Modern Love

Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948

And what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long…

— Keats, Modern Love (excerpt)

Marionette

Enough; no more. ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

Unhappy verse, the witness of my unhappy state,
Make thy self flutt’ring wings of thy fast flying
Thought, and fly forth unto my love, wheresoever she be:
Whether lying restless in heavy bed, or else
Sitting so cheerless at the cheerful board, or else
Playing alone careless on her heavenly virginals.
If in bed, tell her, that my eyes can take no rest:
If at board, tell her, that my mouth can eat no meat:
If at her virginals, tell her, I can hear no mirth.
Asked why? say: waking love suffereth no sleep:
Say that raging love doth appal the weak stomach:
Say, that lamenting love marreth the musical.

— Edmund Spenser, Iambicum Trimetrum (excerpt)

Don’t Rock the Jukebox

Astrophil and Stella 71: Bad Time

LIFE, 1970

Who will in fairest book of nature know
How virtue may best lodg’d in beauty be,
Let him but learn of love to read in thee,
Stella, those fair lines which true goodness show.
There shall he find all vices’ overthrow,
Not by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty
Of reason, from whose light those night-birds fly;
That inward sun in thine eyes shineth so.
And, not content to be perfection’s heir
Thyself, dost strive all minds that way to move,
Who mark in thee what is in thee most fair.
So while thy beauty draws thy heart to love,
As fast thy virtue bends that love to good:
But “Ah,” Desire still cries, “Give me some food!”

— Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 71: “Who will in fairest book of nature know”

“Bad Time” — Grand Funk

I come in last night about half past ten…

cf. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Man sitting with dog on front porch as woman looks through door…” (between 1860 and 1930)

“Move It On Over” — George Thorogood and the Destroyers

But, soft! what light through yonder trolley tunnel breaks?

ROMEO:
[To A Serving man] What lady is that, which doth enrich the paw
Of yonder Daniel Striped Tiger?

SERVANT:
I know not, sir.

ROMEO:
O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear—
Beauty too rich for use, for Earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows and X the Owl,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows and Lady Elaine Fairchilde shows…
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this episode aired on PBS.

“Whenever You’re On My Mind” – Marshall Crenshaw

Meanwhile across town…

cf. Edward Hopper, “Nighthawks” (detail) (1942) and Paul Gauguin, “The Siesta” (detail) (ca. 1892–94)

Poor Wisdom’s chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.

— Thomas Moore, “The Time Iʼve Lost in Wooing” (excerpt)

“Black Cow” – Steely Dan

“On First Looking Into Greene’s Chord Chemistry”

On First Looking into Greene’s “Chord Chemistry”

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Greene speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

(cf. Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer)
 

You Go to My Head / Willow Weep for Me by Ted Greene

“The Year Of Living Collinsly (1985)”

Photograph by Florian Pérennès via Unsplash

The Year Of Living Collinsly (1985)

there’s a girl that’s been on my mind
all the time
i’ve been sitting here so long
wasting time
just staring at the phone
ooh
you got me inside out
oh yes
they all warned me
they told me don’t lose your heart to her
she’ll never give it back
now i know that i’m too young
my love has just begun

 

Phil Collins – “Sussudio” (Fatu’s Edit) by Fatu (F82)

Love Won’t Let Me Wait

cf. Pompeo Batoni, “Portrait of a Young Man” (ca. 1760–65) and
image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay and
video by Felix_Broennimann (“Star, Long Exposure”) via Pixabay and
video by InspiredImages (“Lava Lamp”) via Pixabay

 

“Love Won’t Let Me Wait” by Major Harris

“I refute it THUS.”

cf. Paul Stang, “Group portrait at Lushågen” (ca. 1910)

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, “I refute it THUS.”

Boswell’s Life Of Johnson

Switchin’ To Glide

LIFE, 1972

“Ho-Ho! my valiant page!
Bring hither Pegasus, and let me ride;
Smooth the winged-charger’s ruffled mane,
Tighten the curb, and let the loosen’d rein
Hang loose no more!
Bring hither Pegasus, and I will soar,
With my proud courser well in hand,
Into the presence of that fairyland
Wherein the far hills brood in the still mist
And the laughter-ripple of the mere is kissed
By the bright-eyed orb of day:
Now make good speed, my page…”

—William Wilson, “Pegasus in Lakeland”
 

“Switchin’ To Glide” by The Kings

“And Wilt Thou Leave Me Thus?”

cf. Cincinnati Magazine, 1971

And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay, for shame,
To save thee from the blame
Of all my grief and grame;
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

And wilt thou leave me thus,
That hath loved thee so long
In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

And wilt thou leave me thus,
That hath given thee my heart
Never for to depart,
Nother for pain nor smart;
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

And wilt thou leave me thus
And have no more pity
Of him that loveth thee?
Hélas, thy cruelty!
And wilt thou leave me thus?
Say nay, say nay!

—Sir Thomas Wyatt

The Nose

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “N.Y.C. – Bridges – Brooklyn” (1895)

As he returned, he met Madame Podtotchina with her daughter. He accosted them, and they responded very graciously. The conversation lasted a long time, during which he took more than one pinch of snuff, saying to himself, “No, you haven’t caught me yet, coquettes that you are! And as to the daughter, I shan’t marry her at all.”

After that, the Major resumed his walks on the Neffsky Avenue and his visits to the theatre as if nothing had happened. His nose also remained in its place as if it had never quitted it. From that time he was always to be seen smiling, in a good humour, and paying attentions to pretty girls…

—Nikolai Gogol, The Nose

Better forget him, him with his nose in the air…

Call out the volunteers ’cause my heart’s a flambé

Harry Wayne McMahan, “The Television Commercial” (1954)

I gotta time it right so it’s warm when you get it
Turn up the heat just a little bit higher
It was a good idea but I think I overdid it
I can’t reach the oven and the kitchen’s on fire…

 

“Burn Three Times” – Utopia

“While our hero lies comfortably in his bed at home…”

Illustration by H. J. Ford from “The Book Of Romance” (1902)

Thus they drive on the day with such doings while our hero lies comfortably in his bed at home in clothes full rich of hue. The lady did not forget; she came to greet him; full early she was by him to change his mind. She comes to the curtain and peeps at the knight. Sir Gawain at once welcomes her worthily, and she returns his greeting right promptly, seats herself softly by his side, laughs openly, and with a lovely look addresses these words to him: “Sir, if ye be Gawain, it seems to me a very strange thing that a man of such quality should not follow the conventions of good society; and should after making acquaintance with a person cast him utterly from his mind. Thou hast already forgotten what I taught you yesterday in the best language that I knew.” “What is that?” quoth the hero. “Forsooth I know not. If what ye say be true, I am to blame.” “Yet I taught you about kissing,” replied the fair lady; “wherever a countenance is known, quickly to claim a kiss; that becomes every knight who practices courtesy…”

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

She’s turnin’ on the heat
And it’s a little too much
She’s turnin’ on the heat
And it’s a hundred above, yeah…

“Who woo’d in haste and means to wed at leisure…”

Zaida Ben-Yusuf, “Don’t you see that you are making me a great deal of trouble?” (1902)

No shame but mine: I must, forsooth, be forced
To give my hand opposed against my heart
Unto a mad-brain rudesby full of spleen;
Who woo’d in haste and means to wed at leisure.
I told you, I, he was a frantic fool,
Hiding his bitter jests in blunt behavior:
And, to be noted for a merry man,
He’ll woo a thousand, ‘point the day of marriage,
Make feasts, invite friends, and proclaim the banns;
Yet never means to wed where he hath woo’d.
Now must the world point at poor Katharina,
And say, “Lo, there is mad Petruchio’s wife,
If it would please him come and marry her!”

The Taming of the Shrew

You can’t get off this wheel of karma

cf. D.A. Sigerist, “Two men and a woman dancing three hand reel” (ca. 1905)

LAVINIA: Stop! I want you to explain the telegram.

JULIA: Explain the telegram? What do you think, Alex?

ALEX: No, Julia, we can’t explain the telegram.

LAVINIA: I am sure that you could explain the telegram.
I don’t know why. But it seems to me that yesterday
I started some machine, that goes on working,
And I cannot stop it; no, it’s not like a machine—
Or if it’s a machine, someone else is running it.
But who? Somebody is always interfering …
I don’t feel free … and yet I started it …

–T. S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party

CHAPTER XXXIX: Mr. Samuel Weller, being entrusted with a mission of love, proceeds to execute it; with what success will hereinafter appear…

Carol M. Highsmith, “Melodrama performance…” (detail)

CHAPTER XXXIX: Mr. Samuel Weller, being entrusted with a mission of love, proceeds to execute it; with what success will hereinafter appear…

–Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
 

I Know A Little (Album Version) by Lynyrd Skynyrd

The Day I Ran The Projector

Anna Curtis Chandler & Irene F. Cypher, “Audio-visual techniques for enrichment of the curriculum” (1948)

Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun…

—Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

“No, we are all as old as we feel, but no older…”

cf. LIFE, 1968

…the sight of his own sharp features and grey hair plunged him in hopeless mortification; he made desperate efforts to recover the appearance and freshness of his youth and began paying frequent visits to the hotel barber. Enveloped in the white sheet, beneath the hands of that garrulous personage, he would lean back in the chair and look at himself in the glass with misgiving.

“Grey,” he said, with a grimace.

“Slightly,” answered the man. “Entirely due to neglect, to a lack of regard for appearances. Very natural, of course, in men of affairs, but, after all, not very sensible, for it is just such people who ought to be above vulgar prejudice in matters like these. Some folk have very strict ideas about the use of cosmetics; but they never extend them to the teeth, as they logically should. And very disgusted other people would be if they did. No, we are all as old as we feel, but no older, and grey hair can misrepresent a man worse than dyed. You, for instance, signore, have a right to your natural colour. Surely you will permit me to restore what belongs to you?”

“How?” asked Aschenbach.

For answer the talker washed his client’s hair in two waters, one clear and one dark, and lo, it was as black as in the days of his youth. He waved it with the tongs in wide, flat undulations, and stepped back to admire the effect…

—Thomas Mann, Death In Venice

“Her eye discourses; I will answer it…”

cf. Gustav Kalhammer, “View from Café Heinrichhof…” (1911)

Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

Romeo and Juliet

“Yet see in the uncertain sky above your uncertain station– the sign she left you…”

Eastman Kodak Company, “How to make good movies…” (1938)

The many faces of defeat
Invite you home:
They offer you such silence
As has no truck with time.
The face of horrid purpose,
The train of circumstance
There, the door is closed upon;
They shall no more advance.
Yet see in the uncertain sky
Above your uncertain station–
The sign she left you, passing,
Persists in affirmation.

—Ray Smith, The Sign

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Television Commercials (1950s-1960s)

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

–T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (excerpt)

Well, I’m a bum in the sun and I’m having fun
And I know you know I got no special plans
All the bills are paid
I got it made in the shade
And all I need is the woman…

“Johnny, give up women and study mathematics.”

Esther Bubley, A geometry teacher…using a model to explain a figure (1943)

…she at last blushed, adjusted her dress, got up, and, without saying a word, went and seated herself at the window. I went to sit by her side, but she moved, sat down on a couch, got up immediately afterwards, and fanning herself as she walked about the chamber, said to me in a cold and disdainful tone of voice, “Zanetto, lascia le donne, e studia la matematica.” (“Johnny, give up women and study mathematics.”)

—Rousseau, Confessions

The Importance of Being Earnest

cf. U.S. National Archives, Photograph of Guests at Refreshment Table… (detail) (1963)

Jack: You really love me, Gwendolen?

Gwendolen: Passionately!

Jack: Darling! You don’t know how happy you’ve made me.

Gwendolen: My own Ernest!

Jack: But you don’t really mean to say that you couldn’t love me if my name wasn’t Ernest?

Gwendolen: But your name is Ernest.

Jack: Yes, I know it is. But supposing it was something else? Do you mean to say you couldn’t love me then?

Gwendolen: [Glibly.] Ah! that is clearly a metaphysical speculation, and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.

Jack: Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don’t much care about the name of Ernest… I don’t think the name suits me at all.

Gwendolen: It suits you perfectly. It is a divine name. It has a music of its own. It produces vibrations.

Jack: Well, really, Gwendolen, I must say that I think there are lots of other much nicer names. I think Jack, for instance, a charming name.

Gwendolen: Jack?… No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations… I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude. The only really safe name is Ernest.

Jack: Gwendolen, I must get christened at once—I mean we must get married at once. There is no time to be lost…

–Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

“Milly drew the feet of water and…her companion floated off with the sense of rocking violently at her side.”

Popular Mechanics (1960)

Her situation, as such things were called, was on the grand scale; but it still was not that. It was her nature, once for all—a nature that reminded Mrs. Stringham of the term always used in the newspapers about the great new steamers, the inordinate number of “feet of water” they drew; so that if, in your little boat, you had chosen to hover and approach, you had but yourself to thank, when once motion was started, for the way the draught pulled you. Milly drew the feet of water, and odd though it might seem that a lonely girl, who was not robust and who hated sound and show, should stir the stream like a leviathan, her companion floated off with the sense of rocking violently at her side.

—Henry James, The Wings of the Dove

So I’d like to know where you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where you got the notion
To rock the boat,
Don’t rock the boat baby!

“They resolved to persevere in dissipation for the rest of the day…”

cf. LIFE (1967)

One night when Beauclerk and Langton had supped at a tavern in London, and sat till about three in the morning, it came into their heads to go and knock up Johnson, and see if they could prevail on him to join them in a ramble. They rapped violently at the door of his chambers in the Temple, till at last he appeared in his shirt, with his little black wig on the top of his head, instead of a nightcap, and a poker in his hand, imagining, probably, that some ruffians were coming to attack him. When he discovered who they were, and was told their errand, he smiled, and with great good humour agreed to their proposal: ‘What, is it you, you dogs! I’ll have a frisk with you.’ He was soon drest, and they sallied forth together into Covent-Garden…They then repaired to one of the neighbouring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked; while in joyous contempt of sleep, from which he had been roused, he repeated the festive lines,
‘Short, O short then be thy reign,
And give us to the world again!’
They did not stay long, but walked down to the Thames, took a boat, and rowed to Billingsgate. Beauclerk and Johnson were so well pleased with their amusement, that they resolved to persevere in dissipation for the rest of the day…

Boswell’s Life Of Johnson

“Rather, it represented his normal condition…”

cf. Julian Alden Weir, Man Reclining on a Beach (1879) and photograph by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

With Oblomov, lying in bed was neither a necessity (as in the case of an invalid or of a man who stands badly in need of sleep) nor an accident (as in the case of a man who is feeling worn out) nor a gratification (as in the case of a man who is purely lazy). Rather, it represented his normal condition. Whenever he was at home–and almost always he was at home–he would spend his time in lying on his back. Likewise he used but the one room–which was combined to serve both as bedroom, as study, and as reception-room–in which we have just discovered him. True, two other rooms lay at his disposal, but seldom did he look into them save on mornings (which did not comprise by any means every morning) when his old valet happened to be sweeping out the study. The furniture in them stood perennially covered over, and never were the blinds drawn up.

—Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov

I’m so tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you…

“meanwhile my self etcetera lay quietly…”

LIFE (1966)

…meanwhile my
self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et
cetera
(dreaming,
et
cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

—e.e.cummings, my sweet old etcetera (excerpt)

More and more I’m thinkin’ ’bout love…

“You allowed some Chapeaux to measure the calves of your legs…”

“…So I call on you once more to think and reflect about the cause of this unfortunate incident, namely the fact that I voiced my disapproval that you had been so impudent and inconsiderate as to tell your sisters—Nota bene, in my presence—that you allowed some Chapeaux to measure the calves of your legs…But it’s over now—and a mere acknowledgment of this unwise exhibition would have been enough to make everything all right and—if you don’t take it amiss, dearest friend—would still make it all right.—You can see from this how much I love you…”

Letter from Mozart to Constanze Weber (April 29, 1782)

Quote

“You Say Picasso And I Say Pimento” (To Be Sung To The Tune Of “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”)

“You Say Picasso And I Say Pimento”
(To be sung to the tune of “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”)

Things have come to a pretty pass
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that,

Goodness knows what the end will be
Oh I don’t know where I’m at
It looks as if we two will never be one
Something must be done:

You say Albert Einstein and I say Dianne Feinstein,
You say Phil Niekro and I say George Knightley
Einstein, Feinstein, Niekro, Knightley
Let’s call the whole thing off.

You like Polanski and I like Pizarro
You like Ptolemy and I like Palladio
Polanski, Pizarro, Ptolemy, Palladio
Let’s call the whole thing off

But oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart

So if you like Polybius and I like Pythagoras
I’ll read Polybius not theorem Pythagoras
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the whole thing off
Let’s call the whole thing off.

You say Hedy Lamarr and I say Dorothy Lamour
You say Bella Abzug and I say Dan Aykroyd
Lamarr, Lamour, Abzug, Aykroyd
Let’s call the whole thing off,

You like Velázquez and I like Herve Villachaize
You Marquis deSade and I Sade
Velázquez, Villachaize, Claus Von Bulow, Abe Vigoda
Let’s call the whole thing off

But oh if we call the whole thing of then we must part
And oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart

So if you go for Frederick Law Olmsted and I go for Edward James Olmos
I’ll garden Olmsted no Netflix James Olmos
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the calling off off,
Let’s call the whole thing off.

I say Jose Feliciano, and you say Annette Funicello,
I say Chuck Mangioni and you say Guglielmo Marconi
Pavarotti, Pocahontas, Leslie Uggams, that’s my auntie — let’s call the whole thing off!

I like Barbara Bel Geddes and you like Jean Paul Belmondo
I say Herodotus and I get Humperdinck
Bel Geddes, Belmondo, Herodotus, Humperdinck
Go your way, I’ll go mine

So if I go for Schopenhauer and you go for Bill Shoemaker,
So all right no contest we’ll wager Shoemaker
For we know we need each other so we
Better call the calling off off,
Let’s call the whole thing off.