Study Guide

Anne Hathaway Love

By Carol Ann Duffy

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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?

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