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In a message dated 9/24/03 4:22:02 PM EST, [log in to unmask] writes:

>   Steve --
>
>    I just can't get by the idea that he didn't leave her; she left him. He
>  wants what he can't or doesn't know how to have ("weave, weave the sunlight
>  in your hair."). Lines 1 through 16 are how he would have had it, now how
>  he did have it. Line 17 is how it  happened. She turns and leaves him, and
>  THAT (and what he rightly senses he has lost) is what compels his
>  imagination, etc.
>
>    Ken A.

Ken:

Recall that the epigraph is from the Aenead. I think that's to make sure that
the reader has their bearings.

In the Aeneid, when Dido sees Aeneas in the underworld after he has abandoned
her, there is a famous passage that begins "She turned away" and ends with a
comparison of Dido's stare to the look of hard rock. Eliot quoted this passage
in an essay that I don't have in front of me just now. In that essay, Eliot
has a comment to the effect that even though Aeneas knows he is being commanded
by the Gods to be the founder of Rome and leave Dido, nonetheless Aeneas
feels like a "worm" (Eliot's word, not mine).

Given that, I'm pretty convinced that the line about "She turned away" in La
Figlia, coupled with the lines about "so I would have had him leave, so I
would have had her stand and grieve" (that is, HE'S doing the leaving [like
Aeneas] and SHE'S doing the grieving [like Dido]) means that the rhetorical
situation of the poem concerns a woman abandoned by a man.

I think what compels his imagination is the fact that the narrator
understands that he's going to abandon a woman and leave her grieving just as Aeneas
did. And, just like Aeneas, the narrator feels like a worm.

-- Steve --