Spenser’s Sonnet 79

“Men call you fayre, and you doe credit it,
For that your selfe ye dayly such doe see:
But the trew fayre, that is the gentle wit,
And vertuous mind, is much more praysd of me.
For all the rest, how ever fayre it be,
Shall turne to nought and loose that glorious hew:
But onely that is permanent and free
From frayle corruption, that doth flesh ensew.
That is true beautie:  that doth argue you
To be divine and borne of heavenly seed:
Deriv’d from the fayre Spirit, from whom al true
And perfect beauty did at first proceed.
He onely fayre, and what he fayre hath made:
All other fayre, lyke flowres, untymely fade.”

Let’s be realistic:  society is obsessed with physical beauty.  Although great strides have been made to praise all body types instead of just the few that are commonly accepted as the “ideal body type,” we still do focus on appearances.

When was the last time that someone complimented you for your beautiful mind – your stunning thoughts and glorious opinions?  These are what outshine the physical.  Why?  Because they outlast the physical.  Though I’m only twenty-two with only laugh lines when I smile widely, I know that one day I will be eighty-two with a wrinkle for each story of my life that I have to tell.

I’m not saying that physical appearances should be disregarded; that’s unrealistic.  What I’m saying is that we should base our love and friendship around beauty of the mind and soul.

I’m engaged to someone who tells me that I have a beautiful way of thinking and who laughs with me and talks with me about anything and everything.  Our relationship is not based on the looks of the other.  (Even if that is what originally did attract us to each other, we lasted because we fell in love with the other’s mind.)

While reading Edmund Spenser’s Sonnet 79, I felt the meaning.  I’m not usually drawn to poetry, but this is simply a description of love in its truest and purest form.  To tell a person that you’ll love their mind after their physical beauty withers with age is the most beautiful compliment that there is.


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