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The mind of these poets of course.
I don’t claim any universals here.
Many might share it though.

CR

On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:41 PM Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Whose mind? I do not think it an "ideal" and it does not lurk in my mind.
> So I am concerned when notions that elevate the abstract over the physical
> world are treated as a given, a universal. They are not.
>
> Ironically, as far as I can tell (and I have been reading Eliot all my
> life), he was never happy until his marriage to Valerie. And he was very
> open about his sense of joy and fulfillment after all those years of
> pronouncing that "ideal." And, also ironically, his late poems to Valerie
> are extremely and explicitly erotic (if not very good).
>
> So I maybe we all need to read more Donne and Virgil for some perspective.
>
> N
>
> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:31 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I was only taking note of a certain ideal that lurks in the mind. No
>> broad comparisons here.
>>
>> CR
>>
>> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:28 PM Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>> I know the poem. The point here is that the lovers are to be parted, and
>>> so, *when parted*, they can still love. It does not mean that sense is
>>> not central; quite the opposite--these lovers have both and can bear to
>>> miss sense when apart.
>>>
>>> *The Ecstasy *
>>> Where, like a pillow on a bed
>>>          A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest
>>> The violet's reclining head,
>>>          Sat we two, one another's best.
>>> Our hands were firmly cemented
>>>          With a fast balm, which thence did spring;
>>> Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
>>>          Our eyes upon one double string;
>>> So to'intergraft our hands, as yet
>>>          Was all the means to make us one,
>>> And pictures in our eyes to get
>>>          Was all our propagation.
>>> As 'twixt two equal armies fate
>>>          Suspends uncertain victory,
>>> Our souls (which to advance their state
>>>          Were gone out) hung 'twixt her and me.
>>> And whilst our souls negotiate there,
>>>          We like sepulchral statues lay;
>>> All day, the same our postures were,
>>>          And we said nothing, all the day.
>>> If any, so by love refin'd
>>>          That he soul's language understood,
>>> And by good love were grown all mind,
>>>          Within convenient distance stood,
>>> He (though he knew not which soul spake,
>>>          Because both meant, both spake the same)
>>> Might thence a new concoction take
>>>          And part far purer than he came.
>>> This ecstasy doth unperplex,
>>>          We said, and tell us what we love;
>>> We see by this it was not sex,
>>>          We see we saw not what did move;
>>> But as all several souls contain
>>>          Mixture of things, they know not what,
>>> Love these mix'd souls doth mix again
>>>          And makes both one, each this and that.
>>> A single violet transplant,
>>>          The strength, the colour, and the size,
>>> (All which before was poor and scant)
>>>          Redoubles still, and multiplies.
>>> When love with one another so
>>>          Interinanimates two souls,
>>> That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
>>>          Defects of loneliness controls.
>>> We then, who are this new soul, know
>>>          Of what we are compos'd and made,
>>> For th' atomies of which we grow
>>>          Are souls, whom no change can invade.
>>> But oh alas, so long, so far,
>>>          Our bodies why do we forbear?
>>> They'are ours, though they'are not we; we are
>>>          The intelligences, they the spheres.
>>> We owe them thanks, because they thus
>>>          Did us, to us, at first convey,
>>> Yielded their senses' force to us,
>>>          Nor are dross to us, but allay.
>>> On man heaven's influence works not so,
>>>          But that it first imprints the air;
>>> So soul into the soul may flow,
>>>             Though it to body first repair.
>>> As our blood labors to beget
>>>          Spirits, as like souls as it can,
>>> Because such fingers need to knit
>>>          That subtle knot which makes us man,
>>> So must pure lovers' souls descend
>>>          T' affections, and to faculties,
>>> Which sense may reach and apprehend,
>>>          Else a great prince in prison lies.
>>> To'our bodies turn we then, that so
>>>          Weak men on love reveal'd may look;
>>> Love's mysteries in souls do grow,
>>>          But yet the body is his book.
>>> And if some lover, such as we,
>>>          Have heard this dialogue of one,
>>> Let him still mark us, he shall see
>>>          Small change, when we'are to bodies gone.
>>>
>>> "The Ecstasy" is a long and magnificent description of physical love and
>>> its inseparability from souls. (His later religious poetry was different.).
>>> It would be difficult to find any poet who more intensely depicted
>>> sensuality--as love and desire--than Donne. I have never seen any evidence
>>> in Eliot's poetry or prose that he knew, understood, or
>>> appreciated physical love until he married Valerie. That was like a
>>> revelation to him--something he had never known, either with Viv or as a
>>> self-proclaimed celibate. Indeed, in "Virgil and the Christian World," he
>>> claims, astonishingly, that one thing missing in the *Aeneid* is love.
>>> Yet Aeneas speaks of his great love for Dido, lives as her husband (and was
>>> in her eyes), reaches out to her in the Underworld and weeps over her
>>> refusal. Virgil certainly knew the power of human love and wrote of it.
>>> Eliot seems not to have understood it at all until Valerie. It is simply
>>> not present as sensual or passionate--except in inchoate longing--in the
>>> poetry--or distress in early letters, as when he tells Aiken about his
>>> desire rising up in the streets and being suppressed..
>>> Nancy
>>>
>>>
>>> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:05 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Dull sublunary lovers' love
>>>>    (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
>>>> Absence, because it doth remove
>>>>    Those things which elemented it.
>>>>
>>>> But we by a love so much refined,
>>>>    That our selves know not what it is,
>>>> Inter-assured of the mind,
>>>>    Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
>>>>
>>>> Our two souls therefore, which are one,
>>>>    Though I must go, endure not yet
>>>> A breach, but an expansion,
>>>>    Like gold to airy thinness beat.
>>>>
>>>> - John Donne, A VALEDICTION FORBIDDING MOURNING
>>>>
>>>> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 12:24 PM Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Donne was writing of powerful sensual desire. Eliot is not. And in "La
>>>>> Figlia" the narrator is imagining abandoning the woman.
>>>>>
>>>>> Donne understood profound human love.
>>>>> Nancy
>>>>>
>>>>> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 12:12 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Stand on the highest pavement of the stair—
>>>>>>
>>>>>> - TS Eliot, LA FIGLIA
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 12:03 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Not less of love,
>>>>>>> But expansion of love
>>>>>>> beyond desire.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> - TS Eliot
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Our two souls therefore, which are one,
>>>>>>>    Though I must go, endure not yet
>>>>>>> A breach, but an expansion,
>>>>>>>    Like gold to airy thinness beat.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> - John Donne
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Eliot from memory only.
>>>>>>> CR
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>