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David Hines [userpic]

APED: "eurydice"

March 29th, 2009 (10:34 pm)

mkcs requested a poem about Eurydice.

Through the cavern, up to sunlight,
from the darkness. Show the way.
Love, keep singing. Lead me onward.
Take up the kithara. Play.
Don't believe that you've been cheated.
Charon whispered that. He lies.
His only pleasure. Love, don't heed it.
Look forward, now. Keep fixed your eyes.
I'd speak to you if they'd allow it.
They don't. So I wish. Nothing more.
Keep faith in me. You've never doubted.
Never once, at least, before.
The entrance nears -- it's warm, the sunlight!
Strange, the dead don't feel the lack.
The outside world. Oh, what a sight!
We're almost there, love. Don't look --


Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: March 30th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)

One of my favorite stories. The story shows the true curse and pain of being human - we are flawed and will fail.

But at the same time, the passage from the Georgics describing the song Orpheus sang that made the nymphs and gods weep, and even moved the hearts of the guardians of the underworld is one of the most beautiful things I think ever written.

At cantu commotae Erebi de sedibus imis
umbrae ibant tenues simulacraque luce carentum,
quam multa in foliis avium se milia condunt
vesper ubi aut hibernus agit de montibus imber,
matres atque viri defunctaque corpora vita
magnanimum heroum, pueri innuptaeque puellae,
impositique rogis iuvenes ante ora parentum,
quos circum limus niger et deformis harundo
Cocyti tardaque palus inamabilis unda
alligat et noviens Styx interfusa coercet.
Quin ipsae stupuere domus atque intima Leti
tartara caeruleosque implexae crinibus angues
Eumenides, tenuitque inhians tria Cerberus ora
atque Ixionii vento rota constitit orbis.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 31st, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)

Note to self: brush up on my Latin.

Posted by: Maire (mkcs)
Posted at: March 30th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
Thank you!

She's so very different from Dame Heurodis (and has such a sad ending!), but it's a much, much more powerful story because of the differences. (I've just been reading 'Sir Orfeo' with a friend, over a series of Sunday evenings. It's the Middle English version of the same myth, except that Orfeo the harpist, King of Winchester, succeeds in bringing his wiif back from the fairies, since fairies are easier to trick than Hades).

It's rare to see Eurydice given opinions or feelings during the time she follows Orpheus, I think. The versions I've read have all had her as more of a potential than a real person at that point -- shade more than woman, more image than a shade, to misquote Yeats. I like this one. She didn't ask for the task of following him silently, but she's doing so well, and if only...

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 31st, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)

Welcome! Yeah, I thought of doing Orpheus, but then I realized we're led to identify with Orpheus in a lot of versions. And really, it must have sucked even more for her...

Posted by: cyano (cyano)
Posted at: March 30th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)

Very nice.

It's a story that I think we can all relate to, sadly enough.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: April 1st, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)

Sadly. At least I'll give Orpheus this much: he didn't walk out looking backward the whole way...

Posted by: San Grail (san_grail)
Posted at: April 2nd, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)

That's beautiful!

More specific -
it has lovely meter, and a most suitable ending.


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