SiStan ChapLee

Friday, May 26, 2017

[GBM] Love's spa

From Gustave Dore's illustrations
for Orlando Furioso

After resting his first night in Cyprus, Adonis reaches the royal palace of Venus (that is not the same as her temple in the island) and/or palace of Love, a most exclusive spa. The fact that it outshines the Sun's is a jibe against Apollo, the main antagonist of the goddess of love in the poem, especially after the Homeric episode of Vulcan's net. As for Venus' palace, it would be difficult to describe its shape: in fact, it will vary in the different sections of the poem, probably because Marino worked out different patterns in different times. Here in canto 2 it looks like a square castle with four towers in its corners, plus a spherical building in its middle. There are four gardens within the walls, and a garden inside the sphere. The towers and the sphere symbolize the five senses, the main sense being Touch.


Even if, as usual, there appears shut
the main entrance of the residence,
the powerful outward light of that
superb building does dazzle Adonis.
The Sun's most famous royal palace
as compared to its shiny splendor
would look mean and dark; the young man's     Adonis'
bosom is filled with endless amazement.

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