Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sweets to the sweet
Queen: [Scattering flowers] Sweets to the sweet, farewell!
I hop'd thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife:
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.
--- HAMLET, Act 5, Scene 1; the queen to the dead Ophelia.
Imagine my dismay when I learned in high school that the phrase "sweets to the sweet" didn't carry the romantic notion I thought it did. First, it referred not to chocolates, but to flowers; and second, well, there was a grave in the picture, not a lovely garden or boudoir. It's about a suicide, not a betrothal.
Maybe that's why I don't use the word very often, unless I'm being sarcastic.
If you hear me say, "Oh, how sweet," I really mean something is cloying and unbearably saccharine.
For GenY, sweet means "good deal" or "ok, I'm there." It's hard to keep up, though, and that may have changed since I asked my GenY nieces and nephews last week.
As far as I'm concerned, the only really sweet things are in bakeries. Or at miniatures shows such as the one I attended this weekend. Here's a table full of half-inch pies.
Now that's sweet.
I hate to ruin a perfectly fine word, but it's not my fault, it's Shakespeare's.
But that doesn't mean there's no sweet contest here! You can win a sweet treat by commenting on what the word means to you!