Consider this a (partial) sequel to last week’s post Amusing Clues As The Mystery Of Robert Browning’s & My Shared “Hush-Hush” Obsession Continues
At the end of this post you will find the prose-form of Act 2, Scene 1 of Robert Browning’s play “Bells & Pomegranates NO. I Pippa Passes”, the part where the naive creative man Jules, on New Years Day, the day he thought he was going to marry the love of his life, finds out that some cruel Fine Arts College students he thought were friendly towards him, collectively impersonated a secret admirer who was too shy to meet him, and have misled him into falling in love with someone who did not exist.
They did this because they thought he was pretentious.
Probably for the same reason, this same thing happened to me, online in 2008, at the hands of some Fine Arts College students from Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, Missouri.
In their cruelty, the characters in the story set Jules up to marry a drag-queen, who was to pretend to be too shy to talk for some time after meeting on the day they were to be married, until after they were married, to humiliate him, finally speaking in a man’s voice some poetry lines the man in drag was paid to recite that Jules was sure to identify as having been written by the student who orchestrated the cruel social experiment, intending for a clear connection to be made from it to the writing style behind the letters Jules thought he was getting daily from the person he thought he had fallen in love with.
The man in drag had pity on the naive Jules though, and tells Jules the truth. Jules is grief-stricken, psychologically traumatized, and decides to displace the love he had for an imaginary woman, onto a blue statue of a Siren he made that he decides to name Kate, after hearing a story about Queen Kate through the window from a magical girl who goes by many names, though to those who see her that day, is known as Pippa.
Pippa sings a song describing Kate as a Queen who is running away from her rightful throne to a life by the sea. Pippa is like a benevolent Siren, as she blesses those who hear her song. She blesses Jules in swaying him to decide that instead of a life of sculpting, he is going to from then on, paint, and paint pictures of the siren Kate, and commits himself to spending his life looking for a woman that looks just like her, as Jules is so scarred by the psychological trauma that he has undergone, he believes himself to be unable to ever love again, except for his Siren Kate.
You find out at the end of the third act of this first part of 8 of Robert’s play series “Bells and Pomegranates” that the singing Pippa looks just like Jules’ Siren, and that though she sings of herself (in 3rd Person) in the last act about her true name being hushed,
“As her . . . name there’s no pronouncing! See this heightened colour too — For she swilled Breganze wine Till her nose turned deep carmine — ‘Twas but white when wild she grew And only by this Zanze’s eyes Of which we could not change the size, The magnitude of what’s achieved Otherwise, may be perceived!’ Oh what a drear, dark close to my poor day! How could that red sun drop in that blackcloud! Ah, Pippa, morning’s rule is moved away, Dispensed with, never more to be allowed! Day’s turn is over: now arrives the night’s.”
…after-which she immediately sings to some birds, including the merle blackbirds, over-which she rules, as can be gleaned from what she says in regards to the fake Jack Frost and the fake Winter queen she passed at dawn in the first act, she rules as what one could call the true Dawn Wintress Queen of New Years Day…
…she is ALSO known by many names other than Pippa, an example being Kate (she mentions earlier, also wanting to marry Jules).
Pippa then refers to a man as brother Howlet as if he is the Dusk King who rules over the bats and owls, the night-flying winged things.
Sound at all familiar as regards my “Sonnets From Hush To Hush”, about the Snow Owl, and Blackrose the Raven Queen who used to be a snowbird, who now rules over the Brimstone Crows?
4 years after Robert Browning’s play was published, shortly after New Year’s Day, he found the courage to write a letter to Elizabeth Barrett, who matches the description of Pippa and the Siren, in early January 1885.
Elizabeth Barrett read Robert Browning’s work, and two months after they started corresponding, on February 17, 1845, she said this in a letter to him, revealing that she picked up on looking like Robert’s singing Siren, and suggesting that she had inspired it, asking him what metre he wrote it in, suggesting she wants to sing Pippa’s songs to Robert:
“And this reminds me to remind you that when I talked of coveting most the authorship of your ‘Pippa,’ I did not mean to call it your finest work (you might reproach me for that), but just to express a personal feeling. Do you know what it is to covet your neighbour’s poetry?—not his fame, but his poetry?—I dare say not. You are too generous. And, in fact, beauty is beauty, and, whether it comes by our own hand or another’s, blessed be the coming of it! I, besides, feel that. And yet—and yet, I have been aware of a feeling within me which has spoken two or three times to the effect of a wish, that I had been visited with the vision of ‘Pippa,’ before you—and confiteor tibi—I confess the baseness of it. The conception is, to my mind, most exquisite and altogether original—and the contrast in the working out of the plan, singularly expressive of various faculty.
Is the poem under your thumb, emerging from it? and in what metre? May I ask such questions?
And does Mr. Carlyle tell you that he has forbidden all ‘singing’ to this perverse and froward generation, which should work and not sing? And have you told Mr. Carlyle that song is work, and also the condition of work? I am a devout sitter at his feet—and it is an effort to me to think him wrong in anything—and once when he told me to write prose and not verse, I fancied that his opinion was I had mistaken my calling,—a fancy which in infinite kindness and gentleness he stooped immediately to correct. I never shall forget the grace of that kindness—but then! For him to have thought ill of me, would not have been strange—I often think ill of myself, as God knows. But for Carlyle to think of putting away, even for a season, the poetry of the world, was wonderful, and has left me ruffled in my thoughts ever since. I do not know him personally at all. But as his disciple I ventured (by an exceptional motive) to send him my poems, and I heard from him as a consequence. ‘Dear and noble’ he is indeed—and a poet unaware of himself; all but the sense of music. You feel it so—do you not? And the ‘dear sir’ has let him have the ‘letter of Cromwell,’ I hope; and satisfied ‘the obedient servant.’ The curious thing in this world is not the stupidity, but the upper-handism of the stupidity. The geese are in the Capitol, and the Romans in the farmyard—and it seems all quite natural that it should be so, both to geese and Romans!
But there are things you say, which seem to me supernatural, for reasons which I know and for reasons which I don’t know. You will let me be grateful to you,—will you not? You must, if you will or not. And also—I would not wait for more leave—if I could but see your desk—as I do your death’s heads and the spider-webs appertaining; but the soul of Cornelius Agrippa fades from me.”
“Typing Antitypes (June 19, 2014 via here)”
by Ry Hakari
“I am ever bravely the
truest version of myself
in all situations” comes
true as shades of blue connect
In a sentence’s middle,
a blend of wish and real
surface and solve the riddle:
everything was first a dream
leaving me what manifests
as memories’ residue
like a blueprint in the dark
on hearts that only sense it’s
endlessness we see in part
The whole has yet to unfold—
It’s reticence is rehearsed
We reenact dreams as told—
sounds absurd—in silence heard
Over Orcana. The House of JULES, who crosses its threshold with PHENE: she is silent, on which JULES begins —
Do not die, Phenel I am yours now, you Are mine now; let fate reach me how she likes, If you’ll not die — so, never die! Sit here — My work-room’s single seat. I overlean This length of hair and lustrous front; they turn Like an entire flower upward: eyes — lips — last Your chin — no, last your throat turns — ’tis their scent Pulls down my face upon you! Nay, look ever This one way till I change, grow you — I could Change into you, Beloved! You by me, And I by you; this is your hand in mine, And side by side we sit: all’s true. Thank God! I have spoken: speak, you!
O, my life to come! My Tydeus must be carved, that’s there in clay; Yet how be carved, with you about the chamber? Where must I place you? When I think that once This room-full of rough block-work seemed my heaven Without you! Shall I ever work again, Get fairly into my old ways again, Bid each conception stand while, trait by trait, My hand transfers its lineaments to stone? Will my mere fancies live near you, my truth — The live truth, passing and repassing me, Sitting beside me? Now speak!
Only, first, See, all your letters! Was’t not well contrived? Their hiding-place is Psyche’s robe; she keeps Your letters next her skin: which drops out foremost? Ah, — this that swam down like a first moonbeam Into my world! Again those eyes complete Their melancholy survey, sweet and slow, Of all my room holds; to return and rest On me, with pity, yet some wonder too — As if God bade some spirit plague a world, And this were the one moment of surprise And sorrow while she took her station, pausing O’er what she sees, finds good, and must destroy! What gaze you at? Those? Books, I told you of; Let your first word to me rejoice them, too: This minion, a Coluthus, writ in red Bistre and azure by Bessarion’s scribe — Read this line . . . no, shame — Homer’s be the Greek First breathed me from the lips of my Greek girl! My Odyssey in coarse black vivid type With faded yellow blossoms ‘twist page and page, To mark great places with due gratitude; ‘He said, and on Antinous directed A bitter shaft’ . . . a flower blots out the rest! Again upon your search? My statues, then! — Ah, do not mind that — better that will look When cast in bronze — an Almaign Kaiser, that, Swart-green and gold, with truncheon based on hip. This, rather, turn to! What, unrecognized? I thought you would have seen that here you sit As I imagined you, — Hippolyta, Naked upon her bright Numidian horse! Recall you this, then? ‘Carve in bold relief’ — So you commanded — ’carve, against I come, A Greek, in Athens, as our fashion was, Feasting, bay-filleted and thunder-free, Who rises ‘neath the lifted myrtle-branch: “Praise those who slew Hipparchus,” cry the guests, “While o’er thy head the singer’s myrtle waves As erst above our champions’: stand up, all!”
‘See, I have laboured to express your thought! Quite round, a cluster of mere hands and arms, (Thrust in all senses, all ways, from all sides, Only consenting at the branch’s end They strain toward) serves for frame to a sole face, The Praiser’s, in the centre — who with eyes Sightless, so bend they back to light inside His brain where visionary forms throng up, Sings, minding not that palpitating arch Of hands and arms, nor the quick drip of wine From the drenched leaves o’erhead, nor crowns cast off, Violet and parsley crowns to trample on — Sings, pausing as the patron-ghosts approve, Devoutly their unconquerable hymn! But you must say a ‘well’ to that that — say, ‘well!’ Because you gaze — am I fantastic, sweet? Gaze like my very life’s-stuff, marble — marbly Even to the silence! why, before I found The real flesh Phene, I inured myself To see, throughout all nature, varied stuff For better nature’s birth by means of art. With me, each substance tended to one form Of beauty — to the human archetype — On every side occurred suggestive germs Of that — the tree, the flower — or take the fruit, — Some rosy shape, continuing the peach, Curved beewise o’er its bough; as rosy limbs, Depending, nestled in the leaves; and just From a cleft rose-peach the whole Dryad sprang. But of the stuffs one can be master of, How I divined their capabilities! From the soft-rinded smoothening facile chalk That yields your outline to the air’s embrace, Half-softened by a halo’s pearly gloom; Down to the crisp imperious steel, so sure To cut its one confided thought clean out Of all the world. But marble! neath my tools More pliable than jelly — as it were Some clear primordial creature dug from depths In the earth’s heart, where itself breeds itself, And whence all baser substance may be worked; Refine it off to air, you may, — condense it Down to the diamond; —is not metal there, When o’er the sudden specks my chisel trips? — Not flesh, as flake off flake I scale, approach, Lay bare those bluish veins of blood asleep? Lurks flame in no strange windings where, surprised By the swift implement sent home at once, Flushes and glowings radiate and hover About its track? Phene? what — why is this? That whitening cheek, those still-dilating eyes! Ah, you will die — I knew that you would die!
PHENE begins, on his having long remained silent.
Now the end’s coming; to be sure, it must Have ended sometime! Tush, why need I speak Their foolish speech? I cannot bring to mind One half of it, besides; and do not care For old Natalia now, nor any of them Oh, you — what are you? — if I do not try To say the words Natalia made me learn, To please your friends, — it is to keep myself Where your voice lifted me, by letting it Proceed: but can it? Even you, perhaps, Cannot take up, now you have once let fall, The music’s life, and me along with that — No, or you would! We’ll stay, then, as we are: Above the world. You creature with the eyes! If I could look for ever up to them, As now you let me, — I believe, all sin, All memory of wrong done or suffering borne, Would drop down, low and lower, to the earth Whence all that’s low comes, and there touch and stay — Never to overtake the rest of me, All that, unspotted, reaches up to you, Drawn by those eyes! What rises is myself, Not so the shame and suffering; but they sink, Are left, I rise above them. Keep me so, Above the world! But you sink, for your eyes Are altering — altered! Stay — ’I love you, love you’ . . . I could prevent it if I understood: More of your words to me: was’t in the tone Or the words, your power? Or stay — I will repeat Their speech, if that contents you! Only, change No more, and I shall find it presently — Far back here, in the brain yourself filled Natalia threatened me that harm would follow Unless I spoke their lesson to the end, But harm to me, I thought she meant, not you Your friends, — Natalia said they were your friends And meant you well, — because, I doubted it, Observing (what was very strange to see) On every face, so different in all else, The same smile girls like us are used to bear, But never men, men cannot stoop so low; Yet your friends, speaking of you, used that smile, That hateful smirk of boundless self-conceit Which seems to take possession of this world And make of God their tame confederate, Purveyor to their appetites . . . you know! But no — Natalia said they were your friends, And they assented while they smiled the more, And all came round me, — that thin Englishman With light, lank hair seemed leader of the rest; He held a paper — ’What we want,’ said he, Ending some explanation to his friends — ‘Is something slow, involved and mystical, To hold Jules long in doubt, yet take his taste And lure him on, so that, at innermost Where he seeks sweetness’ soul, he may find — this! — As in the apple’s core, the noisome fly: For insects on the rind are seen at once, And brushed aside as soon, but this is found Only when on the lips or loathing tongue:
And so he read what I have got by heart — I’ll speak it, — ’Do not die, love! I am yours’ . . .
Stop — is not that, or like that, part of words Yourself began by speaking? Strange to lose What cost such pains to learn! Is this more right?
I am a painter who cannot paint; In my life, a devil rather than saint, In my brain, as poor a creature too: No end to al! I cannot do! Yet do one thing at least I can — Love a man, or hate a man Supremely: thus my lore began. Through the Valley of Love I went, In its lovingest spot to abide, And just on the verge where I pitched my tent, I found Hate dwelling beside. (Let the Bridegroom ask what the painter meant, Of his Bride, of the peerless Bride!) And further, I traversed Hate’s grove, In its hatefullest nook to dwell; But lo, where I flung myself prone, couched Love Where the deepest shadow fell. (The meaning — those black bride’s-eye: above, Not the painter’s lip should tell!)
‘And here,’ said he, ‘Jules probably will ask,
You have black eyes, love, — you are, sure enough, My peerless bride, — so, do you tell, indeed, What needs some explanation — what means this?’
— And I am to go on, without a word —
So, I grew wiser in Love and Hate, From simple, that I was of late. For once, when I loved, I would enlace Breast, eyelids, hands, feet, form and face Of her I loved, in one embrace — As if by mere love I could love immensely! And when I hated, I would plunge My sword, and wipe with the first lunge My foe’s whole life out, like a spunge — As if by mere hate I could hate intensely! But now I am wiser, know better the fashion How passion seeks aid from its opposite passion, And if I see cause to love more, or hate more Than ever man loved, ever hated, before — And seek in the Valley of Love, The spot, or the spot in Hate’s Grove, Where my soul may the sureliest reach The essence, nought less, of each, The Hate of all Hates, or the Love Of all Loves, in its Valley or Grove, — I find them the very warders Each of the other’s borders. I love most, when Love is disguised In Hate; and when Hate is surprised In Love, then I hate most: ask How Love smiles through hate’s iron casque, Hate grins through Love’s rose-braided mask, — And how, having hated thee, I sought long and painfully To wound thee, and not prick The skin, but pierce to the quick — Ask this, my Jules, and be answered straight By thy bride — how the painter Lutwyche can hate!
Lutwyche! who else? But all of them, no doubt, Hated me: they at Venice — presently Their turn, however! You I shall not meet: If I dreamed saying this would wake me! Keep What’s here, this gold — we cannot meet again, Consider — and the money was but meant For two years’ travel, which is over now, All chance, or hope, or care, or need of it! This — and what comes from selling these, my casts And books, and medals, except . . . let them go Together, so the produce keeps you safe, Out of Natalia’s clutches! — If by chance (For all’s chance here) I should survive the gang At Venice, root out all fifteen of them, We might meet somewhere, since the world is wide,
[From without is heard the voice of PIPPA, singing —
Give her but a least excuse to love me! When — where How — can this arm establish her above me, If fortune fired her as my lady there, There already, to eternally reprove me?
(‘Hist’ — said Kate the queen; But ‘Oh’ — cried the maiden, binding her tresses, ‘Tis only a page that carols unseen Crumbling your hounds their messes!’ Is she wronged? — To the rescue of her honour, My heart Is she poor? — What costs it to be styled a donor? Merely an earth’s to cleave, a sea’s to part! But that fortune should have thrust all this upon her!
(‘Nay, list,’-bade Kate the queen; And still cried the maiden, binding her tresses, ‘Tis only a page that carols unseen Fitting your hawks their jesses!’)
JULES resumes —
What name was that the little girl sang forth? Kate? The Cornaro, doubtless, who renounced The crown of Cyprus to be lady here At Asolo, where still the peasants keep Her memory; and songs tell how many a page Pined for the grace of one so far above His power of doing good to, as a queen —
‘She never could be wronged, be poor,’ he sighed, ‘For him to help her!’ Yes, a bitter thing To see our lady above all need of us; Yet so we look ere we will love; not I, But the world looks so. If whoever loves Must he, in some sort, god or worshipper, The blessing or the blest one, queen or page, Why should we always choose the page’s part? Here is a woman with utter need of me, — I find myself queen here, it seems!
How strange! Look at the woman here with the new soul, Like my own Psyche’s, — fresh upon her lips Alit, the visionary butterfly, Waiting my word to enter and make bright, Or flutter off and leave all blank as first. This body had no soul before, but slept Or stirred, was beauteous or ungainly, free From taint or foul with stain, as outward things Fastened their image on its passiveness: Now, it will wake, feel, live — or die again! Shall to produce form out of unshaped stuff Be Art — and, further, to evoke a soul From form, be nothing? This new soul is mine! Now, to kill Lutwyche, what would that do? — save A wretched dauber, men will hoot to death Without me, from their laughter! Oh, to hear God’s voice plain as I heard it first, before They broke in with that laughter! I heard them Henceforth, not God.
To Ancona — Greece — some isle! I wanted silence only: there is clay Everywhere. One may do whate’er one likes In Art: the only thing is, to make sure That one does like it — which takes pains to know. Scatter all this, my Phene — this mad dream! Who, what is Lutwyche, what Natalia’s friends, What the whole world except our love — my own, Own Phene? But I told you, did I not, Ere night we travel for your land — some isle With the sea’s silence on it? Stand aside — I do but break these paltry models up To begin Art afresh. Shall I meet Lutwyche, And save him from my statue’s meeting him? Some unsuspected isle in the far seas! Like a god going through his world there stands One mountain for a moment in the dusk, Whole brotherhoods of cedars on its brow; And you are ever by me while I gaze — Are in my arms as now — as now — as now Some unsuspected isle in the far seas! Some unsuspected isle in far-off seas!