Cleopatra

Cincinnati Magazine, 1971

The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burn’d on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description: she did lie
In her pavilion–cloth-of-gold of tissue–
O’er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour’d fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

Antony and Cleopatra
 

“VENUS” :: Shocking Blue by MARVEN Feat Sarah-jane

CHAPTER XXXIX: Mr. Samuel Weller, being entrusted with a mission of love, proceeds to execute it; with what success will hereinafter appear…

Carol M. Highsmith, “Melodrama performance…” (detail)

CHAPTER XXXIX: Mr. Samuel Weller, being entrusted with a mission of love, proceeds to execute it; with what success will hereinafter appear…

–Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
 

I Know A Little (Album Version) by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“Let us go then, you and I…”

cf. Remo Farruggio, Basin Street (1938) and LIFE, 1968

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

–T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (excerpt)

I can feel it coming in the air tonight

Martinus Rørbye, View from the Citadel Ramparts in Copenhagen by Moonlight (1839)

BERNARDO:
Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,–

(Enter Ghost)

MARCELLUS:
Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!

BERNARDO:
In the same figure, like the king that’s dead.

MARCELLUS:
Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.

BERNARDO:
Looks it not like the king? mark it, Horatio.

HORATIO:
Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene I

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

cf. Albertus H. Baldwin, Man Sitting on a Boat and Khürt Williams, Rodanthe Pier

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

It was a long night, I could barely keep my head

I waited all night
I smoked a hundred cigarettes
I chewed my lip ’til it bled
But the phone made not a sound
Sometimes I wonder
If you ever wonder what’s become of little old me
But I ain’t no baby
I ain’t gonna cry but baby
You don’t know what’s going on inside me
Girl you make me crazy…

“First step: ask her out and treat her like a lady. Second step: tell her she’s the one you’re dreaming of. Third step: take her in your arms and never let her go.”

Charles Robert Leslie, Slender, with the Assistance of Shallow, Courting Anne Page, from “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (detail) (1825)

You gonna make a move you better make it now,
Don’t be afraid cause love will show you how–
You take that first step…

“Things as they are are changed upon the blue guitar.”

cf. Alan Lomax, Bill Tatnall, with guitar, Frederica, Georgia (1935)

They said, “You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.”
The man replied, “Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar…”

–Wallace Stevens, “The Man with the Blue Guitar”

“I’m afraid that J. Alfred Prufrock didn’t have much of a love life.”

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me…
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

—T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

“I’m afraid that J. Alfred Prufrock didn’t have much of a love life.”

—T.S. Eliot

Acquainted With The Night (Christina At Night)

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

–Robert Frost, “Acquainted with the Night”

Keep The Aspidistra Flying (Don’t Sleep In The Subway)

Tomorrow he would go up to the New Albion, in his best suit and overcoat (he must remember to get his overcoat out of pawn at the same time as his suit), in hat of the correct gutter-crawling pattern, neatly shaved and with his hair cut short. He would be as though born anew. The poet of today would be hardly recognizable in the natty young business man of tomorrow. They would take him back, right enough; he had the talent they needed. He would buckle to work, sell his soul, and hold down his job…

He would get married, settle down, prosper moderately, push a pram, have a villa and a radio and an aspidistra. He would be a law-abiding little cit like any other law-abiding little cit– a soldier in the strap-hanging army. Probably it was better so…

Vicisti, O aspidistra!

—George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying

“Then it hasn’t been love,” said May Bartram

“You’ve been in love, and it hasn’t meant such a cataclysm, hasn’t proved the great affair?”
“Here I am, you see. It hasn’t been overwhelming.”
“Then it hasn’t been love,” said May Bartram.

–Henry James, The Beast in the Jungle