Study Guide

Anne Hathaway Quotes

  • Love

    The bed we loved in was a spinning world
    of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
    where we would dive for pearls. […] (1-3)

    Anne addresses the haters right away by explaining the meaning of Shakespeare's will. That second best bed was "the bed [they] loved in," and it was a magical and romantic place.

    […] My lover's words
    were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
    on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
    to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
    a verb dancing in the centre of a noun. (3-7)

    Anne uses all kinds of poetry-related words to describe their sex life. Their bodies rhyme and even echo each other. Shakespeare's very words are like shooting stars which kiss Anne's lips. There's clearly a lot of passion in this relationship.

    […] Romance
    and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste. (9-10)

    While other people get to experience Shakespeare through his poems and plays, Anne gets the man himself. She gets to touch, smell, and taste Shakespeare. Mmm, delicious.

    In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
    dribbling their prose. […] (11-12)

    Anne says here that she and Shakespeare allowed their house guests to sleep in the best bed. So the guests may have the better bed, but what happens in the bed is a different story. While she and her husband have poetry, romance, and drama, the guests have boring ol' prose. We think she's suggesting that she and Shakespeare had a pretty good sex life.

    […] My living laughing love -
    I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
    as he held me upon that next best bed. (12-14)

    Even though Shakespeare is dead, Anne imagines that he's still alive. She holds him in his memory, just like he used to lovingly hold her in bed. Sweet and sad, isn't it?

  • Literature and Writing

    […] My lover's words
    were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
    on these lips; […] (3-5)

    This is a crazy double metaphor. Shakespeare's words are like shooting stars, and those shooting stars are like kisses on Anne's lips. Shakespeare's words are so powerful that they materialize into real tangible kisses, which Anne can feel. Intense!

    […] my body now a softer rhyme
    to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
    a verb dancing in the centre of a noun. (5-7)

    Anne describes she and her husband's passion in terms of poetic devices: rhymes, echoes, assonance, verbs, nouns. It's like Shakespeare's writing comes alive.

    Some nights, I dreamed he'd written me, the bed
    a page beneath his writer's hands. Romance
    and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste. (8-10)

    Here, Anne seems to suggest that she's a character in one of Shakespeare's plays. Still, she's pretty lucky. Though other people only get to experience Shakespeare's words by reading his poems or seeing his plays, she gets the full-on sensory experience.

    In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
    dribbling their prose. […] (11-12)

    The guests get to sleep in the best bed, but what happens in that bed is only prose. Over in the second best bed, Anne and Shakespeare have poetry, romance, drama. It sounds like the second best bed is the place to be

  • Truth

    'Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed ...'
    (from Shakespeare's will) (epigraph)

    The poem begins with the facts. In his will, Shakespeare left his wife his second best bed. Most people interpret this to mean that Shakespeare didn't really love his wife, but Duffy will go on to share a different point of view.

    The bed we loved in was a spinning world
    of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
    where we would dive for pearls. […] (1-3)

    Right from the beginning of the poem, Duffy presents us with the idea that there really was a lot of love between Anne Hathaway and Shakespeare. The second best bed is not some broken-down piece of furniture; it's "the bed [they] loved in."

    In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
    dribbling their prose. […] (11-12)

    The house guests who sleep in the best bed are boring, "dribbling their prose." Compare this to the magical and romantic poetry that Anne and Shakespeare create in the second best bed.

    I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
    as he held me upon that next best bed. (13-14)

    This final couplet is a strong statement in favor of their love. Anne says that she holds onto Shakespeare's memory, just as he once held her in that second best bed. The intense rhyme suggests that this is the final word on the issue (at least from Duffy!).