way out 'by Chi Town Shuffle - DJ Tanner - Four Perfect Little Shits In August (File, MP3, MP3) part'.
The sonnet is given below. In As You Like It, Touchstone the clown remembers how, when in love, he kissed the wooden washing paddle and the cows' teats that his mistress had touched. I remember, when I was in love I broke my sword upon a stone and bid him take that for coming a-night to Jane Smile; and I remember the kissing of her batlet and the cow's dugs that her pretty chopt hands had milked; AYL.
In more modern times, Pushkin desired to be the waves which lapped over his beloved's feet, and he envied the stirrup into which she mounted her foot. Eugene Onegin I. There is nothing which will not, on occasion, fit itself to the task of bringing the lover into closer contact with the loved one.
Ben Jonson is thought to have satirized the fashion in the following, in which the foppy courtier, Fastidious Briske, wishes to be his mistress' viola da gamba: Oh she tickles it so, that I'll tell you a good jest now, and you yourself shall say its a good one. I have wished myself to be that instrument, I think, a thousand times, and not so few, by heaven! Every Man out of his Humour II. But however light hearted we might think this sonnet to be, we have to see it in its setting, and remember that it is followed by a sonnet of the most profound sexual pessimism.
Perhaps the contrast is deliberate, and it may be that Shakespeare wished to portray the whole range of emotion he experienced, from the heights to the depths. For this brief interlude, there is a ray of sunshine, and My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks poet takes pleasure in seeing his mistress playing. But the pleasure is not entirely unalloyed, for it is mixed with unfulfilled longings, and a jealousy that suspects that her favours are being too liberally bestowed on others.
A manuscript version of this sonnet is extant in the Bodleian Library. It is thought that it may contain genuine contemporary alternative readings. See the bottom of the page for the full text. Would I were changed but to my Mistress' gloves, That those white lovely fingers I might hide! That I might kiss those hands, which mine heart loves!
Or else that chain of pearl her neck's vain pride Made proud with her neck's veins, that I might fold About that lovely neck, and her paps tickle! Or her to compass, like a belt of gold! Or that sweet wine which down her throat doth trickle, To kiss her lips, and lie next at her heart, Run through her veins, and pass by Pleasure's part!
See the note above, line 2. I think woods is best treated here as a plural noun. His lips are flushed with envy, anger and My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks . Note that the first sentence does not end till this point, as though it were a melody played with My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks variations. Compare, in Prelude To The Twlight Of A Sexually Confused Sunflower - Hintergedanken - Hintergedanken preface to Laura, by Robert Tofte : so we, by your countenances, shall be sufficiently furnished to encounter against any foul-mouthed J ACKS whatsoever.
See also SB p. The sonnet is deliberately laden with sexual innuendo. One imagines that having one's mistress sit at the virginals to play the latest love song could be quite sexy. See the illustration above, and at the bottom of the page. The title of the book is suggestive. Other female musicians are shown to the left. Shakespeare does not often use the word 'virginal', but when he does it is always in a My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks context, most explicitly in Two Noble Kinsmen, a non-canonical play, but large sections of it being attributed to Shakespeare: Pal.
She met him in an arbour: What did she there, coz? Play o' the virginals? Something she did Sir. Made her groan a month for't; Or two, or three, or ten.
Other quotations are given above, at line 6. Note that the Puritans strongly disapproved of music and dancing, as it encouraged too free and easy a contact between the sexes. Probably a not too hidden reference to fellatio, since the line could be read as 'Let your fingers do the work for them, the saucy Jacksbut for me, let it be your lips'. How oft when thou, my music, music play'st, 2. Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds 3. With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st 4.
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds, 5. Do I envy those jacks that How Oft leap, 6. To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, 7. Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap, 8. At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand! To be so tickled, they would change their state And situation My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks those dancing chips, O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait, Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips. Since saucy jacks so happy are in this, So There - Ben Folds - So There them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.
How Oft Gå Varsamt, O Kristen - Leif Strands Kammarkör - Allt Under Himmelens Fäste when thou, dear dearest music playest Upon that blessed wood whose motions sounds, With thy sweet fingers when thou gently swayst The wiry concord that mine ear consounds, O how I envy those keys that nimble leaps, To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reaped At the wood boldness by thee blushing stand, To be so touched the fain would change their state And situation with those dancing chips O'er whom your fingers walk with gentle gait, Making dead wood more blessed than living lips.
Since then those keys so happy are in this, Give them your fingers, me your lips to kiss. The most interesting differences are 'keys' for 'Jacks' in l. JK reads 'they fain' for 'the fain' of l. I have based this version on that given by KDJ p. Sonnet CXXVIII How oft when thou, my music, music play'st, Upon When Thou blessed wood whose motion sounds With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st The wiry concord that mine ear confounds, Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap, To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, Whilst How Oft poor lips which should that harvest reap, At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
Barnabe Barnes. Commentary 1. Compare Sonn. Or, more probably, the keys, which were made of wood, and probably not covered with ivory at this date. So also woods' in line 8 and dead wood in My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks OED does not record this use of woodsequivalent to the modern word 'ivories'.
See the comments on jacks below l. With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st gently swayest - either the harpsichordist gently sways while she is playing the instrument, or the word means 'to control, to master'.
See line 11 below. From the Latin confundere to pour together, to mix. The word here evidently has a more gentle meaning than in the earlier sonnets when it implied 'bringing to utter ruin', as for example And Time that gave doth now his gift confound They were attached by levers to the keys of 1.
Ringeltaube (Columba palumbus L.) - No Artist - Stimmen der Vögel Mitteleuropas - I. Waldvögel keyboard, but, being within the instrument, did not actually touch the player's hand. The poet is probably referring loosely to the woods, or keys, as OED seems to think. OED, Jack n. In the virginal, spinet, and harpsichord: An upright piece of wood fixed to the back of the key-lever, and fitted with a quill which plucked the string as the jack rose on the key's being pressed down.
By Shakes. The jacks could certainly be seen leaping up and down. But in most harpsichord music the speed at which the When Thou were played would also give the impression that the keys were leaping to meet the fingers of the player's hand. To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, the tender inward of thy hand When Thou not necessarily the palm, as it could also apply to the underside of the fingers.
The Elizabethans made a distinction between a formal kiss of the top of the hand in greeting, and a more intimate kiss made when the lover raised the inside of the hand of his beloved to his lips.
I think we would make the same distinction today. See GBE p. Tickling obviously is either a childish activity, or one associated with love-play. Much more, in this great work, Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down And set another up, should we survey The plot of situation and the model, 2H4. More decisive however is the following from Henry V, where the plural is used: FL. I think it My Music (128) - Various - When Love Speaks in Macedon where Alexander is porn.
I tell you, captain, if you look in the maps of the 'orld, I warrant you sall find, in the comparisons between Macedon and Monmouth, that the situations, look you, is both alike. See OED. The error, which is common in Q, is emended by all editors. Possibly also the deadness of impotence. Bodleian Ms Rawl.
Spelling and punctuation have been modernised.