SeeStan ChapLee

Friday, March 16, 2018

Turin-Paris: The basics of Renaissance anthropology

In the passage below, Marino makes what we may consider a very obvious statement. But it was not so at that time, if the Catechism of the Council of Trent (published in 1566 under the supervision of Cardinal, then Saint, Carlo Borromeo), in commenting on the Lord's Prayer, had to stress that there is only one God for the rich and the poor, the nobility and the common people. And remarkably, Marino was addressing a group of noblemen, the Knights of the Order of St. Maurice, to whom he himself belonged. This belief in the biological unity of humankind also provides the reason why in the Renaissance there existed no "racism" in the strict sense -- although this did not prevent the Europeans from exploiting and massacring the other peoples. At the same time, and in the opposite direction, the author exalts the social and human evolution gained through the individual's efforts. That was the same principle on whose basis Giordano Bruno had fiercely attacked Martin Luther, presenting him as a promoter of passiveness (De servo arbitrio) and even identifying him with "The Beast" of the Book of Revelation.

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 36
After all (for the sake of truth), a human being is procreated by a human being, and the Earth, our common mother, gave a similar shape to all, so that we have nothing personal or special in ourselves except for what we make ourselves by living conveniently, differently from the ignoble mob. Nor did God form the bodies with different qualities; He did not create one soul nobler or more lordly than another, but we all are shoots out of the same tree, all streams out of the same spring, and no state on earth can be found that is so high (if we look at its first origin) so as to not draw its progresses from a low, weak source.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

William Shakespeare, "The Mousetrap"

Shakespeare's Hamlet illustrated by Andrej Dugin is available in at least three languages: German, English, Italian. And, is a masterpiece from many viewpoints. The setting provides an accurate insight into late Renaissance fashion, life, objects. The very perfection of Dugin's technique is a legacy of the 16th and 17th centuries. At the same time, the key episodes in Shakespeare's tragedy (above: the making of Old Hamlet's marble grave) are reworked in an approach midway between Symbolism and Surrealism, with complex references to the different levels of meaning in the text and to its atmospheres (above, e.g., the Original Sin in the glass window, and the scale model for the King's monument echoing the outline of Denmark). As an ubiquitous symbolic object, reproduced in different sizes in different contexts, there appears a bizarre wood mousetrap the artist had come across by chance (above, the sculptor's table). By the way, a precious afterword to the book is an interview with Andrej Dugin himself. It would be a big "plus" to add interviews like that whenever a great illustrator is entrusted with the rendition of a Classic of Literature.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

[GC] Hostem re-Pellas longius


The Battle of Jaffa; the Christian camp. In line 2, Pella was the birthplace of Alexander the Great. In line 6, with a witticism, the old-fashioned word for "scattered" is sparta (sparsa in current Italian), that rhymes with "Sparta."

[18: 15,1 - 16,4]

All made a thick phalanx together
as Rome, Pella, Sparta would praise,
that no assault can mess up or break
while stopping in battle or leaving;
even when it turns and moves, it
never looks mixed up or scattered.
So did Germans and Franks link
shield 'n' shield, helmet 'n' helmet, spear 'n' spear.
Spear 'n' spear, helmet 'n' helmet, shield 'n' shield,
and warrior and warrior, chief and chief,
they appeared as one; blades unsheathed
shone in the air with frightening light.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 504-556

The Creation of Man

As Lysippus sculpted
Alexanders portrait
whose horned forehead
tilting towards the sky
meant his maha atman
that after earthly empires
[510] asked for the stars,
so the Maker modeled
Man’s eyes skyward
looking at his own origin
while his lasting soul
beseeches beatitude.
Whereas all animals were
forced to fix their eyes
on their material Mother
as the stomach’s servants
[520] too fond of food
and obsessed by sex.
But let Man—if aiming
too high he undeservedly
claims regna caelorum
look humbly at humus
his dusty clay incubator
and destined deathbed
and deflate his dick.
A son of a mere maid
[530] though of a big boss
is proud of his he-parent
who make lots of money
and tries to imitate him
but remembers his mom
and feels a failure;
so let us recall our old
and miserable Mother—
we walk on her womb
with a grandiose gait
[540] as if we had evolved
from extraterrestrial seeds.
We belong to this ball
we move on its mud
we feed on its fruits
and its soil is a reason
to wage furious wars;
technological enterprises
are carried on on earth
so is peace (stay put).
[550] Sometimes humbled
sometimes exalted
our supernatural spirit
shuns both soil and stars
for its goal is God only
compared with whose See
the sky is a low stool.

(to be continued on March 18)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Turin-Paris: Two snakes are worse than one

from Pompeii, first century AD

Carrying on his praise of Duke Charles Emmanuel I, G. B. Marino likens him to Hercules. The Greek hero, during the Renaissance, was not seen as a sort of Conan the Barbarian or Incredible Hulk, but as a symbol of moral strength as well, i.e. virtue; often, even a symbol of Jesus Christ. The "heresy" referred to in the quotation below is the small Waldensian community living in the Savoy territory: a Medieval 'Protestant-like' Church older than Luther's Reformation. The Duke also put forward a claim on the Calvinist Geneva. The Thirty Years' War is looming. As for the king against whom Charles Emmanuel dared to fight, Marino probably means Henry IV of France. The adjacent (little) Savoy Duchy and (big, powerful) France were often at loggerheads because of the ownership on some lands. Marino, anyway, praises the King of France at the same time -- his connections with Paris will prove useful.

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 25

Yes, yes, with you, O great son of Jupiter, I wish to compare him [the Duke]; and in my opinion, we must think that for no other reason than this well balanced equality he was destined by Heaven, when he was still very young, to strangle two vipers precisely as you did when, a baby yourself, you suffocated two snakes. You were being tested by your stepmother; he, tossed by fortune. You, the one who extracted the active venom out of the Hydra; he, the one who eradicated the reviving plague of heresy. You, the winner against Antaeus who kept rising again; he, the persecutor of an enemy who kept getting stronger and stronger. You, the conqueror of a frightening lion; he, the fighter against a magnanimous king. You faced a fierce boar, he attacked an indomitable leader.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

1623: The Year of Poetry

An 80-year-old Chinese Dutchman draws a silent graphic novel in which three human boys and a baby angel live a dangerous adventure in a world inhabited by Hieronymus Bosch's critters. But, the true danger is not those critters. Some mystical hints are more or less obvious or hidden: Eden, the Holy Grail. The book is also available in other languages; in Italy it has just been published by Beisler Editore.

In 1623, the same year in which Shakespeare's First Folio and G. B. Marino's long poem Adone appeared, a nephew of Michelangelo -- he too called Michelangelo Buonarroti (il Giovane, i.e. the Younger) -- published the great artist's poems. It was a highly debatable edition from a philological viewpoint, but on the other hand it was the very first one, posthumous. Michelangelo's poems provide a rabid, unruly, even experimental version of Neoplatonism, filled with bitterness, distress, and bisexual love.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

[GBM] As horny as the Moon

G. F. Watts, Endymion, about 1869

After pouring out all of her disgust and hate against Vulcan in a whole row of stanzas, Venus, with a very 'Marinian' excuse, justifies her own ways by recalling the sexual habits of even the most innocent natural phenomenons, i.e. the light of dawn and of the moon. Usually in Greek mythology, see e.g. Helen of Troy, humans blame Venus for their love follies, but she cannot blame herself, and must adopt a different strategy. Throughout the poem Diana/Artemis, the supposedly chaste adversary of the goddess of love, is often ironically depicted as a slut.


"Aurora, earlier than day, comes down     Eos
onto earth to hug the Athenian hunter.     Cephalus (and/or Orion)
The Moon at midnight opens the sky
to admire the Arcadian shepherd.     Pan (and/or Endymion)
So, why not me? If my desire does err,
such supreme beauty justifies my fault.     Adonis' beauty
I mean that boy, whom I see there, to
be revenge and amends to me, the wronged."

Monday, March 5, 2018

Gettin' like G. B. Marino, yeah

Some time ago, I had been blamed for "pornography" by Blogger. Now I have been "banned from Christianity" (and, "on behalf of Christianity," too).

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 446-503

Sorry for slipping off topic.
From the end of events
lets turn back to Ho Theos
forging our forefather.
[450] No rain had drenched
the dry womb of Mother
Earth, no useful farmer
had been born yet
but a sparkling spring
irrigated the terrains
and mountains moreover
as the Nile notoriously
engrains Egypt with
its miraculous mud.
[460] Watercourse or cloud,
it happened to lie so high
that it soaked the peaks
a spring more probably,
that in the new universe
watered the very ridges
not only lower plains.
Eternal LORD therefore
made Man with mud
concretely a cyborg of
[470] humankind to come
using selected materials
that had recently emerged;
He isolated the fluids
and added due parts
since devoid of defects
was that certified stuff
for the hotel and temple
of the reasoning soul.
Hamartía would afterwards
[480] damage our DNA
hence hunger and thirst
and dozens of diseases
and Pale Rider Death.
Good were both God
and the clay He chose to
manufacture the anatomy
robust and beautiful of
Ur-Mensch, whose hair
and skin hue was rusty.
[490] His mysterious name
expressed his essence
as Authority supreme
Dominus urbis et orbis
for Addams Morticia.
His soul was inspired
to no previous pattern
except the eternal Logos
his likelier likeness.
God instilled spirit into
[500] him, not one ounce
of Baal but brand new
in order to organize
and animate his frame.

(to be continued on March 11)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Turin-Paris: The Golden Bough

Carlo Emanuele I di Savoia

We now meet the first, and surely not last, praise of Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy in G. B. Marino's Dicerie sacre. Born in 1562, he ruled from 1580 to 1630, when he fell ill and died in, incidentally, my hometown Savigliano* (in the current Piemonte Region, NW Italy) during the war against Richelieu's France after having claimed rights over the geographic area of Monferrato (Piemonte). Here Marino likens the Duke to the "golden bough" of the Aeneid (6.143-4), that seems to imply more layers of meaning -- beside the fact, as stated, that it grew again when it was torn off. In fact, the golden bough allowed its owner to pass unharmed through the realm of death; and it was a sign given to Aeneas as the founder of an empire, see Dante, Inferno 2.13-21. So, in 1609, the poet blesses Charles Emmanuel with an apotropaic 'charm,' and at the same time, exalts the past, present, and future political glory of the Savoys.

* He died inside the Cravetta Palace (see); his body was then kept in the Church of Saint Dominic (see) for forty years before being moved to Vicoforte (see). The Duke's portrait has been painted in the main hall of the Taffini Palace (see) in Savigliano. With many thanks to Nadia & Sergio for the info.

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 19

But, what greater highness might be longed for, in this earthly heaven, than being set in the apex of highness itself? I mean this Most Serene Highness [Altezza Serenissima, the Duke's title], the supreme and, so far, last step in the long and straight stairway of his race; a race out of whose fertile bosom—not unlike the golden bough in Cumae, out of which new, precious shoots kept budding—a steady and continuous sequence of most invincible heroes and most glorious rulers has always sprouted.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

[GBM] Venus blames her husband

Vulcan, from Velázquez

Here, again, Marino adds a different or, at least, accessory explanation for Venus falling in love with Adonis, probably reusing verse he had worked out on some prior occasion. Namely, Venus blames her unhappy situation as Vulcan's wife -- though, to tell the truth, she had already solved this problem by starting a sex story with Mars. It is worth noting that Vulcan in this long poem is also despised by his and Venus' son, Love, for the same "aesthetic," i.e. social and psychological, reasons.


"Why should I be subject to this cruel fate:
that my beauty is enjoyed by a blacksmith,
such a harsh, a rough, an unrefined spouse,
and uncombed, hairy, and smoked, and tough?
What eternal law, worse than death, forces     Sanatana Dharma!
me to kiss those prickly lips of his?—
lips fitter for blowing upon the coal
in a horrid furnace than for kissing."

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 383-445

Revelation 4-5
by ilTM, Selkis, and Michelangelo

Palms and shining seats
will be the Peers’ prize;
those who battled bravely
in the battlefield of life
and finally triumphed
against Satan in person
stripping him of scales
[390] will ride in rows
after the miles-long flag
of the King of kings.
Christ’s own right hand
in that eternal temple
whence Lucifer fell
will hang Dali’s rendition
of Corpus Hypercubus.
Salve festa dies! Forever
glory, Psalms, and silence
[400] will reign. Rolling minds
will finally find peace
after a flood of thoughts;
now they go astray
almost attracted towards
the lowest levels via
crooked courses or
they envelop themselves
or the sacred center
of the sphere of soul.
[410] Fortune’s fast wheel
will stop with the sky.
Fellings also will fade
which against the Godhead
take retreating steps—
as counter-Crystalline
do Jupiter Saturn Mars
and Venus voyage.
If the stars stop to shift,
as a clear consequence
[420] human minds will
stop, mirroring the sky;
all will gravitate towards
the big Black Holon.
Rest in peace O Psyche
all too often fickle
and indecisive here.
Rest in peace you Grace
and Mer(ed)it. Maybe
you long for apocalypse:
[430] Hope and hold on
against time and fate
by despising death.
While Francis reforms
the Church, or chose to,
let each one in the shrine
of the heart host God
on spiritual altars;
let the soul play priest
and sacrifice sentiments
[440] in flames of love
thus preparing a path
both ephemeral and firm
until the nude pneuma
rushes to the red carpet
of priests and princesses.

(to be continued on March 4)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Turin-Paris: At a safety distance

Satan crosses Chaos (from G. Dore's illustrations
for Paradise Lost; turned upside down)

G. B. Marino's description of the origin of the universe, while drawing on Genesis, reworks the sober Biblical lines into a Baroque explosion of effects; a literary process that will reach its acme some decades later with John Milton's Paradise Lost. Less obviously than in Milton, but interestingly enough, the dividing line between "creation out of nothing" (Bible) and "out of a pre-existing chaos" (Greek philosophy) is not clear-cut here. "Heaven" also means the farthest limit of the visible universe. As for heaven being set "far" from Earth in order to prevent an armed attack, it is a joke, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, it mirrors the perception of society and history in 17th century Europe; and since the New World had often been depicted as Paradise, a reference to the doom of native American peoples is also implied. In fact, Columbus' discovery and its consequences are mentioned in #18. More indirectly, it can be read as a prophecy of science fiction. // The paragraph numbers have been added by our contemporary editors.

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, from #12, and 16-17

[. . .] The first work then—to say the truth—that received a shape in the mess of that shapeless pile, in which the disorder of the abysses lay in disarray; the first offspring that was distinguished out of the mass of that rough embryo that enclosed the seeds of the elements in itself; the first body that came out of the dark womb of that unhappy inhabitant called Nothingness was surely heaven.

[. . .] And sure enough, if that delightful Paradise that is called "earthly," planted only for Man's amusement, was set so high that, as is believed, the overflow of the universal Flood could not sink it, why should not the place that is God's royal palace, home to the angels, and the location of true happiness, be uplifted to a region separated from all tumultuousness of earthly business? Not to speak of the fact that the homeland of the blessed could have hardly defended itself from the violence and boldness of men if it had exposed itself to their greedy rapacity, instead of retreating up to the top of the universe, without even letting their eyes peep into it. . .

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

[GC] A Normandy Landing in Jaffa

by Arnold Böcklin

Jaffa, 1099 AD. In a wholly fictional episode, the Poseidon-like demon now sees many Christian ships approaching to help the Crusaders, and especially help the young, Achilles-like knight Richard. Here a recap is needed because a huge section was missing in the Gerusalemme Conquistata manuscript that we are following. Richard (Riccardo) in GC corresponds to Rinaldo in Gerusalemme Liberata, Torquato Tasso's more famous version of the poem. Some of Richard's adventures are the same as Rinaldo's, some not. In GC Richard, after defeating and immobilizing the witch Armida (her love story with Rinaldo in GL developed differently), is confined in Lebanon waiting for his destiny to call him back to battle. The demon knows it, and decides to destroy the Christian fleet. He runs toward the coast.

[18: 11]

Having said so, he moved his swift, quick
feet from that steep mountain and ran down,     Lebanon
making the high forests and wild ranges
tremble under those frightening strides of his.     see Polyphemus
Three times did he shake the prickly sides
of the mountains, and broke the live rock;
but his fourth stride impresses the shore—
his rage lets him have no rest at all.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 314-382

What Eastern President
ever had such soldiers
inside a conquered city
full of fires and blood
and dismembered bodies
and bombed buildings?
[320] Not unfortunate Troy
ground-zeroed by Greeks
or commanding Carthage
then deleted or Corinth
ransacked and ruined
not one incredible chaos
of tears and butchery
can compare with our
world played havoc with,
pyre and grave of itself.
[330] The good-willed will
be abducted by UFOs
commanded by cherubim
and on stealth devices
will fly away swiftly to
the galaxy of righteous.
ballasted by seven sins
the wicked will sink
into a bottomless abyss
[340] to re-emerge no more.
Dies irae dies Godzilla!
Will that day dawn
but have no evening?
Or will there be a halt
to that super-payday
in that final twilight
and will the souls shine
in Day Eight’s light?
When Rome the core
[350] business of bloody
breeders and emperors
was beaten by barbarians
it fell down in fragments
a Cyclopean cemetery;
it would Pope-up anew
more culturally rich
and larger than life, yes,
the Earth is not enough
for its ample ambitions.
[360] So, multiplying much,
the whole universe will
meet its doom, in due time
this revolving theater
will explode in sparkles;
then the divine Director
will shoot a reboot series
independent of time
totally collapse-proof.
This swing temple and
[370] sun will keep still
stars will stop swirling
the saved will stay
in suffused silence
safely from storms
within invisible light
menaced by no night.
Hours will no longer run
from dawn to darkness
season after season,
[380] the great gift will
consist of kabod
in a supreme stillness.

(to be continued on Feb. 25)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Turin-Paris: A lay Paradiso

In 1609 in Turin, the then capital city of the Duchy of Savoy, G. B. Marino was appointed a Knight of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus (Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro, or more simply Ordine Mauriziano) -- which had been created by merging two different Orders, named after the respective Saints. He himself will sum up the history of the two Catholic knight organizations in the earliest of his Dicerie sacre, though often reworking and embellishing the historical data, as we might expect of his epoch, and of him. The Order's official website, in Italian, can be visited here.

A novelty in Marino's "sacred orations" is that each of them deals with a subject by using one, only one metaphor, unlike the typical Counter-Reformation sermons, where all sorts of similes, etc., were employed while speaking of any topic. Marino's novelty proved so successful that the Dicerie would be re- and re-printed a lot of times during the 17th century, influencing many Catholic preachers. That is all the more interesting as he was not a priest, and as a layman he could hardly be termed a 'saint.' In 1623 he was even condemned by the Inquisition because of his long poem Adone, that mixes the Christian Sacred and overt eroticism.

The oration in which he thanks the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel I (Carlo Emanuele, but then spelled Carlo Emanuello), and addresses his fellow Knights, is called Il cielo. A simple word that is not easy to translate because it meant, and means, at the same time "heaven" and "sky, universe." The con/fusion of both concepts was particularly clear e.g. in Dante's Paradiso. To Marino the structure of the universe, the planets, etc., provides a starting point that allows him to exalt the history, mission, and values of the Order of St. Maurice. The editor of the 2014 Italian edition of the Dicerie sacre, E. Ardissino, finds it odd that Marino, who was a friend of Galileo Galilei, kept using an old-fashioned pattern of the cosmos. I however think that this was precisely the point: Marino needed a simple, traditional pattern, familiar to his audience, that would enable him to soar freely and develop his true subject. It was unnecessary to draw allegories from the newly discovered moons of Jupiter. And anyway, as we will see, his view of the universe is more "modern" than it may appear at first sight.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

[GBM] Magic inconsistencies

Now Marino adds a new 'explanation' for Venus falling in love with Adonis -- the long poem Adone accumulates all sorts of materials, often from drafts that Marino kept in store for other projects, or for previous versions of this same poem; and sometimes the different versions are not, or not fully consistent with one another. This is part of the charm of Adone, as well as a true metaphor of the world. In this case, the power of a written name recalls the rules of magic. The term sen (seno) that appears in line 6 usually did not mean, in poetry's Italian, "breast" as it does nowadays in the common parlance, but "womb." See e.g. the Italian text of the Catholic prayer Ave Maria ("Hail, Mary"), where the words ventris tui, from Luke 1.42, have been translated as seno tuo.


Achy and indignant, she tears away
the arrow, sticking in her sexy side,
and there, between the feathers and the tip
she finds the written name, "Adonis."
Observing and minding the wound, she
then sees her womb is deeply hurt,
and feels in her veins, little by little,
a lustful fire that snaking grows.

A noticeable parallel with Dante, Purgatorio 28,64-6 (Longfellow version):

I do not think there shone so great a light
under the lids of Venus, when transfixed
by her own son, beyond his usual custom!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 249-313

Edgar Allan Poe, Al Aaraaf

Forgiveness and feast
[250] seal Day Seven
not Sunday but Sabbath
for Israel’s offspring
who gonna be ghettoized.
That day had a dawn
but would skip sunset
that hasn’t happened yet
in its perpetual light,
while Time’s turnings
delimitate our days
[260] in which we all work
then exhausted sleep—
before that frightening
devastating day comes,
the threatened seventh
when walls and malls
of this sparkling society
will turn into ruins.
Not Agnus Dei but Agni
will dry up the waters
[270] and burn refineries
like an atomic Apollyon
till of the former Earth
scarcely ash will be seen
as the trophy of Thor.
When Big Crunch begins
for the fear of flames
no parties will be planned
no trade agreements
between Bolivia and USA
[280] or Congo and China;
FAO will be fu**ed
by agricultural culture.
Stupor will seize the
whole world, shock will
gulp God’s works in
that unearthly terror.
The righteous will tremble
yeah, all but Abraham
who will laugh at hell,
[290] lifted to the level
he obviously belongs
where Jehovah’s justice
redistributes rewards
according to aletheia.
The Thunderbolt Basileus
will rise in a shroud,
like a vaginal veil
the clouds will uncover
the Op Art of his power
[300] and numberless rows
of warriors will appear
as glossy as Grendizer.
Gold-yellow electricity
in a Bagheera-black sky
passing supersonically
while terrifying trumpets
play Wagner’s Walkyries
and the starry systems
are shaken and collapse.
[310] Horror will overwhelm
Nature, fear will even haunt
the angels all around
the thundering throne.

(to be continued on Feb. 18)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Turin-Paris: First things first

Giovan Battista (or Giambattista) Marino published his Dicerie sacre in 1614. As he himself explains, the word Dicerie must be understood in the high sense of the Latin dìcere, that is, to make a speech in a solemn context -- even if, he stresses, meanwhile the meaning of the Italian word in its common usage had already shifted to "talks"; and nowadays, we may add, even "gossip." So, the title here will have to be interpreted as Sacred Orations.

He published them in Turin, NW Italy, the then capital city of the small Duchy of Savoy, squeezed between France and the many Italian States, most of which ruled by the Spaniards as a consequence of the 16th century European wars. The Duchy would become a Kingdom -- of Piedmont, a.k.a. of Sardinia -- in the 18th century, and in the mid-19th century would conquer the other territories of Italy, leading to the National Unification in 1861. In this sense, Marino's due prophecies on the "future glories" of the Savoys proved much more successful than Dante's political prophecies. The situation of northern Italy in the early 17th century would also provide the setting for the Italian historical novel par excellence, Alessandro Manzoni's I promessi sposi (The Betrothed), whose final version was published in 1842.

The Dicerie sacre are three, though the author promised many more to come, which would never come, like many of his amazing projects (a long poem called Jerusalem Destroyed on the events of 70 AD; a remake of Ovid's Metamorphoses, etc.). In the 1617 book the "Orations" are set in order of importance, that is the reverse of the order in which they had been written; here, we will follow the latter so as to focus on the developments in Marino's life and works. After examining selected passages from them, we will study his Sferza, the "Whip" against the Huguenot leaders, written at the court of King Louis XIII of France where Marino had arrived after leaving Savoy, basically to escape the Pope. His coming back to Italy in 1623 would happen in coincidence with the publishing of his great, and our beloved poem Adone. . .  and with the poet's ruin by the hand of the Inquisition.

- Giovan Battista Marino, Dicerie sacre, ed. by Erminia Ardissino, Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2014, pages 394
- Diego Varini, I rovesci della pace. Prospezioni per un Marino politico, con la Sferza antiugonotta edita e commentata, Lavis (TN): La Finestra Editrice, 2012, pages iii + 314

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Off Topic: Poe prophesies Philip K. Dick

(from A Dream, 1827)

That holy dream -- that holy dream,
     While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
     A lonely spirit guiding.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

[GBM] Love hurts

Frida Kahlo, The Wounded Deer, 1946

While answering Venus' questions, Love hugs her until an arrow in his sheath 'accidentally' wounds her, and at the same time he shows her Adonis (who sleeps in the shade, near a brook). The goddess can't help falling in love with Adonis.


She turns toward him whom Love indicates—
can easily see him as he lies nearby—
and shouts,  "Alas! Alas! I've been betrayed,
O ungrateful, O cruel, O cheating son!     almost paraphrasing King Lear*
Ha, what is this sweet wound I feel?
Ha, what welcome fire exhausts me?
What extraordinary beauty is shown me?     nova (see Dante)
Mars and heaven, I don't belong there now!"

* Incidentally, Adone was published in the First-Folio year 1623.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 206-248

by ilTM + Selkis

Now let’s see our lore.
Seven times a day do
saints slip ’cause of Adam
and the load of flesh but
[210] Mercy supports them:
number 7 accompanies us.
Enoch the 7th Patriarch
did not meet Death, thus
hinting at the holy Church
that outlived even Rome.
Moses, 7th after Abraham
was entrusted the Torah:
Conversion and Astraea
and the Word’s avatara
[220] in the flesh in Bethlehem
and his salutary teaching
and his sublime Law
were Moses’ must-see.
The seventy-seventh
descendant of Adam was
Mary’s unexpected son.
Peter also apprehended
the secret strength of 7
the flag of forgiveness
[230] tho’ not immediately
because he first faltered
but was confirmed by Kyrios
who unlocked his box
of eleos and eternity
and fostered forgiveness
70 times seven times.
To the curse of Cain
imbued with Abel’s blood
Peter’s pardon echoes
[240] like a countermelody.
LORD’s love overcomes
Lamech’s sinful fury
and his scarce sympathy;
against sin’s metastasis
grace gains ground.
To criminals needing
infinite indulgence
divine Love will listen.

(to be continued on Feb. 11)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (16)

Act V
Scene iii

Lines 85-6  For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Wonderful verse.

Line 111-2  And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh . . .
Romeo's words voice much of the 17th century European culture

Lines 117-8  Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark
a variation on Dante's Ulysses (Inferno 26)?

Lines 153-4  A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents . . .
again a major topic in Renaissance culture, when the concepts of Providence and/or fate and/or chance acquired a trait more tragic than in the Middle Ages

[Snatching ROMEO's dagger.]  This is thy sheath . . .
with a sexual reference, all the more so as the Latin word for sheath was vagina

Line 292  That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
one more basic feature of the Renaissance mind: agudezas (witty subtleties), paradoxes, and not rarely, sad ones; here Shakespeare provides one of the possibly finest examples of this genre

Line 307  Some shall be pardon'd and some punished
but we won't know whom, in either case

[The end. From next week, on Fridays, the new column called Turin-Paris will accompany us: G. B. Marino's adventures and works in the first two decades of the 17th century. A fascinating insight into culture, science, religion, history, society.]

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

[GC] Meet Satan's brother

by Caravaggio

Canto 18 of Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Conquistata opens Homerically with the supreme God who looks down on the war, or rather, the wars -- not only the First Crusade but, at the same time, the battles taking place between Christians and Muslims in Spain, with a glorification of King Alfonso of Aragon. But meanwhile 'the Enemy does not sleep,' and decides to give battle to the Crusaders in Jaffa. Interestingly enough, this huge hellish warrior is not Satan but. . . his brother, the one who creates the tempests. Clearly another Homeric reference, i.e., to Hades/Pluto and Poseidon/Neptune, whose third brother, in fact, was Zeus/Jupiter as hinted at at the beginning. The name of this sea demon will turn out to be Fortuna, that means both Fortune and fortunale, "storm." The connection between a battlefield and a devil creating a storm may come from Dante, Purgatorio 5.

[18: 4]

But the great Rebel did not guard sleepily,
he who commands to storm and lightning
and, almost equal to his hellish brother,
upsets the sea and makes the air flare up;
sitting in Lebanon, he looked at the one
and the other shore, and the seas, the fields,
and Aelia, Jaffa, and the ships and port,     Aelia Capitolina: Jerusalem
from a rocky range facing East and West.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The 7 Days of CryAction 7: 127-205

by ilTM-Selkis
after Disney-Dali's Destino

He slept serene in man:
Why is humanity uneasy?
Restless is our race, so
[130] are Nature’s trends:
fire revolves fidgety
beyond the biosphere,
air attacked by winds
is split into shards,
water waves peacelessly,
and apparently steady
earth staggers and shakes
causing the collapse of
towns and mountains
[140] as its belly breaks
and revealing the hell—
pape Satan aleppe!
prepares Armageddon.
In their Creator alone
created things are tranquil;
He rests in himself
needing nothing more
because He is the Holon
and presides at the spa
[150] that will welcome us.
If He slept on our soil
we’ll subside in Walhalla.
When He wonderfully
merged into humanity,
to our stressful existence
He gave sweet salvation:
now Grace and Glory
make man amuse himself.
Consequently Day Six
[160] was creation’s sunset
no new items were made.
She-Creator consistently
gave birth to birds ’n’ suns
and all present processes
by clicking on link 6.
Let those who studied
anthropological algebra
show the significancy of 6
the mother of so many
[170] facts and figures
throughout our planet.
Number 7 instead does
not bring forth a thing
and comes from nowhere,
simply try and see.
We can do without the
arrogant achievements
of mundane wisdom;
let’s stick to the Scriptures’
[180] views about the week.
The Jews used to honor
the sixth day in tents
manufactured with fronds
and in the holy holiday
celebrated with shofars
so that the seventh day
also acquired importance.
Seventh years similarly
had a mystic meaning:
[190] in the preceding six
it was to lawful to furrow
ones fields with plows
and sow seeds generously
but in the seventh they
were content with the
fruits of untilled Nature.
Slavery lasted six years
then Jacob and the Jews
were free. The fierce yoke
[200] of absolutist Assyrians
outre-Euphrate in Babylon
oppressed them 60 years
plus nine, then ancient
freedom flashed again
when 7 multiplied 10.

(to be continued on Feb. 4)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Notes on "Romeo and Juliet" (15)

Act V
Scene i

After the end of Act IV there has been a pause, a silence of two days, like the waiting time while Jesus lay in the sepulchre.

Line 44  An alligator stuff'd . . .
in the Wunderkammer of this alleged Medieval apothecary, a specimen from America is also exhibited

Line 56  Being holiday . . .
in that season they could be celebrating either Saint John the Baptist or Saint James or Saint Mary Magdalene; all of them much revered "at that time" (be it the Middle Ages or the Renaissance)

Line 57  . . . Who calls so loud?
the Apothecary reacts like a conjured spirit

Lines 80-1  There is thy gold . . .
Doing some murder in this loathsome world
with a general meaning, but also a hint at the conquest of the New World; see Adam's vision of the future in Milton's Paradise Lost

Scene ii

Line 10  Where the infectious pestilence did reign
it had not been mentioned until now, however

Scene iii

Lines 1-9
"It is not clear why Paris is so anxious not to be seen" (Collins Classics edition). Maybe they feared some 'shame' on Juliet's part; for example, that she had committed suicide after having sinned with another man? But they would not dare say it (see line 51).

Lines 45-8  Thou detestable maw, thou womb of death,
Gorg'd with the dearest morsel of the earth,
Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,
Broken open the tomb
one more reference to Jesus Christ -- and partly, a sad parody: see line 49

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

[GBM] Stronger than love

from Rubens, reworked

Venus, momentarily forgetting about Adonis while holding her son on her knee, starts to question him on the reason why he is so bold as to upset even the hearts of the gods. Love first answers (3.31) that he does so "out of ignorance," since he is a little baby; Venus replies that he is as old as Time, and was born before the stars. Love (3.33) then adds, "Where is my sin, if I show everybody the beautiful things?" (le cose belle, see Dante, Inferno 34.137). Now, therefore, Venus is curious about his inability to arouse Minerva. His answer has something Freudian to it.


He said, "Alas! She arms her face with
such a frightening, stern countenance
that, when I draw my bow to hit her,
I fear her look, masculine and fierce.
Moreover, of her great helmet she keeps     plus the Aegis (stanza 38)*
shaking the threatening and horrid crest,
and fills me with such a deep terror
that my shocked hand drops the weapons."

* "Hairy with snakes, on her breast there hangs
a skull, oh! dismal and furious, from
whose eyes such a great fear comes that     Dante, Inferno 1.53
I freeze completely when I see it!"

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)