Tag Archives: Alexander Pope

Fae Friday: Summer Vibes

Ipogeo di via livenza, diana cacciatrice

Goddess Diana hunting, Roman fresco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Alexander Pope’s exquisite imagery in an excerpt from his poem, Summer.

Diana the Huntress by Orazio Gentileschi (17th-century)

Diana the Huntress, Orazio Gentileschi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear! 
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray’d,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow’rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown’d with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.

Solstice Blessings,
Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Mythic Monday: Lovers Abelard and Heloise

Edmund Blair Leighton - Abaelard Und Seine Schülerin Heloisa

Edmund Leighton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lovers Abelard and Heloise

Some historians maintain that the Middle Ages gave birth to the idea of romantic love. Historical figures and lovers Abelard and Heloise serve as icons of medieval romantic love. Theirs was not the distant infatuation of knight for unattainable lady, however, or dewy- eyed heroine for valiant hero. Rather, their love story contained brilliant and inquisitive minds, mutual respect and admiration, unbridled passion, heights of ecstasy, consummated eros, violence, tragedy, separation, salvation through love and service, and a lifelong bond.

Of a 12th century French noble family, Abelard disavowed knighthood in favor of a life of learning and letters. He became famous for his knowledge, scholarship, and facility of discourse. We also sense his charisma and compelling physical presence. Of lesser blood, Heloise was widely renowned in France for her abilities of reading and writing, as well as her disdain of marriage and traditional feminine roles. Abelard later maintained he was drawn to the accomplished young woman and persuaded her uncle, an ecclesiastic, to allow him to move into his house, offering to tutor her in exchange. Heloise could have been as young as seventeen or as old as her mid-twenties. Regardless, the unusual and lively pair experienced a mutual attraction and soon fell into passionate love.

When Heloise became pregnant, Abelard sent her to his sister, where she gave birth to a boy, Astrolabe. Heloise’s uncle insisted the couple be married. Heloise objected but finally relented, and Abelard also agreed. To protect his career, however, he insisted the marriage remain secret. The spread of gossip, fueled by her uncle, led Abelard to place Heloise in the convent where she had been raised. Consequently, a band of her uncle’s friends attacked Abelard and castrated him. Following that, he became a monk, and Heloise, at his urging, took a nun’s vows and eventually became an abbess.

Abelard

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Abelard’s writings place the guilt for the affair and subsequent tragedy on his unbridled lust and desire to seduce Heloise. Whether or not in taking the total blame he was being protective of Heloise, being truthful, or atoning for his guilt is a matter of contention. Joseph Campbell in The Masks of God: Creative Mythology says Abelard’s relegation of his feelings to mere lust is a failure of love. Campbell says Heloise, however, in her undying and unswerving devotion reached a level of transformative true love:

“She shows us that the womanly, purely human experience of love for a specific living being and the courage to burn for that love were to be the kingdom and the glory of properly human life.”

Abelard’s legacy in history is assured as that of a philosopher, logician, and theologian. Heloise’s legacy lives on, too, as the highly competent head of an abbey and skilled physician in that role. Most of all, however, we remember their great love. We know it through the letters they wrote to each other years later as abbot and abbess and through the descriptions of numerous poets and writers since.

Heloise wrote to him: “Remember (for nothing is forgot by lovers) the time and place in which you first declared your passion and swore you would love me till death. Your words, your oaths, are deeply graven in my heart.”

Here are some of his words to her: “This, unhappy Heloise, is the miserable condition of Abelard. The world, which is generally wrong in its notions, thinks I am at peace, and imagining that I loved you only for the gratification of the senses, have now forgot you. What a mistake is this!”

I love the line from Alexander Pope’s poem about them where Heloise implores Abelard: “Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul,”

What do you think of of lovers Abelard and Heloise? Author Linda Sienkiewicz is as enamored of their story as I am and has some wonderful pictures of their tomb on her website.

GuardianoftheDeep_SM (1)Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance

 

Vintage Friday: Sunrise Semester 1968 by Flossie Benton Rogers

Photo by Alicia copyright 2014

Photo by Alicia copyright 2014

While recently viewing the 2013 final episode of Poirot, which I found as emotionally devastating as the final Agatha Christie Poirot book, PBS presented a promo that triggered a most pleasant memory. In the promo a woman with an impoverished childhood told how PBS had expanded her horizons toward education and success. This reminded me how much I used to love the show Sunrise Semester. Although I had a wonderful and interesting childhood, with highs and lows to be sure, I had a similar uplifting experience. Long before PBS became a household phenomenon, CBS offered a college level program that aired from 6:00-6:30 am during the years 1957 to 1982. While in high school, Sunrise Semester introduced me to the mesmerizing world of British literature.

 To catch the school bus, I didn’t have to roll out of bed until 6:30am, but I invariably got up at 6:00am to listen to what may be termed 18th century Brit Lit on Sunrise Semester while getting dressed. The TV sat in the living room, and I would turn it up loud enough to hear from the bathroom and my bedroom. Every now and then I would peek at the screen to glimpse the college professor giving the program. I loved hearing about authors and poets such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. Up to that point, our school literature classes had not covered those giants. I did have a classic child’s anthology with a smattering of British literature, but it mainly focused on the 19th century author, Charles Dickens, and I reveled in The Pickwick Papers.

Alexander Pope circa 1736

Attributed to Jonathan Richardson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, Sunrise Semester is the point at which I became a lifelong Alexander Pope fan, despite later falling in love with the contrasting romantic poets that came after him. He was a poet of his time and deserves to be read and remembered. There are many Pope quotes that are commonly known, but people have forgotten who said them. Some of these are: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” “The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!” The last lines of his Ode to Solitude read: “Thus let me live unseen, unknown; thus unlamented let me die; steal from the world, and not a stone tell where I lie.” 

I recall the professor talking about Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, wherein Swift suggested the poor people of Ireland should sell their children as food for the rich. Many people were shocked, not realizing it was satire that actually lambasted the uncaring sensibilities of the day toward the poor. This is where I learned what satire was. The prof quoted Jonathan Swift to the effect that he loved individuals but hated mankind. That seemed such a foreign notion to me at the time, and I have never forgotten it. The quote is: “I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth.”

Thank you, Sunrise Semester!

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

 

Vintage Friday: 13 In Love

1972acroppedFOTORClassic poets wrote words of love that still burn within us. To my beloved Ronnie:

“Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born: – you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.”
E.E. Cummings

“If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.”
Anne Bradstreet

“Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
her tolerant enchanted slope.”
W.H. Auden

“In black ink my love may still shine bright.”
Shakespeare

“Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.”
Christina Rossetti

“Loved the pilgrim soul in you,
and loved the sorrows of your changing face.”
William Butler Yeats

“The sunlight claps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea: what are all these kissings worth, if thou kiss not me?”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Such if there be, who loves so long, so well;
Let him our sad, our tender story tell.”

Alexander Pope

“I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Come over the hills and far with me,
and be my love in the rain.”
Robert Frost

“Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee.”
Emily Dickinson

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
Keats

“Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
the very eyes of me.”
Robert Herrick

Cheers & Happy Reading! Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance