Love (4): The Festival of Love



Sandro Botticelli: The Birth of Venus – detail of the Winds




In an attempt to discuss the various sides this feeling , each summer London’s Southbank Centre hosts a Festival of Love, to explore its many different nuances.

In 2014 actors and poets from all over the world read some of the greatest love poems of the last 50 years, illustrating seven kinds of love, borrowed from the Ancient Greeks: the four above mentioned (Agape , Eros, Philia and Storge) , plus Pragma (love which endures); Philautia (self-respect); and Ludus (flirting, playful affection).



Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
The small rain down can rain.
Christ, if my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again.


This is an early 16th-century song whose tune was used as the basis of Masses by some English composers. The tune first appears with words in 1530, but the lyrics may be a few hundred years older (‘Middle English’) and the words a fragment of medieval poetry.
It expresses longing for a change in season, a rainy season that will be the time when the speaker can reunite with his/her love. The desire not to listen to strangers’ rain falling on a stranger’s roof rings as true today as it did 500 years ago.

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