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There may be stages in a person’s life.

“And one man in his time plays many parts”

- William Shakespeare

On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:53 PM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>