Love Poem by William Shakespeare


Rating: 3.2

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.

Erika Martinez 07 May 2009

I luv dis poem yup yup! :)

25 17 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 29 February 2016

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.

34 1 Reply
Fawad Fawad 31 January 2024

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Fabrizio Frosini 29 February 2016

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.

33 0 Reply
Rob Lamberton 04 April 2024

Love…"how nourished? "

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Sylvia Frances Chan 04 April 2024

Most deserving as The Classic Poem Of The Day, hooray! Myriad Stars, I say

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Sylvia Frances Chan 04 April 2024

Most exceptional poem by William Shakespeare I ever read, I have got more than I ever had, Shakespeare is all One Thing, it says Blinq-blinq-blinq, never a sad thing, I sing oft in the highest: Ding Dong Bell, Ding Dong Bell Rings, never one sad thing! 5 Stars fullest

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Sylvia Frances Chan 07 July 2022

Super best poem typical of William Shajespeares with hs layers of symbolism/metaphors 5 Stars TOP score and myriad more!

2 1 Reply
Sylvia Frances Chan 04 April 2024

Still a Super response after all those years, still a Super poem, after all these years

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jacqueline cruz 03 June 2022

i really admire poem espcially comes to shakespeare.🥰🥰🥰

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