ENGL 514Dr. Fike
Page 116: “Recklessness” is a poor translation. See page 233 for a good definition: “‘courtly grace which conceals a sober purpose and is, indeed, the mark of consummate artistry.’”Cf. Sidney’sApology.
Consider the text as being like a bike wheel: it is an interesting hubin itself andputs out spokes in various directions that will help us 1) understand the text and 2) make connections to texts that we have previously studied (and will study).
Plato’s Ladder of Love (Symposium)
(Neo-Platonism: Love of God)Love of the Form of Beauty [Courtier 126: “beauty is bodiless”]Love of the Beauty of philosophyLove of the Beauty of knowledgeLove of the Beauty of laws and institutionsLove of the Beauty of the soul (even in an unlovely body)Love of the Beauty of all bodiesLove of the Beauty of an individual body
LOL Is WhatBemboIs Talking About
Page 121: “the lowermost step of the stairs, by which a man may ascend to true love”Page 129: “a stair, as it were, to climb up to another far higher than it”
Notes on the LOL
When you move up the latter, you move toward virtue and away from physicality.This movement is like getting out of Plato’s famous cave.Pages 130-31: “shadows of beauty” and “the shadow of sensual beauty”
The nature of man:Hamlet2.2.294-311
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like a angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!”Three types of souls on page 131: vegetable, sensible, rational.What does Hamlet tell us about the human condition? Do you see a parallel inThe Courtier? See page 119, line 5.
“O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason,Would have mourned longer. . . .”Note the similar language inThe Courtier: page 120, lines 31-32; and page 130, line 32.What seems to be the point that is being made about the human condition?
Shakespeare and the LOL
Sonnet 129:Lust is “Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust, / Enjoyed no sooner butdespisèdstraight, / Past reason hunted, and no sooner had / Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait / On purpose laid to make the taker mad; / Mad in pursuit, and in possession so; / Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme,” etc.Sonnet 147: “My love is as a fever . . . My reason, the physician to my love . . . Hath left me . . . Desire is death . . . Past cure I am, now reason is past care.”The Courtier, page 125, line 14: “it isunpossiblefor love to stand with reason.”Shakespeare,MSND3.1.138-39: Bottom says that “reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”What is the complicating factor in the human condition? Do you see a parallel inThe Courtieron page 120, lines 5 and 15ff.?
The Courtier, page 124: “so the sight is deceived andjudgetha face beautiful which indeed is not beautiful. And because in the eyes and in the whole countenance of some woman a manbeholdethotherwilea certain lavish wantonness painted, with dishonestflickerings. . . Call it beauty; but indeed it is a cloakedunshamefastness[immodesty], unworthy of so honorable and holy a name.”The parallel inFQis__________. See top of page 125.
Political Analogy:Shakespeare,Troilus and Cressida1.3.75ff.
“The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center / Observe degree, priority, and place, /Insisture[steady continuance on a path], course, proportion, season, form, / Office, and custom, in all line of order.”“O, when degree isshaked, / Which is the ladder of all high designs, / The enterprise is sick. . . . Take but degree away,untunethat string, / And hark what discord follows.”InThe Courtier, what corresponding point do you find on page 123, esp. in lines 10-25. Note the key word: “order.”
Ulysses, of course, is talking about politics and the state, but the psyche must also be properly ruled:ReasonWillPassionPage 123, line 24:microcosm: “man, which may be called a little world.”
The Courtier, pages 119-20: How doesBembodescribe sensual love here?TurmoilEros/lustProjectionCathexisAbandonmentSex addictionOkay for a young man but not for an older man
How doesRedcrosseillustrate this stage? See especiallyThe Courtier, page 132.I.i.10-11: “Butwandertoo and fro inwayesunknowne”; “That path they take, that beatenseemdmost bare, / And like to lead thelabyrinthabout” (emphases added).How aboutGuyonas a counterpoint? See “temperance” inThe Courtier, page 126, line 27.
Need To Move up on the LOL
Middle rung: Love of the soul—sight and hearing are active (page 126), but reason dominates. Reason > the senses. Virtue is one of the byproducts. Kissing is a way of becoming united in soul and body with a woman (page 127).
Amoretti, Sonnet 64: “Commingtokisseherlyps, (such grace I found) / MeseemdI smelt agardinof sweetflowres,” etc.V&A, stanza 90: “Her arms do lend his neck a sweet embrace; / Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face,” etc. “Incorporate” = united into one body.DF, scene 12, line 83-84: “Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss: / Her lips sucks forth my soul, see where it flies!”FQII.xii.73: “And oft incliningdownewith kisses light . . . And through his humid eyes didsuckehisspright, / Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd.”AreShakespeare, Marlowe, and Spenser talking about the same thing thatBembohas in mind?
Bemboon Beauty:The Courtier, page 122
“[B]eautyis always good.” Goodness is the center. Beauty is the circle around it. (One suspects here that goodness = God.)119: senses122 and 131: circle122:colocagathiaorkalokagathia
Duessais described: “That hermisshapédparts did them appall, / A loathly,wrinckledhag, illfavoured, old, / Whose secret filth good mannersbiddethnot be told.”She is bald, filthy. Her gums are rotting. She smells. Her skin is wrinkled and scabby. She has a fox’s tail. Etc.The Courtier, page 123: “The foul, therefore, for the most part be also evil, and the beautiful good.”
Sonnets We Have Read
Spenser,Amoretti79, re. the “vertuousmind”: “That is truebeautie: that doth argue you / To be divine and borne of heavenly seed: / Derived from thatfayreSpirit, from whom al true / And perfect beauty did at first proceed.”Sidney,Astropheland Stella, no. 5:True, that truebeautievirtue is indeed,Whereof thisbeautiecan be but a shade,Which, elements with mortal mixture breed.True, that on earth we are but pilgrims made,And should insouleup to ourcountreymoue:True, and yet true that I mustStellaloue.Where would you place this statement on the LOL?
Highest Rung on the LOL
Understanding enables access to heavenly beauty.Page 132: “the beginning and end of all goodness.”Beauty = goodness.Being less rigorous of body and more refined of spirit (because reason restrains sense, as on 120), old men can love “without slander” and “more happily than young men” (118).Heavenly love is described on 131 as “this most holy fire in souls.”
Imagination Helps Us up the Ladder
See pages 128-29: Imagination helps us climb the stairs toward “universal beauty.” It helps the courtier to recapture the beloved’s image and enjoy it despite her physical absence. But on 129 it allows one to “fashion within himself that beauty much more fair than it is indeed.”Theseusin Shakespeare’sMSND5.1.12-17:The lover, all as frantic,Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.………………………………………………………..The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;And as imagination bodies forthThe forms of things unknown, the poet’s penTurns them to shapes and gives to airy nothingA local habitation and a name.Are Shakespeare andBembotalking about the same thing?
An Even Higher Type of Experience
The Courtier, page 133: Saint Paul. See lines 21 and 31.1 Cor. 2.9: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, / nor the heart of man conceived, / what God has prepared for those who love him.”1 Cor. 15.40, 44: “There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.”2 Cor. 12.2: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”Shakespeare,MSND4.1.209-12: “The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.”
Chart (see pages 118-19)
Spenser’s “AnHymneinHonovrofBeavtie” (GH, page 351ff.)
The poem begins with mention of “thy ragingfyre” for “Motherdeare,” Beauty, who is addressed. SeeThe Courtier, page 132: “heavenly beauty” and “the holy fury of love.” Cf. Sidney 308: “a divine fury.” Also, SpenserSC, “October,”headnote(page 524): “Enthousiasmos.”“[E]ueryearthy thing partakes” in “perfectBeautie.”Earthly beauty, however, “shall quickly fade / Andpasseaway.”“ThatBeautieis not, as fond menmisdeeme, / An outwardshewof things, thatonelyseeme.”“But that fairelampe, from whosecelestiallray / That lightproceedes, whichkindlethlouersfire, / Shallneuerbeextinguishtnor decay.”
More of Spenser’s “Hymne”
Thereof it comes, that these fairesoules, whichhaueThe most resemblance of thatheauenlylight,Frame tothemseluesmost beautiful andbraueTheir fleshlybowre, most fit for their delight,And thegrossematter by asouerainemightTempers so trim, that it may well beseene,Apallacefit for such a virginQueene.END