[ilds] RG Bitter Lemons -- hermaphrodites (the double blossom of two fruitless flowers)

Marc Piel marcpiel at interdesign.fr
Fri Jul 6 12:12:40 PDT 2007


Thank you Charles!
Marc

slighcl wrote:

> So what authorities to cite on Hermaphrodites?  Why fool around?  I will 
> go to the top in order to get to the bottom of this.
> 
> 
> 1)  From the Book of El Skob:
> 
>         His letters were full of fantastic animadversions against Jews
>         (who were always referred to jeeringly as "snipcocks') and,
>         surprisingly enough, to passive pederasts (whom he labeled
>         "Herms", i.e. Hermaphrodites.  (Justine 4.2)
> 
> 
> 2) From Swinburne:
> 
>                     Hermaphroditus (Poems and Ballads, 1866)
> 
>                         I.
> 
>             LIFT UP thy lips, turn round, look back for love,
>                 Blind love that comes by night and casts out rest;
>                 Of all things tired thy lips look weariest,
>             Save the long smile that they are wearied of.
>             Ah sweet, albeit no love be sweet enough,
>                 Choose of two loves and cleave unto the best;
>                 Two loves at either blossom of thy breast
>             Strive until one be under and one above.
>             Their breath is fire upon the amorous air,
>                 Fire in thine eyes and where thy lips suspire:
>             And whosoever hath seen thee, being so fair,
>                 Two things turn all his life and blood to fire;
>             A strong desire begot on great despair,
>                 A great despair cast out by strong desire.
> 
>                         II.
> 
>             Where between sleep and life some brief space is,
>                 With love like gold bound round about the head,
>                 Sex to sweet sex with lips and limbs is wed,
>             Turning the fruitful feud of hers and his
>             To the waste wedlock of a sterile kiss;
>                 Yet from them something like as fire is shed
>                 That shall not be assuaged till death be dead,
>             Though neither life nor sleep can find out this.
>             Love made himself of flesh that perisheth
>                 A pleasure-house for all the loves his kin;
>             But on the one side sat a man like death,
>                 And on the other a woman sat like sin.
>             So with veiled eyes and sobs between his breath
>                 Love turned himself and would not enter in.
> 
>                         III.
> 
>             Love, is it love or sleep or shadow or light
>                 That lies between thine eyelids and thine eyes?
>                 Like a flower laid upon a flower it lies,
>             Or like the night’s dew laid upon the night.
>             Love stands upon thy left hand and thy right,
>                 Yet by no sunset and by no moonrise
>                 Shall make thee man and ease a woman’s sighs,
>             Or make thee woman for a man’s delight.
>             To what strange end hath some strange god made fair
>                 The double blossom of two fruitless flowers?
>             Hid love in all the folds of all thy hair,
>                 Fed thee on summers, watered thee with showers,
>             Given all the gold that all the seasons wear
>                 To thee that art a thing of barren hours?
> 
>                         IV.
> 
>             Yea, love, I see; it is not love but fear.
>                 Nay, sweet, it is not fear but love, I know;
>                 Or wherefore should thy body’s blossom blow
>             So sweetly, or thine eyelids leave so clear
>             Thy gracious eyes that never made a tear—
>                 Though for their love our tears like blood should flow,
>                 Though love and life and death should come and go,
>             So dreadful, so desirable, so dear?
>             Yea, sweet, I know; I saw in what swift wise
>                 Beneath the woman’s and the water’s kiss
>             Thy moist limbs melted into Salmacis,
>                 And the large light turned tender in thine eyes,
>             And all thy boy’s breath softened into sighs;
>                 But Love being blind, how should he know of this?
> 
>                         Au Musée du Louvre, Mars 1863.
> 
> 
> -- 
> **********************
> Charles L. Sligh
> Department of English
> Wake Forest University
> slighcl at wfu.edu
> **********************
> 
> 
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> 
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