If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Thursday 14 February 2013
Read gnomica 1-250 here!
I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet
and the river jumps over the mountain
and the salmon sing in the street.
W. H. Auden (21 Feb 1907 – 29 Sep 1973)
Today is Valentine’s Day!
Today — as I commemorate St. Valentinus, a saint from the third century of our era – I, rather than hold forth as usual, roam in time and space and defer to some explicit as well as allusive citations varyingly appropriate to this amatory occasion. Let each – like Auden’s adunaton (ἀδύνατον) — privately speak its suggestive message to you about the subject at hand, and let each merit our pensive attention.
Today, here linger late … and love a little!
τίς δὲ βίος, τί δὲ τερπνὸν ἄτερ χρυσῆς Ἀφροδίτης;
τεθναίην, ὅτε μοι μηκέτι ταῦτα μέλοι,
κρυπταδίη φιλότης καὶ μείλιχα δῶρα καὶ εὐνή …
What is life, what is delight without golden Aphrodite?
May I die when these no longer interest me –
secret love and gentle gifts and bed …
Mimnermus (late 7th century BCE)
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum …
Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred,
the another thousand, then a second hundred,
then still another thousand, then a hundred …
Catullus (c. 84 – 54 BCE)
zhèng shì jiāng nán hǎo fēng jǐng
luò huā shí jié yòu féng jūn
Truly the landscape south of the river is good,
I meet you again in the season of falling blossom.
Du Fu (712 – 770 CE) and here.
[On “my Chinese” see my Full Disclosure at end of this piece.]
As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.
William Shakespeare (26 Apr 1564 – 23 Apr 1616)
Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies.
John Donne (1572 – 31 Mar 1631)
Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît pas.
The heart has its reasons that reason recognizes not.
Blaise Pascal (19 Jun 1623 – 19 Aug 1662)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach …
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (6 Mar 1806 – 29 Jun 1861)
Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
Robert Frost (26 Mar 1874 – 29 Jan 1963)
O! Könnt ich, was ich fühle, könnt ichs sagen! –
Doch keine Sprach’ ist mir dazu verliehn,
Ah, if I could only say what I feel, if I just could —
But no language’s been granted me for that …
Rainer Maria Rilke (4 Dec 1875 – 29 Dec 1926)
Love came to us in time gone by
When one at twilight shyly played
And one in fear was standing nigh — –
For Love at first is all afraid.
James Joyce (2 Feb 1882 – 13 Jan 1941)
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
T. S. Eliot (26 Sep 1888 – 4 Jan 1965)
Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.
e e cummings (14 Oct 1894 – 3 Sep 1962)
guárdame tu dulzura.
Yo te daré también
But wait for me,
keep for me your sweetness.
I will give you too
Pablo Neruda (12 Jul 1904 – 23 Sep 1973)
Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
Joan Crawford (23 Mar 1905 – 10 May 1977)
The true beloveds of this world are in their lover’s eyes lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells, a landscape, remembered conversations, friends, …
Truman Capote (30 Sep 1924 – 25 Aug 1984)
I want to kiss you.
Amy Uyematsu (1947 – )