Shakespeare on Love, Money and Valentine’s Day

't is deepest winter in Lord Timon's purse, That is, one may reach deep enough, and yet find little“’t is deepest winter in Lord Timon’s purse;
That is, one may reach deep enough, and yet
Find little”.

(Timon of Athens, act 3, sc. 4)

Comment.  Admitting straitsness of means does not imply necessarily a loss in your romantic credit rating. The key is to admit to the condition but elegantly. This applies especially in America where even the poor cannot or will not claim to be so. It was Steinbeck who explained why socialism has had such difficulties here. “Socialism never took root in America because the poor there see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
The situation is especially critical if you are poor and she is rich. A stylish poor can often compete successfully against an uncouth rich. An elegant statement or explanation (of your financial conditions) suggests a variability of situation, a temporary reversal attributable more to chance than design, as per Steinbeck.
Historically, there have been times where obstacles to a relationship were due to her financial conditions more than his. In England in 1477, for example, Margery Brews was in love with John Paston, her cousin and wanted to marry him. But it seems that he would only do so if her father would agree to a specific money value on her dowry.
She writes to him as follows around Valentine day and she calls him ‘Valentine’ in the spirit of the occasion.
Right worshipful and well-beloved Valentine, in my most humble wise I recommend me unto you etc. etc.
And if ye come, and the matter take no effect, then should I be much more sorry and full of heaviness…and I let you plainly understand that my father will no more money part withal in that behalf, but 100 and 50 marks, which is right far from the accomplishment of your desire. Wherefore, if that ye could be content with that good and my poor person, I would be the merriest maiden on ground.”

Suggestion for use.  If the admission applies to you, change ‘Lord Timon’ to your name.

In the play. Philotus, servant of a Timon’s creditors who gather at his house. Philotus comments on Timon’s  financial condition.

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