Shakespeare on desire as muse
December 20, 2015 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Brief Shakespeare quotation on the idea of desire or love as muse / as source of creative fire?

Context: I'm wondering if there's any brief quotation that could sit well in the 2nd position below -- tying together the wish for a muse of fire with the idea that one's bounty (one's love or desire) can be the source of that fire.

1. "O for a muse of fire, that would ascend / the brightest heaven of invention"
2. _____
3. "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, / my love as deep; the more I give to thee, / the more I have, for both are infinite"
posted by kalapierson to Writing & Language (4 answers total)
Sonnet 38 has
"How can my Muse want subject to invent,
While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?"

I found a few more possibilities in the sonnets, here's a concordance you can use to search, if that helps you.
posted by Mchelly at 12:17 PM on December 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Berowne's entire speech from Love's Labour's Lost IV.iii is about that. Pick your quote:
[...]But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain;
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye;
A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind;
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd:
Love's feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockl'd snails;
Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:
For valour, is not Love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair:
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were temper'd with Love's sighs;
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world:
Else none at all in aught proves excellent.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:31 PM on December 20, 2015

I passed this along to a theatre expert who suggests :

More likely opening lines of sonnet 21:

So is it not with me as with that Muse
Stirr’d by a painted beauty to his verse...

(I can't recreate the formatting he offered)
posted by bilabial at 3:49 PM on December 20, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you for these! I couldn't find anything abstract enough to use in spot 2, but in context I found a way to join 1 and 3 in another way.

Especially appreciate the link to the concordance, which I'm sure I'll use for other questions like this.
posted by kalapierson at 5:38 PM on December 31, 2015

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