I shared this painting by Winslow Homer on Facebook the other day with the word Romantic ….. tagged on and was then a bit taken aback when a friend commented: From a Romantic.
All sorts of things came shooting into my mind, including sociological readings where the point is made that in some societies romantic love is perceived as a form of insanity. And what about match-making in the Ireland of not too long ago and even of today in the likes of Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare.
Is romance all about heart ruling head, I ask. But there again, we talk of ‘heady’ days of falling in love.
I have to bear in mind, too, that I’m the person who identified the greatest love poem of them all, here on this blog, as being this one from W.B. Yeats:
When You Are Old
WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars
Insane or otherwise, I think it will matter hugely to me when I am old and grey to know that at least one man loved the pilgrim soul in me.
Will it matter to you, dear friends, or where do you stand, sit, lie on the question of romance and insanity?