SeeStan ChapLee

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 66-126

by Nivalis70 (website)

The planet had been put
the sky had been set
the six days were done
as a true masterpiece
[70] when Elohim halted
and precisely on Saturday
Ho On was on vacation.
He’d make no more
just save the existent
and put on Providence.
But He felt unsatisfied:
He could not be contented
with the sky, tho splendid
with satellites and stars
[80] He dropped astronomy
He shunned the sun
He dismissed the moon
and as for planet Earth
He recovered no relax
in spite of its stillness.
Where could the Creator
of clockworks calm down?
Only never-ending things
won’t adequately be quit
[90] the more so as motions
suppose a steady point.
The sky doesn’t stop
rolling around two poles
but it would not wheel
without a blocked core,
that promoted the myth of
Atlas on whose shoulders
the sky firmly flowed.
All wandering animals
[100] couldn’t climb or run
without a steady section,
the main end of muscles
providing the pivot.
So, it fitted the First Mover
to be motionless, moreover
to stop in something firm
but that was not Terra:
What other object then?
what’s steadier than Earth?
[110] Man it is, God’s goal
as the end of energy
(basically not braking but
He did cease creating).
Man is harder than Arda
because he really reflects
the Numen and he needs
to let his frailty fall so
as to enjoy eternity in
the cinematic Kingdom.
[120] Thus He also hinted
at his own doom of death
and foretold from Day 7
that before his suffering
Christ who sarx egéneto
would rest, like the rest,
in restorative sleep.

(to be continued on Jan. 28)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (14)

Act IV
Scene iii

[Enter JULIET and NURSE.]
the Nurse's silence is deafening

Lines 4-5  . . . my state,
Which . . . is cross and full of sin
another Christological hint, conveyed by a pun ("cross"), with reference to Juliet; see e.g. Colossians 2.13-14

Lines 30 ff  How, if, when I am laid into the tomb,
I wake before the time . . .
this impressive monolog of Juliet will inspire many episodes in Edgar A. Poe's works

Scene iv

Line 3  . . . The second cock hath crow'd
see Mark 14.72

Line 6  . . . Go, you cot-quean, go
"This is a notable example of the Nurse's frankness, and it shows how much freedom she is given" (the note in the Collins Classics edition), maybe because she and Capulet had been lovers? See also Capulet's cry in line 24: "Nurse! Wife!" -- the Nurse first.

Scene v

Line 28  Death lies on her . . .
Lines 35-6  O son, the night before thy wedding day
Hath Death lain with thy wife . . .
Italian, Spanish-speaking readers, etc., must remember that in English imagination "Death" is considered a male character, so that these metaphors have an explicit sexual meaning

Line 55  Beguil'd, divorced, wronged, spited, slain!
learning about Juliet's death, Count Paris does not think about her, but himself; so does Capulet in line 59 

Lines 94-5  The heavens do lour upon you for some ill;
Move them no more by crossing their high will
Friar Lawrence knows that Juliet's death is a fake news story, but this harsh remark seems to burst out of his subconscious, and forewarns us of the impending doom that will be the actual end. Immediately afterward, a humorous dialog between the musicians creates a pause that helps the audience digest the sad events while letting them 'breathe' a little, before the sadder events to come.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Neapolitan in Turin, and Paris

A Wilde boy

Quite soon -- more or less, when the Notes on Romeo and Juliet are over -- a new weekly column will start: "Turin-Paris," dealing with G. B. Marino's life and works before Adone (first draft 1616, final version 1623), that is, the time period between 1609 and 1617. We will, first of all, translate and comment passages from the Dicerie sacre (Sacred Orations) that he wrote in Turin, NW Italy, at the court of the Savoy Dukes: the speech of thanks when he was appointed a Knight of the Order of Saint Maurice, and two essays that supported the cultural and religious policy of the Savoys, especially with reference to the Sindone, the Holy Shroud.

He would then move to France in order to escape the clutches of the Pope, who insistently asked for a meeting with Marino so as to have an opportunity to talk about some debatable aspects in his works. According to some scholars, indeed, the puzzling fact that Marino had been jailed in Turin was not caused by some -- hard to believe -- conflict with Duke Charles Emmanuel, but was a stratagem that aimed at preventing an abduction to Rome. Anyway, once in Paris, Marino wrote a pamphlet called Sferza, "Whip," in defense of King Louis XIII against the Huguenot leaders. An interesting, however party, insight into the situation of Europe on the eve of the bloody, historically crucial Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

G. B. Marino keeps disturbing

[GBM] "That was the true Light"

from Bronzino

Cyprus, 1000 BC or so, Midsummer. Immediately after bumping into the sleeping Adonis, Venus calls her son, Love, to her. Throughout the poem -- Marino's Adone -- Love shifts from one shape to another, with basically three options: a baby Cupid, a lustful teenager (like here), and a cosmic power. Line 4 includes a cutting remark against Apollo, who acts as Venus' self-righteous adversary in the poem. The myth of Love and Psyche will be developed in canto 4.


With such great and clear splendor his
beautiful heavenly body always shines
that any other light loses, and would
(Sun not excluded) look weak and feeble.
No wonder if Psyche, with her eyes still
closed by sleep, felt her heart burn, and
in comparison with that eternal light,     see John 1.9
saw the golden lamp flicker and fade.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 1-65

The "Hero of Two Worlds"

Songday 7

Rome when its mega-empire
was spread West to East
and to Libya and England,
to its imperialist people
showed two theaters together
that gyrated and joined
so the spectators on either
side, hidden to each other,
when the stands united
[10] making one ring
could watch each other
and seeing those circles
full of sitting citizens
they were in awe before
that technological trick.
This other swivel theater
of ours, made by Adonai
as his counter-Colosseum
contains in one sphere
[20] two huge hemispheres
invisible to each other
and the opposite peoples
cannot observe each other:
they both believed that
in the other half of Earth
all lands were wilderness
if not wholly underwater.
The stars turn and turn
but the varying scenery
[30] will never reveal to us
our antipodal brothers
or show them our homes
along these sort of stairs
with relative latitudes.
What proves impossible
to turning constellations
is fulfilled by Thought
turning swiftly in itself
like perpetual motion:
[40] It flies over the veil
of geography, and in God
admires a real-size map
so that the lands lessen
in the eyes of the spirit
and all peoples appear.
On the cosmic stands
a mystical pilgrim can
see Scandinavia as well
as Africa and Far East,
[50] the Great Bear about
Arcturus and, together,
the opposite Pole’s stars;
not because the globe
shrinks but inside Shaddai
the Emanation expands
and surveys the universe.
This saw Saint Benedict—
who left a luminous path
in the sky by passing away—
[60] following his thoughts.
Such a soul will search
the position of Paradise
in some strange climate
with extraordinary trees
where Adam was destined.

(to be continued on Jan. 14)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (13)

Act IV
Scene i 

Lines 6-7  Immoderately she weeps for Tybalt's death,
And therefore have I little talk'd of love
actually, Paris has never talked of love, not even before Tybalt's death

Line 75  That cop'st with death himself to scape from it
Friar Lawrence likens Juliet to Christ, see e.g. the Easter hymn of the Catholic Church, Victimae paschali laudes: "Mors et vita duello / conflixere mirando." Juliet herself in line 84 asks for a "new-made grave" like the one in which Jesus was laid (John 19.41). 

Line 110  In thy best robes, uncovered on the bier
"uncovered": a providential family custom -- not so in E. A. Poe's House of Usher

Scene ii

Line 15  See where she comes from shrift with merry look
Juliet may look merry because of the Friar's plan; but, more probably, the guilty Nurse tries to deceive herself with false hopes

Line 46-7  . . .  My heart is wondrous light
Since this same wayward girl is so reclaim'd
a parallel, according to Capulet; and a sad parody, from Shakespeare's viewpoint, of the parable of the lost son (Luke 15.32)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

[GC] You better not make him angry

Milton's Satan
by Richard Westall

After demolishing the gates by hurling a huge rock, Argantes attacks the Christian fort in Jaffa, creating mayhem. In Gerusalemme Conquistata Tasso stresses his "devilish" look and power -- therefore making him like Rodomonte in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, who, in fact, inspired John Milton for his Satan. The last line reworks Dante's description of Charon (Inferno 3.109) in a sort of technological version.

[17: 133.3 to 134.2]

. . .
and the knight, looking like horrid night
in his own dark, gloomy countenance—
or, like you in its shadows in the depths—     you = devils, its = night's
now swiftly ran forward threatening
and tossed his spear; nothing stopping him,
he shone in his frightening weapons.
The steel did flame in fierce flashes,
with dark sparks Argantes' eyes blazed     oxymoron
. . .

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

[GBM] The spark of love

Venus and Adonis by A. Canova

Adonis falls asleep in the small valley ("it" below, in line 1, refers to a hill). And Venus bumps into him. The episode reverses the scene, frequent in art, in which a satyr, etc., admires Venus or another beautiful woman asleep. As it has been told much time ago, the whole love affair between Venus and Adonis is caused by Love/Cupid's thirst for revenge after having been spanked by his mother. The last line has a general, symbolical meaning insofar as the arrow will actually wound Venus no sooner than in stanza 43.


At the foot of it, Chloris has her gardens;     a nymph
here the goddess of Love often returns
to gather the wet and dewy herbs to     odori (herbs) like in some dialects
give lukewarm baths to her white feet.
And lo! on a bridal bed of flowers
she—arriving by chance—sees the boy.
But, as she turns her eyes toward Adonis,
cruel Love turns his arrow toward her.

(to be continued after the Christmas holidays)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1804-1874

by ilTM + Selkis

He, again: “I gave you
angiospermous plants
self-sown by seeds
which will nourish you
solidly with sparrows
hens hummingbirds and
[1810] the heavier hulks
manned by their animae.”
In our prelapsarian planet
food also was felicitous
not gurgling with gore
nor the juice of injustice,
provided to anthropoi and
their fellow animals alike
that gladly obeyed them.
Nobody was murdered by
[1820] poisonous plants or snakes
every item made on Earth
was healthy and sweet.
No bloody teeth and claws
of wolves lions bears
no vulture ate corpses
for no dude was dead
no rotten carcass made
the atmosphere stink.
Throughout green fields—
[1830] as swans nowadays
do or dogs sometimes
led by Nature’s cues
to find fitting drugs—
spring grass was enough
for wolverines as well.
No assassin hunters
no hidden snares
against gorgeous game;
Mowgli-friendly felines
[1840] with satisfied faces
followed Eve’s footsteps
waiting for her will.
Not just a jungle king
over pythons ’n’ parrots
and over flying fish
was Man, but the master
of his innermost instincts
and Freudian thoughts,
yep, a reliable leader.
[1850] When however they
rebelled against the Rule
beasts boycotted them
and their frail frames
(the dowry of Death)
needed underdone steaks
mortal food for mortals
in a less happy hotel,
that is, after the Flood
had erased everything.
[1860] But Man maintained
his divine iconography,
did not lose leadership
over animals: he legally
or rather self-serving
provides prey and clothing
to his hyperactive limbs.
This is not abuse at all
but a norm of Nature
of Dios indeed who destined
[1870] to Man beasts birds
above and fish below.
Consummatum est. He saw
that his works were OK
and napped in nirvana.

(Christmas holidays: to be continued on Jan. 7)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (12)

Scene v

Lines 97-9  . . . a poison, I would temper it,
That Romeo should, upon receipt thereof,
Soon sleep in quiet.  . . .
again, Juliet describes what in a short while will be her own condition by referring (here, ironically) to Romeo

Lines 111-12  [Juliet] Madam, in happy time, what day is that?
[Lady Capulet] Marry, my child . . .
a pun based on the ambivalence of "marry"

Line 114  . . . at Saint Peter's Church
Saint Peter the 13th century Dominican martyr, not the apostle; a church in Verona that is currently deconsecrated, and also known as San Giorgetto, "Little Saint George"

Line 156 . . . Out, you baggage!
like bagascia still nowadays in Italian parlance, especially in Rome

Lines 201-2  Or . . . make the bridal bed
In that dim monument where Tybalt lies
it will actually happen so

Lines 210-11  Alack, alack, that heaven should practise stratagems
Upon so soft a subject as myself!
possibly one of the most powerful expressions, in literature, of Man's cry against God

Line 234  Ancient damnation! O most wicked fiend!
Juliet insults the Nurse identifying her with the Serpent of original sin: see the speech formulas culpa vetus, damnatio originalis, pessimus hostis, etc., in theological Latin 

(to be continued after the Christmas holidays)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

[GBM] Freudian landscape

artwork by Nguyen Thi Hoai Tho (woman)

In the island of Cyprus, after saying goodbye to the friendly shepherd, Clizio, Adonis looks for a fresh place where to spend the hottest hours of the day. He finds a small valley and a spring whose features can easily be termed as Freudian. The landscape reveals the events in advance. In fact, Venus, who is 'older' than Adonis, will behave as both a lover and a mother with him, that's quite different from her relationship with the phallocratic Mars, not to speak of her despised husband, Vulcan. -- Adonis' biological mother is Myrrha; she appears seldom in the poem, but in some key episodes. See here for Marino's rehabilitation of this usually infamous character.


There spurts a spring, all around which
a she-poplar spreads protective shades;     dead Phaethon's sisters
where Nature, the lavish nurturer, fills
a marble cup with a lively liquid.
Fresh, sweet milk are those pure waves,
the breast a cave, a canal the nipple.
On the edge, to drink the distilled fluid
the grass and flowers open thirsty lips.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Renaissance artists played (with) by Dario Fo

Correggio's Venus
reworked by Dario Fo

The 1997 Italian Nobel Prize in Literature, Dario Fo (1926-2016), mostly known as an irreverent playwright and performer, attended a prestigious school of art when he was young, the Brera Academy in Milan. In his late years he then lectured and published books on many Renaissance artists: Andrea Mantegna, Correggio, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, illustrating them with his own witty, fascinating drawings, paintings, and collages.

His book Correggio che dipingeva appeso in cielo [Correggio, who painted hanging in the sky] pays due honor to an original artist with a great culture and many skills, who was idolized during his life, then forgotten to the extent that many of his works were ascribed to other painters: Dosso Dossi, Giorgione, Lorenzo Lotto, Raffaello, Tiziano. . .  Dario Fo guides the reader in a well-documented tour among Correggio's masterpieces, highlighting their most innovative features while providing interesting insights into the painter's biography and his epoch. The books ends with a basically unknown, explosive text by Galileo Galilei: a dialog between an old-minded professor and a bold peasant, who talks in dialect, about the new pattern of the universe.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1756-1803

He himself then blessed
his miniature model,
Be encircled by children
colonize the whole planet
[1760] and exert ecology.
Feel responsible for fish
underwater, fowls in the air,
all Talking Animals too
are your suitable subjects.”
Adam hardly existed and
already was a sovereign
nor was this authority
written on dry wood
or in a paper protocol
[1770] easy to be bypassed
but Nature herself had
God’s acts in attachment:
Emperors Adam and Eve
rule over lands and sea
they will explore space.”
We were born Basiles
so why serve our passions
and despise our dignity
and be subjects of Sin?
[1780] We prefer the prison
of Satan in spite of our
having been appointed
the chiefs of creation.
Why do we throw away
that which in our ousía
is most remarkable?
To our empire, in theory,
no limits were left:
Look at your backbone
[1790] you will see wings!
Nothing can brake brains.
We can fly beyond not only
the Earth’s atmosphere
but the stars themselves,
far less deep indeed is
the ocean than our genius
capable of setting cables
across undersea sands and
studying abyssal biology
[1800] before resurfacing
like Captain Nemo.
This is how human minds
look after God’s garden.

(to be continued on Dec. 17)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (11)

Scene iv

Lines 20-21  A Thursday let it be; a Thursday, tell her,
She shall be married to this noble earl
Thursday, actually, is when Juliet awakes in the grave

Line 23  We'll keep no great ado ‒ a friend or two
Capulet lies

Line 32  Prepare her, wife, against this wedding-day
The hidden wisdom of language! Juliet surely prepares to be "against" this wedding day.

Scene v

Lines 12-13  Yond light is not daylight; I know it, I:
It is some meteor . . .
usually a sign of ill omen in the Renaissance

Line 40  The day is broke; be wary, look about
possibly twisting Romans 13.11

Lines 55-6  . . . now thou art below,
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb
by a simile referring to Romeo, Juliet describes her own condition in a short while

Line 74  Yet let me weep for such a feeling [pause] loss
Juliet covers her true "feeling" with a witty last-second addition

Line 89  Where that same banish'd runagate . . .
an English word misspelling the Italian rinnegato, i.e. "renegade" or more generally "bad guy," so that it is interpreted as someone who runs toward the city gates in order to flee -- Primo Levi once made this remark, commenting on a passage from Robinson Crusoe

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

[GC] Argantes throws the first stone

The Battle of Jaffa. The Muslim commander, Argantes, performs a battle technique that was typical of Homeric warriors. Very interesting is Tasso's indecision about the concept of Fortune, a subject much debated in the Renaissance. Interesting are also the changes made in the process. In the final printed version, in fact, Fortune's light will no longer be described as ruthless but wonderful; its impetus, not "sentient" (sagace) but deceiving (fallace). And later on in the plot, Tasso will have a giant demon called Fortune take part in the battle against the Crusaders. The penultimate line is made up of two quotations from Dante, respectively Inferno 8.79 (not literally) and 7.130. The last line (starting from "steady" in the previous line, in this version) recalls Inferno 25.89.

[17: 131, lines 1-8 and 132, 5-8]

But Fortune—be it the ruthless light
of a fierce star that reigns in the sky
or the power of darkness, rebellious,     Satan
or a blind force, sentient impetus—
to the honor of the high enterprise does
bold Argantes call in endless perils:
A great rock, that lay before the gates,
he takes in his hands like light wool.
. . .
And Argantes, whose strength redoubles,
lifts it in his hand, and turns, and shakes,
and after much turning, finally, steady     E dopo molto raggirar, da sezzo
on his feet, hurls it into the middle.     Sovra i duo piè fermato . . .

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1709-1755

God the Father forged
[1710] the inner humanity
after the pattern of Love
packaged in Adam and
concealed from senses.
And since He is wise just
and merciful bear(s)
He stands transgressors
and softens soon. So
Man was manufactured
according to Agape
[1720] and various virtues
marked his demeanor.
As Renaissance artists
in their stupendous styles
superimpose color layers
and spread the shading
till the painting is perfect
so the Painter of psyche
highlights our souls
and with Venetian nuances
[1730] makes them magnific.
Or, Michelangelo chisels
fragments away from marble
till out of the big boulder
dancing Dionysus emerges;
the Redeemer removing
from matter its most
hard earthily features
created Adam in clay
as a convincing image
[1740] of Elohim’s essence.
Alas, such colors and light
are stained and smeared
by descendants developing
into something different
no more a divine image
but a Dantean serpent in
the smoky slums of Dis,
our horrific humanity.
Know yourself consequently
[1750] as degenerate gods
and try to enlarge souls
to hold bodies at bay
so as to regain the Origin
and Man may once again
inherit Elohim’s home.

(to be continued on Dec. 10)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (10)

Scene iii

Lines 100-1  And now falls on her bed, and then starts up,
And Tybalt calls . . .
this last detail looks like having entirely invented by the Nurse

Lines 110-3  . . . thy wild acts denote
The unreasonable fury of a beast.
Unseemly woman in a seeming man!
And ill-beseeming beast in seeming both!
It would be weak to interpret this simply as moral imagery. The Renaissance/Baroque love for metamorphoses is operating. Again, see John Milton's Paradise Lost; Satan's words when he enters and merges, both physically and psychologically, with the serpent. See also Dante, Inferno 25.72, 77.

Lines 119-21  Why rail'st thou on thy birth, the heaven, and earth?
Since birth, and heaven, and earth, all three do meet
In thee at once; which thou at once wouldst lose
A more or less direct quotation from Dante, Inferno 3.103-5? Shakespeare anyway, as a late Renaissance author, stresses the subject of Man as a microcosm -- not meaning an elating philosophical concept (that would be the 15th century), but rather an existential paradox. And again, see Paradise Lost, Adam's reflections about his future after committing the original sin.

Lines 159-60  O Lord, I could have stay'd here all the night
To hear good counsel . . .
the Nurse's shallow, fleeting interest in wisdom is the same as a modern TV-addict may express

Line 169  Sojourn in Mantua; I'll find your man
basically the same line of action followed by Fr. Cristoforo in Alessandro Manzoni's classic Italian novel I Promessi Sposi (set in the 17th century) in order to solve the problems of the betrothed couple, Renzo and Lucia; and in both cases, the plan will fail

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Christmas present for YOU

G. B. Marino's Dicerie Sacre, "Sacred Orations," are a sort of lay sermons in which varied religious subjects, but especially with reference to Jesus Christ, are dealt with. While waiting for the opportunity to read it (it will be the Christmas present from my sister, of course on the recipient's advice), the first data gathered online sound definitely encouraging ;-) As a true Baroque author, and a free-minded one at the same time, Marino starts from the elements of tradition, then reworks them leading them as far as he can. If we have learned something about a decent way to interpret him, we can predict that these "sacred talks" are much more than a display of erudition -- though they also are, after the rediscovery of the Church Fathers in the Renaissance; see Torquato Tasso's long poem Il Mondo Creato.

As an appetizer, the first part of the Dicerie Sacre is 'devoted' to the Sindone, the Holy Shroud that popped up in Lirey, France, in 1353, then belonged to the noble Savoy family, the future Kings of Italy, from the mid-15th century, and is kept in Turin from the late 16th century. It is believed to be the very linen cloth that enveloped the body of the dead Christ. Its origin and earlier vicissitudes, as well as some of the later ones, are a matter of controversy. Marino wrote the Dicerie during the years 1612-14, precisely when he was in the service of Duke Carlo Emanuele I di Savoia. His strong point is that the unusual optical, physical, etc., features of the Holy Shroud can be seen as the bedrocks of a whole theory on Art; an idea that is often considered as dating back to Pope John Paul II in the late 20th century.

We will examine the book more in depth as soon as possible. So, Santa Claus, hurry!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

[GBM] Live. Love. Be Eaten.

G. Doré for Dante's Purgatorio

Canto 3 of Adone opens with an invective against the evils of "love," not simply as a feeling but rather Love as a cosmic power, i.e. basically, the human condition as such. As an example of the wide range of meanings implied here: In line 6, the classical reference to a snake hidden in a field had been already reused as a symbol of Beauty (Torquato Tasso, Rime, no. 650), but also of Fortune (Dante, Inferno 7.84).


Beautiful butterflies rush to sweet light,
incautious pilots cut through quiet waves:
the former burn their wings in roaring fire,
the latter are swallowed by water depths.
Often arsenic in gold, and habitually does
a stiff snake lie hidden among flowers;     "stiff": Aesop to La Fontaine
and often in a sweet and fragrant fruit
can a putrid worm live, concealed.     "putrid": a Baroque word if any

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1640-1708


After allotting animals
He liked them and added,
Let us make Man in our
image.” Heaven and earth
and stars had been set
with nobody’s counsel
but now He needs “us.”
Hearken O Hebrews
listen to LORD’s voice!
He speaks to Himself.
[1650] You unluckily lack
Papacy and Pentecostals
that makes things tougher.
You don’t take in the Trinity
while It to us is—veiled.
You see Him as a smith
who loitering late at night
alone among his tools,
no apprentices around,
hurries himself with
[1660] common mumbling:
Hmm, let’s shape a sword
or a sharp scythe or plow.”
Nonsense! and worse
than that, slanderous lies!
Jews should justify
the ways of God to gentiles.
Like dangerous tigers
jailed in a little cage
unable to deal blows
[1670] roar behind the bars
and express the sadness
that gnaws at their guts,
heretics when cornered
conjecture that Jehovah
addressed the angels
who encircle his Chair,
asked cherubim for help
summoning his servants
(our obedient bros) and
[1680] naming them masters
in the making of Man.
But who can equal El?
Oh the blind brains
the folly of the profane!
Should God summon his
servants and not his Son?
Can “in our image” mean
that one shape is shared
by Adonai and the angels
[1690] as his link to Logos?
Our likeness with Elohim
does not befit the body,
it refers to reason, his
proper propeller in us
whose pattern is Trinity.
As He knows himself
and this releases love:
the origin of the Word
the procession of Pneuma,
[1700] a tripling Light
in three Hypostases,
so our mind emits
the will and both bear
memory as the outcome.
Human nature therefore
possessing three powers
implies a divine icon
includes God in itself.

(to be continued on Dec. 3)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (9)

Scene iii

Line 18  But purgatory . . .
A concept that was not unusual in Medieval or Renaissance Verona, but was in Elizabethan England. About the controversy about Shakespeare possibly being a Catholic, see e.g. this article.

Line 22  Thou cut'st my head off with a golden axe
Freudian Oedipus -- Romeo speaks to Friar Lawrence, who has just informed him about the ban. As a matter of fact, Lawrence actually "plays the role" of Romeo's father: we never see the young Montague and his biological father together

Line 43  And sayest thou yet that exile is not death?
see Adam's lament in Milton's Paradise Lost -- "deadly sin" had been mentioned in line 24

Lines 61-2  [Friar L.] O, then I see that madmen have no ears.
[Romeo] How should they, when that wise men have no eyes.
Brilliant. Period.

Line 89-90  . . . rise and stand;
Why should you fall into so deep an O?
The phrase has been interpreted in different ways, from a symbol of Romeo's distress to the nth risqué joke made by the Nurse. "Rising" might also imply "from hell," and in this case, "O" would suggest a Dantean circle (that would be Shakespeare's, not the Nurse's subtlety, anyway)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

[GBM] The moral of the story

Azzeccagarbugli (left) "helps" Renzo

Clizio, the shepherd, is finished with telling Adonis the story of the golden apple. And from it, he draws a moral that may sound quite surprising to us, but we must remember that G. B. Marino wrote his poem in the early 17th century, i.e. the very same years in which the novel I Promessi Sposi by Alessandro Manzoni is set; when the Law was -- as still is, in Italy -- in the hands of politicians and lawyers epitomized in Manzoni's now proverbial character of Azzeccagarbugli, "Gifted4Tangles." Marino himself will often call his epoch a dark one. As for Adonis (stanza 178), he will grasp only one thing of the Judgment of Paris: that Venus is very sexy, and he looks forward to meeting her (he will not "get" Helen, he will "get" no less than the goddess in the flesh). Here is Clizio's non-Aesopian moral of the story:


"No wonder, then, if someone accustomed
to judging the quarrels of citizens—
a royal official—for flattery or money     or sexual advances? (lusinga)
sometimes strays from the path of duty,
since because of the charms of love
Paris too passed over due boundaries.     but he had to choose one!
Of a future, of a tragic pleasure     a basic oxymoron in the poem
the promised reward made him fall."

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1600-1639

Now in awe I see
in paradise our sire
not fallen from Grace
and quitting all, I consider
him while a voice within—
not from fake Apollo
from oak or from grotto
nor from carved icons
but from true Tian
says, “Gnothi seauton!”
[1610] the celestial ladder
that lifts intelligence to God
above one’s small self.
By studying the stars
and the sun’s revolutions
we can in the invisible light
meet the Maker; but not
so precisely as by starting
from our minds and flying
towards Him with thoughts
[1620] not “human too human.”
Just, as our eye rays
anywhere they pay attention:
wilderness seas rivers
high chains or canyons,
don’t see themselves
and must use mirrors;
our inattentive intellect
(distracted by the art
of the supreme Painter)
[1630] misses itself unless
it is cleansed by crystal-
clear waters of Veritas
thus made able to admire
its meaning in the mirror
of the Almighty who made
it in his lovely likeness.
If you chance to be stained
cleanse yourself and see
God beam in your bosom.

(to be continued on Nov. 26)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (8)

Scene ii

Line 5  . . . love-performing night . . .
against "love-devouring death " in Act II, Scene iv, line 7 -- or, only apparently against: see here below

Lines 10-11  . . . Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black
Juliet speaks. It reminds Death, especially if we consider that Morte (Death) is a feminine word in Italy, where the scene is supposed to happen; and she is imagined as a black lady.

Line 17  Come, night; come, Romeo . . .
are the two names meant as synonyms?

Line 43  What devil art thou that dost torment me thus?
maybe echoing Dante, Inferno 32.108; and, in its turn, echoed by S. T. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Part I, the third to last line

Line 75  . . . fiend angelical
see 2 Corinthians 11.14

Lines 85-7  . . . There's no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjur'd,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers
the Nurse gives voice to her experience, as well as her own more or less unconscious impulses; but also quotes from the Psalms, see 53.3, etc.

Lines 118-9  Why followed not, when she said 'Tybalt's dead,'
Thy father or thy mother, nay, or both
are these Juliet's fears, or hopes? 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

[GC] "C'mon!"

The Battle of Jaffa. A valiant Muslim commander, Rodoan, spurs his soldiers. The Christian fort has been built by reusing the hulls of their very ships.

[17: 126.6 - 127.8]

"C'mon, why do slow down your efforts,
O comrades? In vain will I struggle alone.
Nor will I open—thru the wall, or above,
there among enemy ships—a passage,
for the virtue of one strives in vain, and
in the excess of boldness deceives itself.
Better is the work of many instead, united.
Therefore come behind me, you all,
on this sand that covers firs and oaks,     the ships
'cause glory is a good exchange for danger!"

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The 7 Days of CryAction 6: 1520-1599

by ilTM + Selkis (picture data)

There existed of old
the son of mare and deer
embellished by the mane
and the majestic antlers
of parents one and two,
a bastard but beautiful
fast-running and robust
adorned in adulthood
with a rabbinic beard.
In the inland of India this
[1530] rarity roamed free
where wild oxen grazed
who had twisted horns
black hide strong brawn;
then probably disappeared
even tho’ in the far North
wild oxen, aurochses
and moose remained.
On the horse-deer hybrid
however no news come
[1540] nor do steeds have sex
with leopards any longer
to provide hippardions:
Crossbreeds are short-lived
and their names nullified
cause they weren’t created
by the immortal Maker
who eternalizes lineages
and safeguards species.
Gone are the grotesque
[1550] forms of fierce beasts
that flourished in Africa
the direful Disneyland,
or are gradually going
since uncertain stocks
cannot be kept forever.
Only the certified survive
as fixed by the Forger.
Going towards my goal
like a racer out of breath
[1560] I suddenly discern
both buffalos and hyenas
that violate our tombs
and imitate man’s voice.
I see long-horned rhinos
and the one-horned horse
that purges the springs
I see on ice and snow
the native reindeer
draw swift wagons
[1570] I see a lot of animals
polar and tropical
unwitnessed in the West
but illustrious thru legends.
Now no more delays,
tho’ tired I’ll soon reach
a Jurassic jungle where
among myriads of marvels
Adam was waiting for me.
As a confounded child
[1580] in a city for a fair
packed with vulgar people
if looking at a platform
distinguishes his dear
father shining from afar
like a crowned king—
dismisses the mob and
walks towards the place
where his powerful parent
now invites his son with
[1590] a wave or a word,
so throughout this habitat
of mortals and immortals
in which perpetual laws
warrant our welfare
I behaved like a visitor
in a modern museum fully
enjoying the exhibition
and often tarrying before
secondary specimens.

(to be continued on Nov. 19)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (7)

Act II
Scene vi

Line 7  Then love-devouring death . . .
Possibly a source for the controversial phrase in John Milton's Paradise Lost 9.792, when Eve "knew not eating death." She did not know she was eating / about to eat Death, or, she did not recognize all-devouring Death? Shakespeare would suggest the latter.

Line 21  Good even to my ghostly confessor
interestingly enough, Romeo and Juliet, in spite of the family feud, shared the same confessor even before meeting

Scene i

Line 114  O Romeo, Romeo . . .
Benvolio uses the same words as Juliet in Act I, Scene ii, 33; a repetition that, in both the Old and the New Testament, means a (divine) heartfelt address to people in order to show them their duty, see e.g. Genesis 22.11, Acts of the Apostles 9.4

[Enter PRINCE . . . their WIVES, and all.]
Lady Montague will not say one word

Line 139  Where are the vile beginners of this fray?
the Prince does not even ask "who," he will do so later (line 149)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

[GBM] Summarizing

The Judgment of Paris in G. B. Marino's version: Venus adds to Paris' comfort by lingering on Helen's beauty. The word in line 2, epilogato ("summarized"), corresponds to the Greek verb anakephalaio-o used in the New Testament, Letter to the Ephesians 1.10 with reference to the cosmic Christ. The Latin version of the Bible, the Vulgate, rendered it by a different verb, instaurare ("to establish"); but Greek had been vastly rediscovered during the Renaissance. At any rate, the concept of something recapitulating all other things in itself, especially Man seen as microcosm, was widespread. In Catholic spirituality, see e.g. Dante's Convivio, the sum of all beauty and perfection was also identified with Virgin Mary. -- Flashforward: According to the Iliad, Venus will actually take part in the War of Troy (the consequence of Paris' love story with Helen) on the Trojans' side; but she will cut a poor figure, and be of little help.


"So well does, in her face, of all beauty
the aggregation unite, summarized;
so perfectly gathered together does
all earthly beauty flower in her
that Beauty herself, by far defeated,
fears comparison and feels ashamed.
On having worked on such a refined     like Athena vs. Arachne
veil, Heaven and Nature compete."     veil = flesh