Tag Archives: love

swept away – chapter two

Hector was wide awake in the middle of the night. His bare chest was covered with beads of sweat, and his lips wet with drops of water from the jar beside their bedside. Hector looked at his wife sound asleep: Moira’s pretty face looked lifeless in the moonlit darkness, and her silhouette of the slender frame even more soulless against the luminescent lunar beauty from her celestial abode in the nightly sky. Maybe it was that moon, the Full Moon in the midsummer night that filled his heart with a tempestuous desire of a dangerous liaison, of violent passion, of primitive instinct, all of which was a forbidden play for a man like Hector whose status and condition could move heaven and earth, as it were, whose valiant beauty also matched the sweetness of his mind. He was indeed a curious conflation of innocence and worldliness, an enchanting consilience of Platonism with Eroticism, in the manifestation of those thousand actions, those thousand expressions that flew from his own person, fascinatingly interacting with his irresistible manhood.

Hector was looking at the lunar beauty at the terrace, hypnotically infatuated with an indescribable yearning for a secret escapade from the confinement of his conjugal life. No, it wasn’t just one of those whims and caprices that a married man bored with his marriage usually craved. Moira was a loyal and dutiful wife with a practical sense of the world who bore him two beautiful daughters. She was a daughter of a well-to-do merchant in Rome, assisting her father at his shop where Hector used to visit for his trade. Pretty as she was, she wasn’t exactly a Helen whose faces launched thousands of ships. Yet her sensible words and lively actions were what prompted Hector to pursue her as his would-be wife who could settle into his way of life. Funny that, my dear reader. For someone like Hector had remained unattached for long despite his beauty, talent, and character. No, he wasn’t a shameless cult of sybaritic Bacchus, nor did he attempt to, nor was he inclined to cross over the boundary of Eros in any mode of preference. He was rather an idealist, a romantic follower of Apollo in search of endless love consummated by Eros and Psyche. Call it cloddish, vagarious, or hokum even, but that was what he was, really. That was how he kept his wild horse of desire in him, still. That was why he wanted to release it from its rein, now.

The story of Eros and Psyche was his favorite, reverberating down to the bottom of his heart. But then it was more of Eros that sparked his dormant passion locked into his mind’s cabinet. For he was a man after all whose sensory organs would react to the stimuli of the seen, the beautiful, the enchanting, the mysterious, and the fatal. He’s all up for it, waiting for it, and going for it. The moon was still high above all the lives of the nightly world, and as its soft white luminescence was glowing and glowing harder, and penetrating his Olympian body deeper, Hector’s desire of a dangerous liaison was growing bigger, louder, and bolder in an ineffable ecstasy of unknown love as mysterious and adventurous as the ones shared by Goddess Circe and Odyssey and Eros and Psyche. He was in the theater of this solipsistic midsummer night’s ecstasy, swept away by his violent passion that knew no restraints with all his vigor, with all his virility, and with all his vitality.

The phantasmagorical display of the sensual dreamscapes was beginning to fade as Chariot of Apollo was approaching yonder in the dusky distance. Forget Shame. Perish Fear. Curse Fate. Hector wouldn’t let his passion for his unknown love dissipate into one night’s dream, safely ensconced in the complacency of his life. He would look for her, wherever she might be. As the dawn finally broke, Hector’s eyes sparkled with brown marbles, so beautiful that they could be sinful to look at. He decided to go to travel to Cumea, where there was his studio of paintings and sculptures. But first, he was going to tell Moira that he’s going to stay at his studio alone until he finished creating his new work of art. And he knew it would be a magnum opus following his unstoppable heart.

 

The classical love

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It would be devastating to know that the heart of your beloved has already parted with you. It would be even more catastrophic to learn that your love has been unrequited and consumable because it was never on equal terms for what’s worth to your once beloved. The affair of the heart is the common human trait that transcends the subjectivity of time and space, the boundary of ethnic, racial, and territorial demarcations. The truth of the matter is that when you are consumed with a burning passion sans the mind and the heart, you play fast and loose with your own life as a collateral. In the ancient times, the unconstrained passion lured the desperately love-stricken to turn to the supernatural dependencies of magic spells or love potions at the expense of their own lives in the hope of making their beloveds fall in love with them. Such was the case of one slave girl in ancient Greece who made love a dangerous game.

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the goddess Circa on the left

Her name was Dilitra, and she was in love with her wealthy master named Philoneos, whose interest in her was to satisfy his libido and nothing more. For she was his faithful and obedient bed-mate at his command. And she was in turn assigned to a relatively comfortable domestic drudgery, such as tidying up chambers and assisting in cooking in the kitchen, while other slaves toiled to the bone, as befitted what they were. As a concubine, Dilitra wanted no more and only wanted it to last as long as his master wanted her. Then all seemed to be a denouement of her happy concubinage, when she found out that Philoneos would sell her to a brothel because he was simply “bored” with her. That was a total blow to Dilitra’s faith in Philoneos whom she loved and trusted. Blindsided by her lover’s betrayal, Dilitra resorted to the magical use of herbs and potions – called pharmaka as believed to be empowered from the goddess Circe – from a sorcerer who guaranteed her that he would fall back in love with her. So she poured the potion into wine, which Philoneos voraciously gulped down at dinner. The result was the instant death of her treacherous lover, and the execution of the distressed poor Dilitra after the horrible torture by the authority on the count of punitive nature of crime against her master.

The historical record of the tragic event tells a variety of facts prevalent in the classical times. First, the idea of love was primarily erotic rather than platonic, sensual rather than holistic. In fact, what we now understand about “love” would have felt alien to the ancients in terms of relationship between man and woman because such modern idea of love was no more than a close bond between family members or a master and a horse or a dog. That is to say, love in the minds of the ancient meant the physical play of desires – Lust.In this regard, Dilitra’s desperate measure of using the magic potion betokens her attempt to awaken the flickering erotic love in Philoneos in order that he would not sell her to a brothel to let her become a pornail – a common prostitute. Hence the potion was really meant to be an aphrodisiac that went awry.

Second, the use of spells and love potions was something of a norm in the ancient Greece, where religion and daily life were inseparably bound together. It is said that there were two ways of inducing lust in a person: (1) an agon spell, which included magic, through the power of a demon to drive the desired one mad with lust for the one who initiated it. The effect of the spell, I think, could amount to the image of a fanatic band of maenads accompanying the wine god Dionysus.  It was known to be mostly used by men; and (2) pharmaka, which was regarded as drug-induced love preferred by women because of the supposedly less mortally dangerous than the employment of a demon. However, anyone who opted for this “mild” form of craft did not know that its effect could be more fatal than an agon spell because it was a chemical intoxication consisting of various herbs that could be lethal when mixed improperly as is illustrated in the story of Dilitra.

It would be an anachronistic or impudent mistake of assuming that Dilitra’s tragic end resulted from her own foolhardy, rash decision to turn to quackery and superstition if we were pitchforked backwards in time. It was her only choice to secure her life under the aegis of her lover-master whose lust for her was the only guaranty of the cherished wishes. On one hand, the story of Dilitra tells us how we as humanity have evolved in understanding the meaning of love, many special thanks to philosophers and psychologists, that it complements the body and the mind (as represented by Eros and Psyche, respectively, in Roman mythology.) On the other hand, it shows us at the heat of the passion, we can return to our animal nature governed by id only. Now, that would be quite a thespian tragedy.

Author’s note: This writing is based upon my reading of an article about the history of love spells and potions in ancient Greece from a history magazine. The woeful life of the slave girl who depended upon her master’s desire of her was pathetic enough to put pen to paper. What if she just ran away when she found out her master’s intention to sell her to a brothel, instead of resorting to the drastic measure of getting the drug? No, she should have just escaped from his household forthwith. It seems to me that it was her lack of self-confidence that chained her down to her voluntary enslavement that ultimately led her to death.

 

Star-crossed

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from google

She kept all her love to herself alone, all alone,
But let her concealment, like a pearl in the clam,
Feed on her rosy cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a blue and even bluer melancholy,
She stood there like Dido by the River of Lethe,
Smiling gently at the last shadow of memory.

Affair of the Heart

I know it through, see it through
many more
causing up my illusion
playing up my emotion.

I know it wrong, feel it wrong
evermore
I only think about it,
can I still resist it?

Irresistible, irresistible
I can’t fight the temptation
I can’t fight it any more.

it’s fanatical
it’s illogical
it’s magical

Forget about Reason
Never mind Rein
still I love the sensation.

Irresistible, irresistible
I can’t fight the heart
Nevermore.

Ballad of Dido and Aeneas

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Aeneas leaves Dido courtesy of pinterest

From a land ravaged by a wooden horse
with a golden apple for the fairest of 
the divine beauties appearing to a prince
so young, so impetuous in judgment thereof,
There came a poor beautiful stranger rugged but
destined for the supernal fate to rule the mortal
to the beautiful eyes of a maiden queen ethereal
in beauty, graceful in act, and hapless in love. 

Blindsided by Juno's machination, swept by passion 
growing strong, growing stronger for the stranger, 
the queen bade him with tears and roses in succession
day and night, in desperate attempt to keep his presence,
his body and his soul, all but an entreaty so futile, so forlorn,
with a promise of her kingdom and her fidelity in return 
for nothing but his surrendering of himself to her and herself to him
till the mortal fate was ended, till one had to cross the River of Styx.

Alas, but the queen's to be thwarted, she's to be abandoned
by the divine plan forced by the arrival of Mercury, god of war
whispering to the poor stranger for the imminent departure
for destiny far more magnificent, far more supreme, as dictated
by Jupiter, god of all regions crossing death and life forever
who put forward a divine plan over mortal feelings however pitiable.
Thus did the stranger set to sail the seas full of perils ever more.

The queen defied, she cried, she pleaded, but all ended in nought
as the poor stranger was to depart cruelly with no tender words of love
that's planted, nourished, and admired by the queen so now distraught
by his betrayal of her love with her plea wreathed in tears and flowers.
Now her love became her poison consuming all of her ever more,
Now he became her foe ravishing all of her in surrender of love.

But what of it when all's ended in a sea of heartaches thousand times, 
with no reason to reign as a queen without her lover by her side?
Nothing, nothing's to remedy her spirit that's broken thousand times,
for nothing, nothing would console the lonely queen in cruel abandonment,
but the last will to burn her body and soul consumed in madness of passion
on an ancient funeral pyre that engulfed every part of her whispering
to her departing spirit that love would come never more - Nevermore!


  • Postscript: Upon reading the story about Dido and Aeneas from the Aeneid, I was so inspired to write about her pathos of love. Hence is the creation of this poem. Poor Dido… How cruel Aeneas was.

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