Tips for use. Words of love hang on a very thin thread from which it is easy to fall from the poetic to the rhetorical, the exaggerated and the ridiculous. The general rule is, thread carefully. The first line “you have bereft me of all words” is a time-gainer when, after being told something pleasant, you don’t know or you are looking for what to say. This could happen in any encounter or during a presentation, debate or similar. But returning to the subject of the quote, love can be a source of happiness or melancholy. To cure which (melancholy), Robert Burton wrote his monumental Anatomy of Melancholy, a book of which is appropriately dedicated to love and the melancholy thereof. James Granger (1723-1776) in his History of England wrote, “He (Robert Burton) composed his book with a view of relieving his own melancholy, but increased it to such a degree, that nothing could afterwards make him laugh.”
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In the play. Bassanio has just won Portia’s hand by solving a riddle. Portia gives him a ring accompanied by impassioned words of love.
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