William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Love - Poem by William Shakespeare

TELL me where is Fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
   Reply, reply.
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and Fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
   Let us all ring Fancy's knell:
   I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell.
All. Ding, dong, bell.

Comments about Love by William Shakespeare

  • Indira Renganathan (1/10/2017 5:48:00 AM)

    Fascinating 'Fancy' poem....second stanza is thought provoking.....superb (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (11/19/2016 10:40:00 PM)

    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/29/2016 4:53:00 AM)

    from 'The Merchant of Venice' - Act 3, Scene 2

    Under the terms of her father’s will, Portia must marry the man who selects correctly from among three chests or caskets- one each of gold, silver, and lead. At this point in the play, two suitors have already chosen incorrectly, and Portia begs Bassanio to postpone choosing from among the caskets, for according to the rules of the lottery, he must leave immediately if he fails, and she has fallen in love with him. Bassanio, however, decides to accept the challenge, as he wants to marry her. He rejects the gold and silver caskets and opts for the casket of lead. Inside, he finds Portia’s picture and a written message confirming that he has won her father’s consent. This song is not performed by any character in particular; presumably, a household servant of Portia’s or some other bystanders may perform the song. The words, of course, are supposed to provide Bassanio with clues to the correct answer, as they all rhyme with the word ’lead’. This song is an excellent example of Shakespeare’s use of music to depict the passage of time on stage and also reinforces one of the main themes of the play, appearance versus reality. The music in this scene heightens the dramatic tension, making the decision-making process seem longer than it actually is, but keeping the audience’s attention engaged while most of the real ’action’ takes place in Bassanio’s head and the minds of the audience.
    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/29/2016 4:52:00 AM)

    from 'The Merchant of Venice' - Act 3, Scene 2

    Like many of Shakepspeare’s songs, this lyric is romantic and charming on the surface, but contains a bitter and ironic subtext. The word fancy in this case, means love, but with the connotation of a superficial attraction or infatuation, in the sense of taking a fancy to someone or something. The song poses a philosophical question: where does love (fancy) come from? Is it emotional (in the heart) or is it intellectual (in the head) . The song answers the question, saying that fancy begins in the eyes- not the heart or the head. However, it also dies there. The word lie has a double meaning, suggesting both that fancy lies in its cradle (the eyes) but that it can also lie i.e. be deceiving, because it is based on outward beauty/appearance, rather than any inner qualities. The song extends the question further, asking of the listener: once people fall in love, how is that love sustained? (how nourished?) . The song offers few answers, but it does comment on the ephemeral, temporary nature of romantic love, stating that fancy dies/In the cradle where it lies. The word knell refers specifically to a bell tolled at a funeral, indicating the death of a person. In this case, the person being mourned is fancy personified; the bell is being rung for the death of love.
    (Report) Reply

    Julian Klume (2/5/2017 2:07:00 PM)

    Tell me where is fancy bred.
    Or in the heart or in the head?
    How begot, how nourishèd?

  • Fabrizio Frosini (2/29/2016 4:49:00 AM)

    from 'The Merchant of Venice' - Act 3, Scene 2

    Tell me where is fancy bred.
    Or in the heart or in the head?
    How begot, how nourishèd?

    Reply, reply.

    It is engendered in the eyes,
    With gazing fed, and fancy dies
    In the cradle where it lies.
    Let us all ring fancy’s knell
    I’ll begin it.—Ding, dong, bell.

    Ding, dong, bell.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/4/2016 10:40:00 AM)

    Beautiful melodious rhyme of the short poem is enchanting. Thanks for sharing it. (Report) Reply

  • (12/25/2015 1:54:00 PM)

    Love ❤ it. (Report) Reply

  • (12/25/2015 1:48:00 PM)

    Truthful (Report) Reply

  • (12/25/2015 1:46:00 PM)

    Mysterious (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani (4/26/2014 4:56:00 AM)

    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out (Report) Reply

  • Captain Herbert Poetry (12/1/2013 8:33:00 AM)

    Smooth rhyme with gentle passion (Report) Reply

  • (11/18/2013 9:13:00 PM)

    I love this rhyme..his writing style is very nice! :) (Report) Reply

  • (5/7/2009 2:54:00 AM)

    I luv dis poem yup yup! :) (Report) Reply

  • (6/3/2008 10:32:00 PM)

    Fancy is bred in the heart Mr Shakespeare. (Report) Reply

  • (5/27/2005 6:40:00 PM)

    i really like this 'love' Poem by William Shakespear. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003

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