[ilds] Eliot's Burbank, again

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sun Apr 22 18:35:28 PDT 2007


>Does 
>the narrator envision himself as an Antony who will be left high and 
>dry by the musical departure of his God Hercules? 
>
That would be a significant problem, I think.  Even considering the 
narrator's willingness to dream of Justine as one of the great avatars 
of the City--and his dream of her just may well project her into that 
company, even as tawdry as her "reality" perhaps is--it has to be 
ironic.  Antony?  /This /narrator?  Especially Antony as eulogized by 
Shax's Cleo? 

        I dream'd there was an Emperor Antony:     
        O, such another sleep, that I might see     
        But such another man!   
        His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck     
        A sun and moon, which kept their course,     
        and lighted     
        The little O, the earth.
        His legs bestrid the ocean: his rear'd arm     
        Crested the world: his voice was propertied     
        As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;     
        But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,   
        He was as rattling thunder. For his bounty,     
        There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas    
        That grew the more by reaping: his delights     
        Were dolphin-like; they show'd his back above     
        The element they lived in: in his livery  
        Walk'd crowns and crownets; realms and islands were     
        As plates dropp'd from his pocket.

Think of the narrator placing into the position of Antony, a lover 
recalled in those visionary terms, then remember that Justine tells 
Clea, "with a slight shrug: 'I had to put him out of my mind.' (4.3).  
What he learns in Balthazar sinks his Antonian ambitions even further 
into the tepid waters of the estuary.

CLS

-- 
**********************
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu
**********************

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