Don’t you hate it when you find that some line that you love, from a poem, a book or a movie, is not actually the real line at all? As much as we admit that we make mistakes or forget things, it can still come as a shock to face up to the flat contradiction between the thing we’re sure of, and the thing that actually is.
Here’s my most recent example: In Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It, the lead character, Rosalind, falls in love with a young wrestler, Orlando, but soon afterward has to disguise herself as a young man, escape the court of the wicked duke, and flee to the relative safety of the forest. (The story line provides some justification for the disguise, but as men played all the women’s parts in Shakespeare’s time, there was certainly a practical reason for the choice to add to any plot-related details.)
It turns out that Orlando has fled to the forest, too. What is Rosalind going to do about her disguise? She learns that Orlando is also in love with her, so she presents herself to him as the youth Ganymede, and says that he can practice wooing her, and she’ll stand in for Rosalind.
At one point in their conversation, Rosalind says,
will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on disposition; and
ask me what you will, I will grant it.
Then love me, Rosalind.
Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays, and all.
I can’t tell you why the last line stuck in my head–or rather, why there’s a line in my head, firmly stuck, that turns out not to be the line that Shakespeare wrote. For decades, I have thought of that line as, “Yes, faith, will I, Wednesdays and Saturdays and all.” It doesn’t make tons of sense, but neither does the original, really.
I’ve been writing this blog for nearly five years, and for the last four I’ve been fairly consistent in publishing twice a week, mostly Wednesdays and Saturdays. It makes sense for my own schedule (and I hope for yours). But I’ve also felt a bit of satisfaction that it matched up with that line I love, Wednesdays and Saturdays and all.
Except that I had the line wrong all along!
I’m not going to start publishing Fridays and Saturdays (and all)–that wouldn’t make any sense. But I’ll have to let the line go, and cling to my many other favorite lines, at least until I make my next discovery of how I’ve gotten another one wrong.