John Donne continues – 10

[Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Santa Teresa in estasi (Saint Teresa in Ecstasy)  (1647-52) (detail), Comaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome]

Allen Ginsberg on John Donne’s “Ecstasy” continues  – part 3

AG:  Okay so.. The only means we had to make us one was holding hands, and the ony propagation, or, you know, orgasm propagation, we had was pictures in our eyes. And so…where does it go on – “our souls” had gone out of their bodies and were hung between the two of them (on the top of page two forty one) – And while our souls “negotiate there”, the bodies, like statues in a sepulcher or grave [ “like sepulchral statues lay”] – like almost dead-like or inert, lay there – “All day the same..” “All day, the same are our postures were” – (so he said nothing all day – it took all day – it says so right here). Now, if anybody else, who by “good love” had a…  understood this state of.. amity, or love-making, or delight, the example that we set – [“If any, so by love refin’d..”] – (and) the emanation of us was so great that it would make him even purer –  (in other words, getting our vibe, any witness who would understand where we were at to begin with, he “(m)ight thence a new concoction take/And part far purer than he came.” –  (so, leave us in a purer state than he came) Okay – is that clear? more or less – where we are, where we’re at now?

We like sepulchral statues lay;/All day, the same our postures were,/And we said nothing, all the day./If any, so by love refin’d/That he soul’s language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,/Within convenient distance stood,/He (though he knew not which soul spake,/Because both meant, both spake the same)/Might thence a new concoction take/And part far purer than he came./This ecstasy doth unperplex….”

Student (continues reading) : This ecstasy doth unperplex/We said, and tell us what we love;/We see by this it was not sex,/We see we saw not what did move;/But as all several souls contain/Mixture of things, they know not what/,Love these mix’d souls doth mix again/And makes both one, each this and that./A single violet transplant,/The strength, the colour, and the size,/(All which before was poor and scant)/Redoubles still, and multiplies.
When love with one another so/Interinanimates two souls,/That abler soul, which thence doth flow,/Defects of loneliness controls./We then, who are this new soul, know/Of what we are compos’d and made,/For th’ atomies of which we grow/Are souls, whom no change can invade/.But oh alas, so long, so far,…

AG: Okay – let’s stop there – we’re going to stop there, because that’s the next section okay, yeah. So, actually, I don’t figure out the first few lines but the last few lines that you read make a great deal of sense….

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-two-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in]


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