Shakespeare, Compliments to a Lady and the Discreet Casanova

full many a lady I have eyed with best regards“Full many a lady
I have eyed with best regards; and many a time
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues
Have I lik’d several women; never any
With so full a soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow’d,
And put it to the foul.”
(Tempest, act 3, sc. 1)

Tips for Use. You have to enunciate these lines slowly or she may have a hard time to follow. Ferdinand’s is a somewhat long-winded way to say to Miranda, “You are the best.” Still… all women like to be #1 at least for you if you love them.” Which, to think about it rationally, is a way of measuring love by statistics. Unpleasant idea per se (excepting the American psyche), but not at all surprising and supported by unquestioned and well documented historical examples. For example, astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) solved the problem of choosing the right wife among the eleven candidates by much the same method by which he found the orbit of Mars. In truth Kepler’s recorded computations applied to his second marriage. He left no record as to how he handled the selection for his first marriage. The computations in questions are too long to report through this venue. Still, here is a summary.
The first candidate was a widow. No problem in itself for Kepler, but she had two daughters, her fortune was in the hands of a trustee and there was “… also a consideration of health, because, though her body was strong, it was suspect of ill health because of her stinking breath.”
After that Kepler notes in his journal, “I transferred my interest from widows to virgins, but…she (the second candidate),  had been brought up in luxury that was above her station, also she was not of sufficient age to run a household.”
The third was another maiden but she had previously given her word to another man. In the meantime, however, the man in question had had a child from a prostitute, which technically freed the girl from her commitment. Still, it did not come to pass.
Kepler would have married the fourth despite her “tall stature and athletic build” but the fifth, Susanna, came onto the scene and she was the chosen one. Concluding his statistical selection Kepler says (after examining the specifications of the fourth candidate), “…the fifth had the advantage through her love, and her promise to be modest, thrifty, diligent and to love her step-children…”
So much for a different approach to courtship.
It has been said that verbal romantic compliments are the human equivalent of the courtship rituals by some of our non-human fellow creatures of this planet. For verification you may search for the courtship manners of the albatross and if they cannot put you in a good mood I don’t know what will.

All entries on this site are derived from the book “Your Daily Shakespeare”. It contains 1390 pages identifying over 10,000 daily situations. Each situation directs you to one or more Shakespearean repartees, comments, and answers. Repartees, comments, and answers that will get you on the stage or at least out of the water – besides making you a regular winner of verbal contests. “Your Daily Shakespeare” has been described as the most unusual, useful and unique book of Shakespearean quotations. Nothing similar exists or has ever existed.
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In the play. Ferdinand is deeply in love with Miranda and explains why.

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