May. 2nd, 2007 03:45 pm
annundriel: (Echo (ats))
[personal profile] annundriel
"One way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy." - Gustave Flaubert

We're just starting Madame Bovary in 19th Century French Novel. Today was (mostly) devoted to Flaubert background. We're supposed to respond to that quote by Monday.

Today in Donne we read and discussed the Elegy "Sappho to Philaenis," which I'm going to have to write out here because I like it so much. Part of the discussion had to do with the assumption that the poem is about two women and George Klawitter's argument that there's an ambiguity in the text because of the lack of definite pronouns and it could be about two men. Part of his argument being that the titles of Donne's poems aren't actually his titles. Someone else decided to call this "Sappho to Philaenis," so that's completely unhelpful.

Any way you read it, I think it's lovely.

"Sappho to Philaenis"

Where is that holy fire, which verse is said
To have, is that enchanting force decay'd?
Verse that draws nature's works, from nature's law,
Thee, her best work, to her work cannot draw.
Have my tears quench'd my old poetic fire?
Why quench'd they not as well that of desire?
Thoughts, my mind's creatures, often are with thee,
But I, their maker, want their liberty;
Only thine image, in my heart, doth sit,
But that is wax, and fires environ it.
My fires have driven, thine have drawn it hence;
And I am rob'd of picture, heart, and sense.
Dwells with me still mine irksome memory,
Which, both to keep, and lose grieves equally.
That tells me'how fair thou art: Thou art so fair,
As gods, when gods to thee I do compare,
Are grac'd thereby; and to make blind men see,
What things gods are, I say they'are like to thee.
For, if we justly call each silly man
A little world, what shall we call thee then?
Thou art not soft, and clear, and straight, and fair,
As down, as stars, cedars, and lilies are,
But thy right hand, and cheek, and eye only
Are like thy other hand, and cheek, and eye.
Such was my Phao awhile, but shall be never,
As thou, wast, art, and, oh, may'st be ever.
Here lovers swear in their idolatry,
That I am such; but grief discolors me.
And yet I grieve the less, lest grief remove
My beauty, and make me'unworthy of they love.
Plays some soft boy with thee, Oh there wants yet
A mutual feeling, which should sweeten it.
His chin, a thorny hairy unevenness
Doth threaten, and some daily change possess.
Thy body is a natural paradise,
In whose self, unmanur'd, all pleasure lies,
Nor needs perfection; why should'st thou then
Admit the tillage of a harsh rough man?
Men leave behind them that which their sin shows,
And are, as thieves trac'd, which rob when it snows.
But of our dalliance no more signs there are,
Than fishes leave in streams, or birds in air.
And between us all sweetness may be had;
All, all that nature yields, or art can add.
My two lips, eyes, thighs, differ from thy two,
But so, as thine from one another do:
And, oh, no more; the likeness being such,
Why should they not alike in all parts touch?
Hand to strange hand, lip to lip none denies;
Why should they breast to breast, or thighs to thighs?
Likeness begets such strange flattery,
That touching my self all seems done to thee.
My self I'embrace, and mine own hands I kiss,
And amorously thank my self for this.
Me, in my glass, I call thee; but alas,
When I would kiss, tears dim mine eyes, and glass.
O cure this loving madness and restore
Me to me; thee my half, my all, my more.
So may thy cheeks' red outwear scarlet dye,
And their white, whiteness of the galaxy,
So may thy mighty amazing beauty move
Envy'in all women, and in all men love,
And so be change and sickness far from thee,
As thou by coming near, keep'st them from me.

I find the mood icon kind of funny. John has lasers in his eyes!


annundriel: (Default)

February 2013


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