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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
>>>>>
>>>>>