Thursday, August 10, 2006

luna radar anul

Lady Luna, in light canoe,
By friths and shallows of fretted cloudland
Cruises monthly; with chrism of dews
And drench of dream, a drizzling glamour,
Enchants us--the cheat! changing sometime
A mind to madness, melancholy pale,
Bleached with gazing on her blank count'nance
Orb'd and ageless. In earth's bosom
The shower of her rays, sharp-feathered light
Reaching downward, ripens silver,
Forming and fashioning female brightness,
--Metal maidenlike. Her moist circle
Is nearest earth. (1-13)

The moon is, cosmography-wise, the first planet of the medieval solar system. She represents the boundary between Earth and the celestial spheres; Lewis remarks that we’ll not get much out of the metaphysical poets (like Donne) if we don’t know what they mean by “sub-“ and “trans-lunary.”

The moon is also associated with lunacy, madness, a wandering of the mind. I’m not 100% positive about all the connections between these ideas of the moon, but it’s not outside our purpose of exploring Lewis’ use of the lunar “atmosphere” to think of the lunatic as someone wandering between the various celestial planes and losing their way.

"Little Game" part three...

The Sun comes next in our parade of heavenly spheres. Sol is associated with Apollo, the god of wisdom and philosophy; alchemically the rays of sunlight produce gold in the earth. (Strangely enough, it was not Apollo who gave King Midas his golden touch; after Midas preferred Pan'’s music in a competition, Apollo gave him the ears of an Ass. The golden touch was a gift of Dionysus.)

The poem'’s solar section is short and sweet:

Far beyond [venus]
The heaven's highway hums and trembles,
Drums and dindles, to the driv'n thunder
Of SOL's chariot, whose sword of light
Hurts and humbles; beheld only
Of eagle's eye. When his arrow glances
Through mortal mind, mists are parted
And mild as morning the mellow wisdom
Breathes o'er the breast, broadening eastward
Clear and cloudless. In a clos'd garden
(Unbound her burden) his beams foster
Soul in secret, where the soil puts forth
Paradisal palm, and pure fountains
Turn and re-temper, touching coolly
The uncomely common to cordial gold;
Whose ore also, in earth's matrix,
Is print and pressure of his proud signet
On the wax of the world. He is the worshipp'd male,
The earth's husband, all-beholding,
Arch-chemic eye. (38-57)

There'’s a lot going on with the sun-imagery that we didn'’t get into with our seminar. I'll have to come back to this one and look at it further.

Really it i’s one of the most obvious of the planets, not that hard to “figure out once you'’ve read the right things. Specifically, this planet'’s connection is given away in the title of the corresponding book; the last few chapters are also very easy to connect when you think about what's happening. I'll give one further hint: Apollo is known in myth as a dragon-killer.

The time has come...

My time in Oxford has been over for almost a month now, but I've decided that I like blogging enough to continue thrusting my rambling banter upon the unsuspecting world. The title of this blog is adverse to its purpose, Therefore, I will remove the more recent postings from this site and continue my writing on a different site:

The 'blog you are reading will remain as a chronicle of my journeys in England.

I will try to finish expanding the record of my time in Oxford with the rest of the images from my trip and some more complete descriptions. I have quite a few collections of images I intended to stitch together for a more panoramic view of England; we shall see if my photoshop skills are up to snuff. I shall also finish the C.S. Lewis commentary, though I have my doubts about any continued interest. (Posterity is, as always, the most captive audience.)

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