Heu miser! quia frequenter impeditus ero deinceps.–Dante, La Vita Nuova
I love Ezra Pound for several reasons. He introduces you to many great artists and poets. I’ve known about Pre-Raphaelite artist, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, for years, but Pound has nudged me into finally spending some time with this tragic figure. Read Chapter VII (on Dante) of Pound’s The Spirit of Romance, in which The New Life translation he uses is DGR’s.
This is just one of DGR’s many paintings and I’ve chosen it because I’m currently reading his translation of Dante Alighieri’s The New Life, perhaps the greatest testament to Love written hitherto by anyone (OK, I haven’t read the Beatrice-guided Paradiso yet).
If you’re looking for an antidote to these MOX-powered usurious times, consider The New Life, as it takes a man’s attraction for a beautiful woman to Heaven. When Newt Gingrich speaks you feel sick. When Dante speaks his words fuel an inner vision that, if constantly fed, can lead to… The New Life‘s central altar is Beatrice, whom Dante meets for the first time at a May Feast in Florence in 1274 when he was 9 and she 8.
Healthy men all know the feeling of being blown away by a beautiful woman. There is a hierarchy of the intensity involved. Since the invention of the car, I’m sure many fatal accidents have been caused by men beholding women. At the bottom dense end of the pole of such experiences, you have sexy porn stars like Chanel Preston. At the other causal end, you have Beatrice, gateway into the New Life with its Lord, Amor.
All my thoughts always speak to me of Love,
Yet have between themselves such difference
That while one bids me bow with mind and sense,
A second saith, “Go to: look thou above”;
The third one, hoping, yields me joy enough:
And with the last come tears, I scarce know whence;
All of them craving pity in sore suspense,
Trembling with fears that the heart knoweth of.
And thus, being all unsure which path to take,
Wishing to speak I know not what to say,
And lose myself in amorous wanderings:
Until, (my peace with all of them to make,)
Unto mine enemy I needs must pray,
My Lady Pity, for the help she brings.