Shakespeare’s Answer to the Fatidical Question, “How Much Do You Love Me?”

i love you more than words can witness or your thoughts can guess “And I am one that loves Bianca more
Than words can witness, or your thoughts can guess.”
(Taming Of the Shrew, act 2, sc.1)

Tips for use. Answer to ‘How much do you love me?’ Change ‘Bianca’ to the name of the applicable lady. Shakespeare offers more than 20 ways to answer this fatidic and persistent question.
Robert Burton in his ‘Anatomy of Melancholy” dedicates an entire book to the analysis and diagnosis of love sickness, prognosis and cure. Not excluding the question whether love can be quantified as it seems to be implied in the question of today’s entry. He begins as follows, “There will not be wanting, I presume, one or other that will much discommend some parts of this treatise of love melancholy, and object (which Erasmus in his preface to Sir Thomas More suspects of his) that it is too light for a divine, too comical  a subject to speak of love symptoms, too fantastical, and it alone for a wanton poet, a feeling young lovesick gallant, and an effeminate courtier, or some such idle person… And it is true they say: for by the naughtiness of men it is so come to pass, as Caussinus observes, “ut castis auribus vox amoris suspecta sit, et invisa”, the very name of love is odious to chaster ears…” I wonder what Burton would write today on the subject!
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In the play. Tranio, one of Bianca’s competing suitors, claims he loves her most of all..

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