Union Jack

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   Sonnet 128

Read by Claire Marchionne
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a bright, racy, intelligent book - Terry Eagleton

Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess: Shakespeare's affections were centred on a lady cultivated enough to play the virginals. The jacks are pieces of wood attached to the plectra which pluck the strings. The accomplishment suggests the lady was perhaps a lady of the court or else a high class courtesan equipped with geisha skills.

A Lady Seated at a Virginal<br>by Vermeer
A Lady Seated at a Virginal
by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)
How oft when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state 
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips.
  Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
  Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

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