Thursday, August 10, 2006

"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.

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