“And let me be a slave, to achieve that maid
Whose sudden sight hath thrall’d my wounded eye.”
(Taming Of the Shrew, act 1, sc. 1)
Comments. Recent scientific research (how I like this) has shown two explanations for love at first sight and related data. One, it takes an average of 0.13 seconds to determine the attractiveness of a person. And two, the first few minutes of a relationship have shown to be predictive of the relationship’s future success. This outweighs factors such as, for example, what two people have in common.
Plato gives a more intriguing explanation. Once upon a time rather than men and women there were curious compact versions incorporating both. But the original double-creatures were subsequently split into two. After which the one seeks the missing other. Therefore “… when [a lover] … is fortunate enough to meet his other half, they are both so instantly filled with affection, friendship and with love, that they cannot bear to let each other out of sight for a single instant.”
Poetry describes love at first sight more frequently in men than women. But love at first sight can be dangerous, as explained for example in the Elegy of Lady Fiammetta by Boccaccio. In the long elegy Fiammetta explains the distress she experienced when Panfilo, object of her love at first sight, leaves Naples to return to his other lover in Florence. The arrows of love, so frequently found even in Hallmarks Valentine’s cards are actually an invention of the French Troubadours, who roamed Provence in the 11th & 12th century with their guitars (or rather lyres) entertaining sundry lonesome and bored ladies in their respective medieval castles.
Tips for Use. “… a maid whose sudden sight hath thralled my wounded eye” could be a somewhat heavy but not inelegant address to a lady whom you find attractive.
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In the Play. Lucentio has fallen in love with Bianca and is devising a scheme to get to her. Part of the scheme is to exchange roles between himself and his servant Tranio. ‘To thrall’=’To enslave’.
Image source: https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/rwb/www/teaching/engl209/outlines/outline4b.html