Two things matter here. First, Eliot repeatedly denied that the poem was about any woman at all but about a statue that, in fact, he never saw. Not that that means he really had no emotional experience behind it, whatever he denied. 

But the "maiden" was Venus, goddess of love (also his mother), and she is about to send him to the palace of Dido, where he will be protected and where he will fall in love with Dido (or at least she will be in love and he will be her lover/partner in building Carthage until Zeus tells him to leave). She appears specifically for the purpose of sending him there.

That scene is not about transcending the merely human but about going off to find what turns out to be a very physical and passionate and human love (they make love in a cave in a rainstorm and she takes that as marriage). Venus was divine and celestial but hardly into Platonic love.

If one uses that image and story, it does matter what is happening in the story.
Nancy


On Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 11:37 AM Chanan Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
A further observation, s’il vous plait.

"By what  name should I address you, maiden; for your face is not mortal, nor has your voice a human ring to it. Surely you are a goddess?". . 

The poet of LA FIGLIA utilizes a remark by Aeneas that underscores the divine aspect of the maiden he comes across in his own romantic context of Emily Hale to stress the need for transcending the merely human and embracing the divine in that relationship. “Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair.”

CR 

On Tue, Sep 17, 2019 at 9:27 AM Materer, Timothy J. <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
The epigraph to LA FIGLIA, “O quam te memorem virgo ...” literally translated to “O how shall I remember you virgin” proved prophetic vis-a-vis Emily Hale, in that she became for him an object of memory. 
In about an hour, I’ll be discussing this poem with my adult ed class, so a further observation.

It’s ok to pun on “memorem,” but the literal word is not “memory.”

"O quam te memorem  virgo. . . ." It comes from the first book of the Aeneid, where Aeneas's  mother Venus, disguised as a virgin huntress, meets him in the woods at  Carthage and speaks to him. Aeneas answers: "O-quam te memorem, virgo? namque  haud tibi voltus / mortalis, nec vox hominem sonat; o dea certe!" "By what  name should I address you, maiden; for your face is not mortal, nor has your  voice a human ring to it. Surely you are a goddess?". . 

Some see the poem as a meditation on Aeneas’ parting from Dido, but Gordon and others as his parting from Emily Hale.

Timothy Materer
English Department, University of Missouri
The James Merrill Listserv http://faculty.missouri.edu/materert/Merrill/list.html
--THIS FICTIVE SPACE WE HERE INHABIT IS / THE STOP TO TIME