Tuesday, April 18, 2017

SONNET 4 EXECUTOR: Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend


https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Kloster_F%C3%BCrstenfeld_Heilige_Hyacinthus.JPG


Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thy self thy beauty's legacy?
Nature's bequest gives nothing, but doth lend,
And being frank she lends to those are free:
Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?
Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
For having traffic with thy self alone,
Thou of thy self thy sweet self dost deceive:
Then how when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
   Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee,
   Which, used, lives th' executor to be.



SONNET INDEX


Mnemonic Image: Death, the EXECUTOR

Memory Passage: Beauty's ROSE in a World War I TRENCH is reflected in a GLASS also showing the face of the EXECUTOR, Death


Idiosyncratic Abstract: The Reliquary of St. Death full of Hyacinth Seeds is bequeathed to the Executor


Couplet Imagery: Unused Beauty in a Tomb, Used Beauty in an Executor

Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee,
   Which, used, lives th' executor to be.

What is the image of "unused beauty"? Again, the metaphor of the container and that which it contains. Imagine the reliquary of a saint, but instead of a finger bone, tooth or lock of hair, there are seeds. If kept unused, they end up in a sterile tomb, drying out, crumbling to dust, and leave no inheritance to the world.

If the seeds are used, planted in an "uneared womb," the beauty can be nurtured and cultivated into a new plant / child / being, which will assume the duties and responsibilities of the Young Man's estate - his legacy - which is Beauty. This living Executor distributes the wealth of the Young Man's Beauty to future generations.


Crypt Relic of St. Blaise Late 17th century

Saint Blaise (Croatian: Sveti Vlaho or Sveti Bla┼ż) is the patron saint of the city of Dubrovnik and formerly the protector of the independent Republic of Ragusa. At Dubrovnik his feast is celebrated yearly on 3 February, when relics of the saint, his head, a bit of bone from his throat, his right hand and his left, are paraded in reliquaries. - Wikipedia


Middle finger of Galileo's right hand

This item exemplifies the celebration of Galileo as a hero and martyr of science. The finger was detached from the body by Anton Francesco Gori on March 12, 1737, when Galileo's remains were moved from the original grave to the monumental tomb built on the initiative of Vincenzo Viviani. 


Reliquary of Mary Magdalene

The relic, enclosed in rock crystal, is said to be Mary Magdalene's tooth.

So the mnemonic image is of the Young Man as a lovely Reliquary of Beauty filled with hot white seeds - semen. That reliquaries are used to contain Holy Fragments of a Saint after their death works well to underscore the urgency of passing on his beauty to future generations.


Notes 4/18/2017


Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Upon thy self thy beauty's legacy?

Right off the bat, the distancing language of economy. The Young Man "loveliness" is unthrifty - echoing the "thriftless" praise from Son. 2. He is spending his seed unwisely, in an unfruitful manner, making investments - if any - that will not pay any dividend, have no return. And what is he spending his wealth - treasure - upon? Himself. Again, Narcissus. And the prurient image of the Young Man ejaculating upon himself, wasting his seed.

Nature's bequest gives nothing, but doth lend,
And being frank she lends to those are free:

Bequest reinforces the legacy, a will which stipulates how an individual's legacy is to be given to others. It's helpful here to imagine the Young Man as the Miser and Nature as the Generous Mother who gives generously but with certain conditions: that her gifts must be passed on to future generations after the death of the one given to, not hoarded and taken to the grave.

Then, beauteous niggard, why dost thou abuse
The bounteous largess given thee to give?

The overabundant Beauty of the Young Man was a bountiful gift given to him by Nature. Not to keep to himself and hoard, niggard, but to also give to others. The masturbatory undernotes resonate here in "abuse the bounteous largess." He isn't using his seed, he's abusing it - and himself - in selfish acts of Onanism. (Note: A gift that cannot be given away ceases to be a gift. The spirit of a gift is kept alive by its constant donation.  - Lewis Hyde)

Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?

The userer is always the image of the pawnshop owner for me, the rapacious one who preys on the hardships of others, taking in their property as collateral at a small fraction of its actual value and loaning them money at an exorbitant rate of interest. The Userer is always at the advantage, he always stands to make a profit. So if the Young Man is a profitless usurser, he has accepted something of great value without realizing it. He has in his possession great wealth - sum of sums - but is not able to survive - in himself and by extending his blood legacy.

For having traffic with thy self alone,
Thou of thy self thy sweet self dost deceive:

Contra Kerrigan and Pro Booth, I always see this line as referencing masturbation. Mnemonically, it fits with the visual of the Young Man spending his seed upon himself in Q1. He's not having sex with anyone. Also nuanced echo from Son. 2: "Or who is he so fond will be the tomb / Of his self-love, to stop posterity?" This self-eroticizing Narcissus, masturbating to the reflection of his own image in his mind or the mirror is betraying / deceiving this self - the Self that is contained in the shell of the body - by not insuring this it will survive beyond his individual ego-ic death.

Then how when nature calls thee to be gone,
What acceptable audit canst thou leave?

It's all about economics. About inheritance. What you have been given in your life, you are called upon to give to others so the gift will continue to have currency in the world. Note here again the figure of Mother Nature who loaned you - pawnshop usurer - your Beauty is now calling in that loan. That object of great wealth that you were keeping as collateral is now being asked to be returned. Mother Nature has the pawn ticket. What have you done with what she gave you to keep? Or extended, how have you invested the wealth which you inherited? How have you, fair creature, increased (Son. 1), the bounteous largess, the Beauty, that was given to you to give to others?

 Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee,
   Which, used, lives th' executor to be.

The Reliquary full of seeds once bursting with life and Beauty, meant to be planted and cultivated, are now relegated to a sterile death in the Tomb. Your self and your Self shall die and leave no trace upon the ground. Your memory shall fade in the minds of men until you are Nothing.

Or, if used, planted and cultivated, those self-same seeds become the Executor of your Beauty's Estate, granting new bequests to new flesh and multiplying your beauty many fold.

The Executor wears the Face of Death because it is Death that calls us all to audit. Beauty is in a continual war with Death. Beauty makes the deepest impression upon Memory. What is most beautiful is most memorable.



SONNET INDEX



***

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer. 

- The Waste Land


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinthoides_non-scripta


The Wild Hyacinth is in flower from early in April till the end of May, and being a perennial, and spreading rapidly, is found year after year in the same spot, forming a mass of rich colour in the woods where it grows. The long leaves remain above ground until late in the autumn. From the midst of very long, narrow leaves, rising from the small bulb and overtopping them, rises the flower-stem, bearing the pendulous 'bluebells' arranged in a long, curving line. Each flower has two small bracts at the base of the short flower-stalk of pedicel. The perianth (the term applied when the parts of the calyx and corolla are so similar in form and colour that no difference is perceptible) is bluish-purple and composed of six leaflets. The flowers have a slight, starch-like scent.

This is the 'fair-hair'd hyacinth' of Ben Jonson, a name alluding to the old myth, for tradition associates the flower with the Hyacinth of the Ancients, the flower of grief and mourning, so Linnaeus first called it Hyacinthus. Hyacinthus was a charming and handsome Spartan youth, loved by both Apollo and Zephyrus. Hyacinthus preferred the Sun-God to the God of the West, who sought to be revenged. One day, when Apollo was playing quoits with the youth, a quoit that he threw was blown by Zephyrus out of its proper course and it struck and killed Hyacinthus. Apollo, stricken with grief, raised from his blood a purple flower on which the letters 'ai, ai,' were traced, so that the cry of woe might for evermore have existence on the earth. As our English variety of Hyacinth had no trace of these mystic letters, our older botanists called it Hyacinthus nonscriptus, or 'not written on.' A later generic name, Agraphis, is of similar meaning, being a compound of two Greek words, meaning 'not to mark.'

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyawil43.html



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