On the "dealings of Venus" ["Dum Diane vitrea" Fifth Stanza] (Latin)

Abstract
Translation
Recordings
A Flick of the Tongue
From the Other Side of the Bed
A Lament for Love
Closing

{A modern take on an ancient goddess of an ancient emotion. Image found on tribe.net.}

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Abstract

In the name of Venus, post-coital sleepiness is described.

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Translation

“After the smooth-tongued dealings of Venus
fatigue the mind’s wealth.
This wonderful new mist swims
and settles in the eyelids.
Oh, how favourable the shift from love to slumber,
Yet how a kiss gives new rise to love!”
(“Dum Diane vitrea” Stanza 5)

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Recordings

The entire poem will be recorded once it’s all been translated and posted.

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A Flick of the Tongue

The word “blanda” can translate as things like “charming” or “flattering,” but given the fact that this poem is essentially about sex I could hardly resist going with “smooth-tongued.” For, so often are the dealings of Venus done with a smooth tongue, or those dealings make a tongue to be smooth.

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From the Other Side of the Bed

At any rate, this section of the poem seems at first like it could be the last. However, there’s a suggestion that, despite the onset of sleep, the desire for love continues to burn in the speaker and possibly in his partner as well.

What’s curious about this stanza, though, is that it repeats the previous verse’s theme to some extent. Where last week, we delved into the three images that were used for post-coital sleepiness, they were associated with their own mythological figure: Morpheus – a Greek god.

On the other hand, this week we have the Roman version of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. So is it possible that these two stanzas are working on a kind of call and answer basis? Or did last week’s give the male’s sense of sleepiness after sex while this week’s gives the female’s? It’s hard to tell without looking forward to next week’s, but there’s one more thing to look at before we close for this week.

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A Lament for Love

The final couplet of this week’s stanza begins with the same words as verse three (“quam felix,” “how favourable”).

Given that stanza three is one in praise of sex, and that this week’s stanza refers specifically to an antique deity in charge of sex and matters of the heart, what can be said about these two stanzas?

The closing image of stanza three is of sore open eyes being joys of love, and here the final image is that of the love-generating kiss.

So are there the seeds of a love lament in here, since we’re being pointed toward a comparison of the propagation of love with love’s seeing and revelling in things that could be considered worn out? Or is this final line just a confirmation that when things wear out it’s love that perpetuates our need for them?

At the very least, this subtle hint towards a comparison of these two things suggests some hesitancy about love on the speaker’s part, lending some credence to the idea that the infamous Abelard wrote this poem.

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Closing

Come Thursday we’ll hear and look into Wiglaf’s opening words to the cowardly thanes. Watch for it!

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