Here’s another slightly different poem for today’s post. Sometimes, I get a little wacky. (If you’ve read other posts on this site, I think I’ve already proven that.) The asterisk in the title and the comment that follows the asterisk explain that my poem is a parody of the opening speech from William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night.
As a poet, I study the works of great poets. Some years back, I decided to challenge myself with Shakespeare and chose this opening soliloquy from the Twelfth Night comedy: If Music Be the Food of Love. (This speech has also been delivered as a stand-alone piece.) I’ve reproduced the soliloquy below to give you a sense of the original before you read my parody.
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.
Now, my parody.
Comparing the two works, you’ll notice I “borrowed” some phrases at the middle. This was (I felt) permissible to honor the Bard and acknowledge his original work.
In honing my craft, I think exercises like this are helpful, though I wouldn’t recommend it as a regular practice. (Poets should, in my view, develop their own unique styles.)
It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Within that context, who’s the poet you’d most want to model your poetry after?