³ a set of ³actual events´ within the ³allegorical superstructure´ of the sonnet´

Body s Beauty (CONNECTED TO SOUL S BEAUTY, LIFE-IN-LOVE) It is told about Lilith, who is Adam s first wife, and also the witch he loved before the gift of Eve, that her sweet tongue could deceive (people) before that of the snake. Moreover, her enchanted hair was the first gold. And she still sits while being young while the earth is old, and subtly contemplative of herself. At the same time she draws men to watch the bright web she can weave, till heart and body and life are in its [the bright web s] hold. The rose and poppy are her flowers; Where there are shed scent, soft-shed kisses and soft sleep which can snare people, there are men. Look! While that young man s eyes burned at your eyes, your spell went through him just like that. And bent his straight neck, and left a strangling golden hair around his heart.

The details in the poem reproduce those in the painting, except that DGR repeatedly alludes to the legendary and mythic materials that inspired him to paint the picture.

The poem should be compared with DGR's translation of a passage from Goethe (Lilith²from Goethe) and of course with his major work on this subject, ³Eden Bower´.

Soul s Beauty (CONNECTED TO BODY S BEAUTY Life is a woman. Love and death, terror and mystery are guarding her shrine under her arch. There, I saw Beauty sitting at the shrine s throne. Although her gaze (her eyes) struck me with awe, I drew it in as simply as my breath. [He draws it on the canvas; He draws air to breathe, to live.]

hand. Look at yourself without this lady. 6). But it is in this lady s lips and hands and eyes. DEATH-IN-LOVE) Your life is not in your body. And you have long known her from her flying hair and fluttering hem. And this following is very passionate. Life-in-Love (CONNECTED TO BODY S BEAUTY. Death. Here it would be fair to say that the textual work more fully illustrates DGR's ideal of the ³double work of art´: for it is the textual work that so brilliantly doubles itself as at once a textual and a pictorial event. or woman. for which this sonnet was written. nor its radiance even in death. And your voice and hand still shake to praise her. which is of course being exemplified in this very instance of DGR's work. Your heart beat and your steps (feet beat) follow her all the time. The sestet (see line 11) evokes the ideal erotic female figures of Botticelli.Beauty s eyes bend both over the sky and beneath the sea to you. This flight is also exciting. And in this change encircled by the changeless night. it enacts the fusion of a textual act and a pictorial one. Life. That poor tress of hair can contain life up to a point [OR EVEN THAT POOR TRESS OF HAIR HAD SO MUCH LIFE??]. which has not lost its color. That fusion then turns to an emblem off all the equations DGR is committed to: the harmonic unity of Love. contained up to a point. the octave's ³Beauty enthroned´ not only references DGR's painting³Sibylla Palmifera´. This life. in various ways. eyes) she gives you life which vivifies which otherwise would be sorrow s servant and death s slave. The doubling centers in the play DGR makes with the words ³drew´ and ³draw´ (lines 4. it was the only thing love could show [in evidence] for heartbeats and for fire-heats [passions] which happened long time ago. The sonnet organizes itself around images of ³the principle of Beauty´ conceived in the form of idealized woman. or sky. Through these (lips. From gathering its source of influence from sea. her eyes can draw her given male slave from her palm and wreath? This is that Lady Beauty. which is encircled by the changeless night. More particularly. the Dante/Botticelli relation serves as a figural analogue for DGR's own ³double work of art´. Literary . Art. and it will last for a long time? In the sonnet. at the same time irretrievable. Poetry. still continues to live with all difficulty even in the middle of the change. lies. The most important of DGR's many wordplays (appearing in various texts). that golden hair. And when stored apart. And try to remember in vain those memories which only lived in a breath of sighs dead-drawn over vanished hours and hours eventual. it recalls any number of traditional Madonna paintings.

In the context of The House of Lifeas a dramatic sequence. That image had Love s wings. And she held this feather to the bearer s lips. there was an image. it functions as a second-order set of figures: i. mine eyes began to be gladdened overmuch with her company. And then she plucked a feather from the bearer s (the image) wing. Then she said to me. however. one of the commonest of DGR's poetic devices. whose web was fair. shook in the banner s folds. calls out her pity for him. to ease his sorrow. and rebuked myself as a base person. by the constant sight of this lady. being observed by the lady of the window. through which thing many times I had much unrest. sounds which can wake Spring up. fighting for it. As in other pastiche texts (and pictures). when birth s dark portal groaned and all was new. your form and hue! Some bewildering sounds. But then a veiled woman came after and grabbed the banner from its staff. and bore Love s banner. as an index or sign of a ³dream´ or fantasmal or imaginary order. Literary The allegorical apparatus is a form of pastiche. And I am Death. Stylistically it has much in common with sonnets like ³Passion and Worship´ and ³A Superscription´. from which no breath came out. Dante's sorrow (over the death of Beatrice). and her sympathy leads him ³often´ to seek her out. whose soul is kept in a private place.e. was wrought nobly O face. On that banner. there is no breath: I and this Love are one.. And this sound s power went through very fast through my heart as the immemorable hour. Dante reflects critically on his behavior: ³At length. Look. .´ Death-in-Love In the group which followed Life. After writing two sonnets to her. this sonnet inevitably recalls the ³Donna della finestra´ episode in Dante's Vita Nuova (see DGR's translation of this famous episode).

(pay attention and write/draw me down). which cannot sleep because of cold commemorative eyes. the Beloved. Mark me. In this respect the sonnet comes as a textual translation of the Rossettian double work of art. And I hold the glass where there is something which had both Life and Love s form to be seen to your eyes. a soft surprise about that winged Peace which lulls the breath of sighs. as if it were a text superscribed over some sort of picture.Superscription Look at (in) my face. the sonnets themselves. The figure holds a shell and a mirror. My name is a future that could not happen. Almost invariably the personal pronouns lie open to several available referents: the key ones are the poet. the Innominata. which are themselves allegorical devices for art. I am also called no-more. how still I am! But if there occurs one moment through your soul. farewell. I hold the dead sea shell which was cast up between your Life s foam-fretted feet to your ear. Iconographic The controlling trope is iconographical: as if a text of some kind were being imagined as an allegorical painting or an allegorical figure in a painting. and turn your face to me so that I can ambush your heart. But my spell is now an intolerable. and the reader. In this case the first person pronoun is primarily identified with the sonnet and/or the picture that the sonnet figurally constructs and/or the (allegorical) figure in that picture who holds the shell and the mirror. Introduction The sonnet is remarkable and has always been admired. but local circumstances continually bring forward other options. too-late. then you shall see me smile. . Its title supplies the initial suggestion that is borne out in the unfolding text: that the object of our attention is a thing to be simultaneously looked at and read. The sonnet is equally a paradigm of the way DGR manipulates pronouns throughout The House of Lifesequence. shaken shadow of ultimate things unuttered (in) the frail screen.

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