Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2007, 09:12:08 PM »

Here's the Ovid Text is anyone is interested. (Book I 452-566, Ovid. Metamorphoses. Translated by More, Brookes. Boston, Cornhill Publishing Co. 1922.)

[452] Daphne, the daughter of a River God was first beloved by Phoebus, the great God of glorious light. 'Twas not a cause of chance but out of Cupid's vengeful spite that she was fated to torment the lord of light. For Phoebus, proud of Python's death, beheld that impish god of Love upon a time when he was bending his diminished bow, and voicing his contempt in anger said; “What, wanton boy, are mighty arms to thee, great weapons suited to the needs of war? The bow is only for the use of those large deities of heaven whose strength may deal wounds, mortal, to the savage beasts of prey; and who courageous overcome their foes.—it is a proper weapon to the use of such as slew with arrows Python, huge, whose pestilential carcase vast extent covered. Content thee with the flames thy torch enkindles (fires too subtle for my thought) and leave to me the glory that is mine.” To him, undaunted, Venus, son replied; “O Phoebus, thou canst conquer all the world with thy strong bow and arrows, but with this small arrow I shall pierce thy vaunting breast! And by the measure that thy might exceeds the broken powers of thy defeated foes, so is thy glory less than mine.”

[466] No more he said, but with his wings expanded thence flew lightly to Parnassus, lofty peak. There, from his quiver he plucked arrows twain, most curiously wrought of different art; one love exciting, one repelling love. The dart of love was glittering, gold and sharp, the other had a blunted tip of lead; and with that dull lead dart he shot the Nymph, but with the keen point of the golden dart he pierced the bone and marrow of the God. Immediately the one with love was filled, the other, scouting at the thought of love, rejoiced in the deep shadow of the woods, and as the virgin Phoebe (who denies the joys of love and loves the joys of chase) a maiden's fillet bound her flowing hair,—and her pure mind denied the love of man. Beloved and wooed she wandered silent paths, for never could her modesty endure the glance of man or listen to his love. Her grieving father spoke to her, “Alas, my daughter, I have wished a son in law, and now you owe a grandchild to the joy of my old age.” But Daphne only hung her head to hide her shame. The nuptial torch seemed criminal to her. She even clung, caressing, with her arms around his neck, and pled, “My dearest father let me live a virgin always, for remember Jove did grant it to Diana at her birth.”

[488] But though her father promised her desire, her loveliness prevailed against their will; for, Phoebus when he saw her waxed distraught, and filled with wonder his sick fancy raised delusive hopes, and his own oracles deceived him.—As the stubble in the field flares up, or as the stacked wheat is consumed by flames, enkindled from a spark or torch the chance pedestrian may neglect at dawn; so was the bosom of the god consumed, and so desire flamed in his stricken heart. He saw her bright hair waving on her neck;—“How beautiful if properly arranged! ” He saw her eyes like stars of sparkling fire, her lips for kissing sweetest, and her hands and fingers and her arms; her shoulders white as ivory;—and whatever was not seen more beautiful must be.

[502] Swift as the wind from his pursuing feet the virgin fled, and neither stopped nor heeded as he called; “O Nymph! O Daphne! I entreat thee stay, it is no enemy that follows thee—why, so the lamb leaps from the raging wolf, and from the lion runs the timid faun, and from the eagle flies the trembling dove, all hasten from their natural enemy but I alone pursue for my dear love. Alas, if thou shouldst fall and mar thy face, or tear upon the bramble thy soft thighs, or should I prove unwilling cause of pain! The wilderness is rough and dangerous, and I beseech thee be more careful—I will follow slowly.—Ask of whom thou wilt, and thou shalt learn that I am not a churl—I am no mountain dweller of rude caves, nor clown compelled to watch the sheep and goats; and neither canst thou know from whom thy feet fly fearful, or thou wouldst not leave me thus. The Delphic Land, the Pataraean Realm, Claros and Tenedos revere my name, and my immortal sire is Jupiter. The present, past and future are through me in sacred oracles revealed to man, and from my harp the harmonies of sound are borrowed by their bards to praise the Gods. My bow is certain, but a flaming shaft surpassing mine has pierced my heart—untouched before. The art of medicine is my invention, and the power of herbs; but though the world declare my useful works there is no herb to medicate my wound, and all the arts that save have failed their lord.”

[525] But even as he made his plaint, the Nymph with timid footsteps fled from his approach, and left him to his murmurs and his pain. Lovely the virgin seemed as the soft wind exposed her limbs, and as the zephyrs fond fluttered amid her garments, and the breeze fanned lightly in her flowing hair. She seemed most lovely to his fancy in her flight; and mad with love he followed in her steps, and silent hastened his increasing speed. As when the greyhound sees the frightened hare flit over the plain:—With eager nose outstretched, impetuous, he rushes on his prey, and gains upon her till he treads her feet, and almost fastens in her side his fangs; but she, whilst dreading that her end is near, is suddenly delivered from her fright; so was it with the god and virgin: one with hope pursued, the other fled in fear; and he who followed, borne on wings of love, permitted her no rest and gained on her, until his warm breath mingled in her hair. Her strength spent, pale and faint, with pleading eyes she gazed upon her father's waves and prayed, “Help me my father, if thy flowing streams have virtue! Cover me, O mother Earth! Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life.” Before her prayer was ended, torpor seized on all her body, and a thin bark closed around her gentle bosom, and her hair became as moving leaves; her arms were changed to waving branches, and her active feet as clinging roots were fastened to the ground – her face was hidden with encircling leaves.—

[553] Phoebus admired and loved the graceful tree, (For still, though changed, her slender form remained) and with his right hand lingering on the trunk he felt her bosom throbbing in the bark. He clung to trunk and branch as though to twine. His form with hers, and fondly kissed the wood that shrank from every kiss. And thus the God; “Although thou canst not be my bride, thou shalt be called my chosen tree, and thy green leaves, O Laurel! shall forever crown my brows, be wreathed around my quiver and my lyre; the Roman heroes shall be crowned with thee, as long processions climb the Capitol and chanting throngs proclaim their victories; and as a faithful warden thou shalt guard the civic crown of oak leaves fixed between thy branches, and before Augustan gates. And as my youthful head is never shorn, so, also, shalt thou ever bear thy leaves unchanging to thy glory.” Here the God, Phoebus Apollo, ended his lament, and unto him the Laurel bent her boughs, so lately fashioned; and it seemed to him her graceful nod gave answer to his love.

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« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2007, 11:39:29 AM »

What to make of Ovid's writing on Pythagoras is Book 15?  P comes off as a sort of flakey ranter.
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« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2007, 09:42:53 PM »
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« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2007, 11:31:27 AM »

I am going to begin this tale, following the first 2 and 1/2 pages, so that you might seek out the beginning for yourself.
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« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2007, 11:32:59 AM »

But suddenly it was dark
Thisbe had oiled the hinges. Now they helped her
Slip from the house like the shadow of a night bird

Leaving the house-eaves. The moonlight
That lit her path from the city
Found the sparks of her eyes, but not her pallor ---

Her veil hid all but her eyes from night watchers.
So she came to the tomb. Sitting in the shadow
Of the tree dense with fruit

That reflected the moon, like new snow,
She stared out in the brilliant jumble
Of moonlight and shadows. She strained

To catch the first stirring of a shadow
That would grow into Pyramus. It was then,
As she peered and listened,

And felt the huge silence, the hanging weight
Of the moonlit cliff above her,
And,above the cliff, the prickling stars,

That the first fear touched her.
She froze,her breath shrank, slight as a lizard's
Only her eyes moved.

She had seen, in her eye-corner, a shadow
That seemed to have shifted.
Now she could hear her heart. Her head swivelled.

Somebody was walking towards her.
She stood, she leaned to the tree, her legs trembling.
She realized she was panting.

And almost cried out: "Pyramus!"
But at that moment
The shadow coughed a strange cough----hoarse

And was much nearer, moving too swiftly.
A stange hobbling dwarf, bent under something.
Then her brain seemed to turn over.

Plain in the moonlight she saw
That what had looked like a dwarf
Was nothing of the kind. Slouching

Directly towards her
Under its rippling shoulders, a lioness
Was coming to wash its bloody jaws,

And quench its hanging belly, its blood-salt surfeit,
In the spring beside her.
Without another thought, Thisbe was running----

She left her veil floating   
To settle near the water. She ran,ducking
Behind the tomb of Ninus, too frightened to scream,

And squeezing her eyes shut,squeezed herself
Into a crevice under the cliff.
The lioness drank, then found the veil,

The perfumed veil perfumed again
By a woman's excitement, and her fear.
The beast began to play with the veil----

Forepaws tore downwards, jaw ripped upwards.
And the veil towelled the blood
From the sodden muzzle, and from the fangs.

Soon the beast lost interest
In this empty skin, so savourless,
And the beautiful weave was abandoned.

The lioness went off: She was absorbed
Among the moonlit rocks
As if she had never happened. Only the veil

Waited for Pyramus
Who now emerged running, his shadow vaulting
      beside him.
Both stopped at the spring.

The lion's footprints,alien,deep,unwelcome,
Printed the spring's margin.
Pyramus picked up the veil, too familiar

Blackened by blood though it was----
Blood so fresh and glistening. He groaned,
Not unlike the lioness

But groaning words: "Did our planning
Foresee this double death as a fitting
finale to our love which was forbidden?

"But Thisbe should have escaped the lion and lived.
I am to blame----for appointing this wild place
But failing to be here before her."

Then he roared aloud: "Are there any more lions
Living in the cliff there!
Come out and punish a criminal."

He groaned again, to himself:
"Cowards call for death----but courage
Does something about it."

He swayed, weeping into the sticky remnant:
"Let our blood mingle
As never in love, in this veil torn by a lion."

He set his sword point to his chest
And ran at the tree, burying the blade to the hilt,
Then with his last effort pulled it from the wound.
When a lead conduit splits, the compressed water
Jets like a fountain
His blood shot out in bursts,each burst a heartbeat,

Showering the fruit of the tree---
Till the white fruits, now dyed hectic purple,
Dripped his own blood back onto his body

That spilled the rest of its life, in heavy brimmings,
To the tree roots that drank it
And took it up to the fruits, that fattened darker.

Thisbe's fear for Pyramus and the lion,
And,  almost worse, the thought that he might have
And be at the tomb without her

Brought her running. But when she saw
The tree that had been snow-white with its fruit
Now purple-dark, blackish in the moonlight,

Her new fear was that she had lost her bearings
And come to the wrong place. Then she heard
A grunting cough in the tree's shadow

And saw the body sprawl, as if in sleep,
into the moonlight
Now she screamed. Unafraid of the lion

Again and again she screamed.
She embraced the corpse, fierce as any lion,
More passionately than she had ever dreamed

Of embracing it in life. She screamed to him
To wake up and speak to her.
His eyes opened a moment, but death

Was closing their light as they gazed at her.
Thisbe looked down at her hand, it was clutching
The soggy rag of her veil.

She saw his scabbard empty. "It was your love
That persuaded your own hand to kill you.
My love is as great, my hand is ready.

"Once I am with you
My story can be told: the cause of your death,
But your consolation for ever.

"Death has divided us, so it is right
That death should bring us together
In an unbreakable wedlock. Parents,

"As you find our bodies,
Limbs entwined, stiffened in a single knot,
Do not separate us. Burn us as we lived

"In the one flame.
And you  who live on, with your boughs laden,
Over two stripped of their blossom, their seed and
      their life,

"Remember how we died. Remember us
By the colour of our blood in your fruit.
So when men gather your fruit, and crush its ripeness,

"Let them think of our deaths."
She spoke, then set the point of the warm sword
Beneath her breast and fell on it.

With her last strength she wound him with her arms
      and legs.

The gods were listening and were touched.
And the gods touched their parents. Ever after
Mulberries, as they ripen, darken purple

And two lovers in their love-knot,
One pile in their inseparable ashes,
Were closed in a single urn.

Pyramus and Thisbe

[the last chapter,TALES FROM OVID, translated by Ted Hughes]

copyright 1997

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« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2007, 10:13:34 AM »

"Flames were also approaching the ancient temple of Apollo Epikourios, near the picturesque town of Andritsaina in the southwestern Peloponnese."
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« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2007, 06:04:37 PM »


All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean -
In scorn of which I sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom I desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.

It was a virtue not to stay,
To go my headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano's head
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.

Green sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate the Mountain Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But I am gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
I forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Careless of where the next bright bolt may fall.

Robert Graves

« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 05:56:08 PM by Beppo » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2008, 06:53:29 PM »

"My friend Gondolen remembers Eco saying in "On Literature" that he had two scenes:  a man in a museum and a trumpeter at graveside and wrote Foucault's Pendulum to connect them."

Yes, he makes the comment in the final chapter of "On Literature," I believe. I thought that a curious way for so intellectual a writer to go about putting together a novel. Incidentally, the image of Belpo at the grave was actually Eco himself at the funeral of a friend.
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« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2008, 11:35:39 PM »

Hello John's friend Gondlen. 

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« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2008, 12:38:33 PM »

"For this benefit compassionate angles found figures, marks, shades and voices, they also suggested these to us, mortal mankind, and mysterious and fascinated things which do not have any explanation compared to the usual use of the language, but they evoked in our wisdom (intelligence), a supreme admiration through diligence investigations of its meanings, and therefore they attract to them respect and love".

For this purpose, compassionate angels frequently take on the  (form of) shades and invite us to question and find purpose in death/dying, to go beyond the usual signs  (rituals?)  and judgments, to reach an endless  (deeper?) understanding, and afterwards, to learn to value ourselves and our own influence

Again, with no disrespect to the translators, we see the vain hope of translating an idea 500 years old from a dead language trying to represent a concept thousands of years older into modern language.  It could be that this was exactly Eco's point.

In the meantime see the line leading in on the preceding page (18 in English):

"Now (as then while I waited in the periscope) I shrink into one remote corner of my mind, to draw from it a story"

The Ein soph is the All and recognition of man's inclusion in it, the Crown is the will to advance while Hokmah represents a focusing.

I cant explain all that but there are plenty of Kabbala for beginners out there.

nnyhav's piece I referenced is talking about the same thing in painter's images. 
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« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2008, 12:59:42 PM »

Isn't FP all about the power of the word?  Take it back to Ein Sof...the essence of God, light into word, the word becoming what is.  FP...the plan (the word) starts as an idea which has no basis in reality but which eventually becomes.

This is perhaps why Eco didn't translate....the ensuing reality is more important than the meaning.  The word becomes.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2008, 01:03:52 PM by Lhoffman » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2008, 03:08:14 PM »

Hail & farewell to the translator censored out of NYTBF chat:
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