Two loves I have of Comfort & Despair – William Shakespeare

Sonnet 144

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And, whether that my angel be turn’d fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell,
But being both from me both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another’s hell.
Yet this shall I ne’er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

Taken from the Passionate Pilgrime this poem most certainly refers to the MIND & its struggle. Experts who analysis it believe it was Shakespeare’s two loves, a man & a women, possibly Elizabeth Veron (known as the dark lady), but IMHO this is theory is highly unlikely. In understanding the poem as the mind we are to understand the two sides & a struggle between the voices in the head. The key line ‘both being from me’. I HAVE THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THIS & IT IS ON UNDERSTANDING ME, THIS POEM & SONNET 86 BECOME SO SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND!

Footnote: Ronald Bailey was the first to introduce me to Shakespeare. The first ever piece he read me over the telephone was this very piece. In the context of my story, of all the pieces he could have chosen, this one would years later prove to be essential in my understanding.

I have included here an interview with Ronald Bailey (close friend of the late actor John Thaw & actress Sheila Hancock) who tells of our first remarkable meeting


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