Jean-Baptiste Racine. 22 December 1639. Literary movement of Classicalism, Jansenism and legend of the literature of the French Republic.

Jean Baptiste Racine220px-Jean-Baptiste_Racine

For Racine, love closely resembles a physiological disorder. It is a fatal illness with alternating moods of calm and crisis, and with deceptive hopes of recovery or fulfilment (Andromaque, ll. 1441–1448; Phèdre,the final remission culminating in a quick death. Relieve “pangs of despised love” by having (or, in Phèdre’s case, allowing) death. Thus the association with suffering. A Jansenist by birth and education, Racine was deeply influenced by its sense of fatalism.  Jansenism was a Catholic theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin which has been Racine’s tragic vision. The quality of Racine’s poetry is perhaps his greatest contribution to French literature. His use of the alexandrine poetic line is considered exceptional in its harmony, simplicity and elegance. But, being a Christian, he could no longer assume, as did Æschylus and Sophocles, that God is merciless in leading men to a doom which they do not foresee. Instead, destiny  becomes (at least, in the secular plays) the uncontrollable frenzy of unrequited love or  force of sexual passion within the human being; in Racine, a characteristic of tragedy, is not merely an action performed in all good faith which subsequently has the direst consequences (Œdipus’s killing a stranger on the road to Thebes, and marrying the widowed Queen of Thebes after solving the Sphinx’s riddle), nor is it simply an error of judgment (as when Deianira, in the Hercules Furens of  Seneca the Younger, kills her husband when intending to win back his love); it is a flaw of character. His tragic characters are aware of, but can do nothing to overcome, the blemish which leads them on to a catastrophe. And the tragic recognition, or anagnorisis, of wrong-doing is not confined. His main characters are monsters, and stand out in glaring contrast to the regularity of the plays’ structure and versification. His conception of the ambivalence of love: “ne puis-je savoir si j’aime, ou si je haïs? I don’t know if I hate you or love you.” Racine’s work faced many criticisms from his contemporaries. One was the lack of historic veracity in plays such as Britannicus (1669) and Mithridate (1673). Racine was quick to point out that his greatest critics – his rival dramatists – were among the biggest offenders in this respect. Another major criticism levelled at him was the lack of incident in his tragedy Bérénice (1670). Racine’s response was that the greatest tragedy does not necessarily consist in bloodshed and death.

Dhe thora amay, deliver me beloved. Song by Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate. Jayati Chakravorty, vocalist. Raag Bhairavi.

Lady of Shalott

Lady of Shalott censored.

The speech of the Lord.

The speech of the Lord.

Dhē thōrā āmāẏ nūthono korē dhē nūthono ābhoroṇē..Hēmonthēro obhishompāthē riktho kiñchono kānonobhūmi,Boshonthē hōk dain’yabimōchono nobo lāboṇyodhonē. Śhūn’yo śhokhā lojjā bhulē jāk pollobo-ābhoroṇē..Bājuk prēmer māẏāmonthrē Pulokitho prāṇēro bīṇājonthrē Chiroshundorē obhibondona. Ānondhochoñcholo nr̥thyo oṅgē oṅgē bohē jak hillōlē hillōlē, Joubono pākh shom’man bañchithoshom’milonē. Dhe thora amay nuthono kore dhe nuthono abhorone.

Deliver me today in your might.  Autumn insulted is envious of spring whose glory undiminished covers the earth. Listen my friend forget your shame. Fill life with purpose. Hear the songs that re-create love’s belief.  They fill the soul that is always beautiful, holy which the dancing waves bathe. The youth gathers bounty in front of the world. Deliver me today in your might.

Sabarmati Ashram. MK Gandhi.

Sabarmathi Ashram. MK Gandhi.

God’s Holy Perseverance In the face of Evil. Paul to Timothy.

Paul is urging Timothy to endure for the cause of Christ. He gives Timothy the example of the soldier, who works hard to please his master and the farmer, who works for the reward of the harvest, etc. He then quotes a hymn in verses 11-12 that evidently is doctrinally correct to give Timothy further motivation for enduring. What then is the motivation? We must take the structure into account to determine this.

Saint Timothy (ortodox icon)

Saint Timothy (ortodox icon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second thing to consider is the literary structure of the quote. It is quite common in Hebrew literature to see things arranged around a chiasm. It is possibly the case in this passage. And thus we have the following:

a. For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.

b. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him;

b.1 If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

a.1 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

Kazi Nazrul Islam: One of the poets of the past century. Phulero Jalasai.. this banquet of flowers..Vocalist Dhirendra Chandra Mitra.

Phulero jalasai nirob kano kobi..bhorer hawaai kanna paawai tab mlan chobi…, nirob kano…tab mlan chobi, nirob kano.., Je bina tomar kolero kache… bukh bhora sur noye jagiya achae, tomar poroshe, chorath harashe,…akash bathashe tar shurero shuroni, nirob kano…tomar jepriya galo biday niya udash praate tomar je priya, galo bidaye niya abhimane raate golap hoye kaande tahare kamona udash praate pheere je ashibena baulo tahare chaho tahare pane daraai je dare,.astha chander bashona bholathe aruno anurage phutilo robe, nirob kano kobi, tab mlano chobi nirob kano kobi, nirob kano kabi, phuler jalasai, nirob kano kabi.

Amongst this banquet of flowers why are you sorrowful O poet? Near you the songs will come alive, filling the heavens and rain with your mighty voice. Yet you remain desolate, poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. In the dawn’s misty breeze that brought tears you are sorrowful of the picture that appears before you. You want to spread its plight across the world understanding that your song was never to return no matter how long you stood guard. Your beloved left with the insulting night remaining only to cry as a rose.   The musical chord near your heart is filled with song waiting to come alive .  That despair spreads across this world and attempts to make the harvest moon to forget its splendor.  Yet given your love the moon still adores. Why then amongst a banquet of roses you remain alone and desolate, O poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam, (Nazi not.)

Sirach, Not The Holy Bible, 126.

English: introduction to Sirach, codex sinaiti...

English: introduction to Sirach, codex sinaiticus עברית: הקדמת הנכד לספר בן סירא, יוונית, מתוך “קודקס סינאיטיקוס” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Water quenches a flaming fire,
and alms atone for sins.

Horace, Satires 1V A Modest Proposal to Famine, circa 450BC

Ho Catius! whence and whither?

Catius. Not to-day:
I cannot stop to talk: I must away
To set down words of wisdom, which surpass
The Athenian sage and deep Pythagoras.

Horace. Faith, I did ill at such an awkward time
To cross your path; but you’ll forgive the crime:
If you’ve lost aught, you’ll get it back ere long
By nature or by art; in both you’re strong.

Catius. Ah, ’twas a task to keep the whole in mind,
For style and matter were alike refined.

Horace. But who was lecturer? tell me whence he came.

Catius. I give the precepts, but suppress the name.
The oblong eggs by connoisseurs are placed
Above the round for whiteness and for taste:
Procure them for your table without fail,
For they’re more fleshy, and their yolk is male.
The cabbage of dry fields is sweeter found
Than the weak growth of washed-out garden ground.
Should some chance guest surprise you late at night,
For fear the new-killed fowl prove tough to bite,
Plunge it while living in Falernian lees,
And then ’twill be as tender as you please.
Mushrooms that grow in meadows are far best;
You can’t be too suspicious of the rest.
He that would pass through summer without hurt
Should eat a plate of mulberries for dessert,
But mind to pluck them in the morning hour,
Before the mid-day sun exerts its power.
Aufidius used Falernian, rich and strong,
To mingle with his honey: he did wrong:
For when the veins are empty, ’tis not well
To pour in fiery drinks to make them swell:
Mild gentle draughts will better do their part
In nourishing the cockles of the heart.
In costive cases, limpets from the shell
Are a cheap way the evil to dispel,
With groundling sorrel: but white Coan neat
You’ll want to make the recipe complete.
For catching shell-fish the new moon’s the time,
But there’s a difference between clime and clime;
Baiae is good, but to the Lucrine yields;
Circeii ranks as best for oyster-fields;
Misenum’s cape with urchins is supplied;
Flat bivalve mussels are Tarentum’s pride.
Let no man fancy he knows how to dine
Till he has learnt how taste and taste combine.
‘Tis not enough to sweep your fish away
From the dear stall, and chuckle as you pay,
Not knowing which want sauce, and which when broiled
Will tempt a guest whose appetite is spoiled.
The man who hates wild boars that eat like tame
Gets his from Umbria, genuine mast-fed game:
For the Laurentian beast, that makes its fat
Off sedge and reeds, is flavourless and flat.
The flesh of roes that feed upon the vine
Is not to be relied on when you dine.
With those who know what parts of hare are best
You’ll find the wings are mostly in request.
Fishes and fowls, their nature and their age,
Have oft employed the attention of the sage;
But how to solve the problem ne’er was known
By mortal palate previous to my own.
There are whose whole invention is confined
To novel sweets: that shows a narrow mind;
As if you wished your wines to be first-rate,
But cared not with what oil your fish you ate.
Put Massic wine to stand ‘neath a clear sky
All night, away the heady fumes will fly,
Purged by cool air: if ’tis through linen strained,
You spoil the flavour, and there’s nothing gained.
Who mix Surrentine with Falernian dregs
Clear off the sediment with pigeons’ eggs:
The yolk goes down; all foreign matters sink
Therewith, and leave the beverage fit to drink.
‘Tis best with roasted shrimps and Afric snails
To rouse your drinker when his vigour fails:
Not lettuce; lettuce after wine ne’er lies
Still in the stomach, but is sure to rise:
The appetite, disordered and distressed,
Wants ham and sausage to restore its zest;
Nay, craves for peppered viands and what not,
Fetched from some greasy cookshop steaming hot.
There are two kinds of sauce; and I may say
That each is worth attention in its way.
Sweet oil’s the staple of the first; but wine
Should be thrown in, and strong Byzantine brine.
Now take this compound, pickle, wine, and oil,
Mix it with herbs chopped small, then make it boil,
Put saffron in, and add, when cool, the juice
Venafrum’s choicest olive-yards produce.
In taste Tiburtian apples count as worse
Than Picene; in appearance, the reverse.
For pots, Venucule grapes the best may suit:
For drying, Albans are your safer fruit.
‘Twas I who first, authorities declare,
Served grapes with apples, lees with caviare,
White pepper with black salt, and had them set
Before each diner as his private whet.
‘Tis gross to squander hundreds upon fish,
Yet pen them cooked within too small a dish.
So too it turns the stomach, if there sticks
Dirt to the bowl wherein your wine you mix;
Or if the servant, who behind you stands,
Has fouled the beaker with his greasy hands.
Brooms, dish-cloths, saw-dust, what a mite they cost!
Neglect them though, your reputation’s lost.
What? sweep with dirty broom a floor inlaid,
Spread unwashed cloths o’er tapestry and brocade,
Forgetting, sure, the less such things entail
Of care and cost, the more the shame to fail,
Worse than fall short in luxuries, which one sees
At no man’s table but your rich grandees’?

Horace. Catius, I beg, by all that binds a friend,
Let me go with you, when you next attend;
For though you’ve every detail at command,
There’s something must be lost at second hand.
Then the man’s look, his manner–these may seem
Mere things of course, perhaps, in your esteem,
So privileged as you are: for me, I feel
An inborn thirst, a more than common zeal,
Up to the distant river-head to mount,
And quaff these precious waters at their fount.