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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

[GBM] Magic inconsistencies

Now Marino adds a new 'explanation' for Venus falling in love with Adonis -- the long poem Adone accumulates all sorts of materials, often from drafts that Marino kept in store for other projects, or for previous versions of this same poem; and sometimes the different versions are not, or not fully consistent with one another. This is part of the charm of Adone, as well as a true metaphor of the world. In this case, the power of a written name recalls the rules of magic. The term sen (seno) that appears in line 6 usually did not mean, in poetry's Italian, "breast" as it does nowadays in the common parlance, but "womb." See e.g. the Italian text of the Catholic prayer Ave Maria ("Hail, Mary"), where the words ventris tui, from Luke 1.42, have been translated as seno tuo.


Achy and indignant, she tears away
the arrow, sticking in her sexy side,
and there, between the feathers and the tip
she finds the written name, "Adonis."
Observing and minding the wound, she
then sees her womb is deeply hurt,
and feels in her veins, little by little,
a lustful fire that snaking grows.

A noticeable parallel with Dante, Purgatorio 28,64-6 (Longfellow version):

I do not think there shone so great a light
under the lids of Venus, when transfixed
by her own son, beyond his usual custom!

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