Sunday, January 24, 2016

And, Do You Still Go by Beatrice?

So, you want to be immortal, is that what you say?

You've searched and you've lurched down that old Tao way?
But you won't need that potion, and you don't need to pray:
Just sublimate some poet to put you in his lay.

He'll sonnet/sanit/ize you, fix you in his line to stay.
Your locks of jet: they'll turn to gray, 
your bones metastasize into clay--
but you'll still be fresh and vital a million years away.

Just convince a versifier your name's good for a lay.

--Duane Vorhees


  1. That last line, a signature line by DV, made me laugh!

    By the way, my mother's name was Ruby Beatrice.

    This was fun.

  2. Thanks Dave. (And I wasn't inferring anything about your mom. I meant Dante's muse -- though they only met twice, he couldn't get her out of his poetry.)

  3. After the second meeting, nine years after the first, Dante began writing sonnets about her:
    "And thinking of her a sweet sleep overcame me, in which a marvellous vision appeared to me: so that it seemed I saw in my room a flame-coloured nebula, in the midst of which I discerned the shape of a lord of fearful aspect to those who gazed on him: and he appeared to me with such joy, so much joy within himself, that it was a miraculous thing: and in his speech he said many things, of which I understood only a few: among them I understood this: ‘Ego dominus tuus: I am your lord.’
    It seemed to me he held a figure sleeping in his arms, naked except that it seemed to me to be covered lightly with a crimson cloth: gazing at it very intently I realised it was the lady of the greeting, she who had deigned to greet me before that day. And in one of his hands it seemed to me that he held something completely on fire, and he seemed to say to me these words: ‘Vide cor tuum: Look upon your heart. And when he had stood for a while, he seemed to wake her who slept: and by his art was so forceful that he made her eat the thing that burned in her hand, which she ate hesitantly."
    --tr. A. S. Kline

  4. Here's the poetic version of part of the passage, again by A. S. Kline:
    Joyfully Amor seemed to me to hold
    my heart in his hand, and held in his arms
    my lady wrapped in a cloth sleeping.
    Then he woke her, and that burning heart
    he fed to her reverently, she fearing.
    And the same,by Dante Gabriel Rossetti:
    He seemed like one who is full of joy, and had
    My heart within his hand, and on his arm
    My lady, with a mantle round her, slept;
    Whom (having wakened her) anon he made
    To eat that heart; she ate, as fearing harm.


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