Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Excerpt from "The Divine Weeks"

(La Semaine ou Création du Monde)

The rav'ning Kite, whose traine doth well supplie
A Rudders place; the Falcon mounting high,
The Marline, Lanar, and the gentle - Tercell,
Th'Ospray, and Saker, with a nimble Sarcell
Follow the Phoenix, from the Clouds (almost)
At once discovering many an unknowne Coast:
In the swift Ranke of these fell Rovers, flies
The Indian Griffin with the glistring eyes,
Beake Eagle-like, backe sable, Sanguine brest,
White (Swan-like) wings, fierce tallents, alwaies prest
For bloody Battailes; for, with these he teares
Boares, Lyons, Horses, Tigres, Bulls, and Beares:
With these, our Grandames fruitfull panch he pulls,
Whence many an Ingot of pure Gold he culls,
To floore his proud nest, builded strong and steepe
On a high Rock better his thefts to keepe:
With these, he guards against an Armie bold,
The hollow Mines where first he findeth gold,
As wroath, that men upon his right should rove.
Or theevish hands usurp his Tresor-trove.
O! ever may'st thou fight so (valiant Foule)
For this dire bane of our seduced soule,
And (with thee) may the Dardane ants, so ward
The Gold committed to their carefull Guard,
That hence-forth hope-less, mans fraile mind may rest-her
From seeking that, which doth it's Maisters maister..."

Guillaume de Sallust du Bartas ~ 1578


JBelle said...

I love

"for this dire bane of our seduced soul"

and I loved reading this. What made you think of it?

The Fool said...

This has a ring of Paradise Lost to it. I take it from the title that this comes from a creation telling. Please, more info. This has gathered more than just JBelle's intrigue. Where did this come from? What an interesting piece...

And an awesome griffin too...

Carla said...

Dear Fool and JBelle, you are not the first to think this has a ring of "Paradise Lost." Indeed, many have suggested that Milton was indebted to Joshua Sylvester's translation of this poem from the French. It was immensely popular in its time and Milton would have been very aware of the piece. In fact, it is often considered the best known literary treatment of creation up until "the fall" before Milton's Paridise Lost.

It is during the 5th and 6th day of Creation that we see the introduction of many fabulous creatures, beginning with the Phoenix and then the Griffin following close behind. I, of course, choose an excerpt treating the creation of the Griffin to match the picture I took of one in Padua (perhaps it was on a university building...I'm no longer quite sure).

De Sallust du Bartas was a French Huguenot poet.

The Fool said...

Thank you, Carla. This is entirely new to me. Is it a long piece in its entirety? How did you happen upon it? Do you know if it's on-line?

Dan said...

Hi Carla! Thanks for visiting my blog last week. You have a really classy blog over here. Some great photos too!

Carla said...

Fool, English and French literature is one of those things I studied way back when. It is a rather long piece so I highly doubt that you will find it in its entirety online. I have, however, found excerpts here and there, you can check out: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/2105.html . I saw what I assume was an antique copy on the web for about $1500 USD. There are some regular used copies on Amazon for about $75. At those prices your best bet would be to see if you could borrow it from a library.

Dan, thanks for stopping by. Come again.

The Fool said...

H'lo Carla...the price is a bit beyond this poor boy's book budget...so I'll check the links, and have a browse through the University stacks. Thanks!

Carla said...

Fool, a little beyond my budget too at this point.

Toby said...

I like the picture, the rest is out of my literary league. I know you're having a great time, wish I was there.