Frances Benjamin Johnston, “2 scenes from Pastoral Plays: Strephon casts off Chloe” (1906)
cf. LIFE, 1964
UNIDENTIFIED GUEST: Your wife has left you?
EDWARD: Without warning, of course;
Just when she’d arranged a cocktail party.
She’d gone when I came in, this afternoon.
She left a note to say that she was leaving me;
But I don’t know where she’s gone…
—T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party
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
(Comes towards her and leans over the back of a chair.)
Are you fretting yourself, ma’am, about anything?
Don’t be. He was always like that, meandering off by himself somewhere. He is a curious bird, Master Richard, and always was. Sure there isn’t a turn in him I don’t know. Are you fretting now maybe because he does be in there (pointing to the study) half the night at his books? Leave him alone. He’ll come back to you again. Sure he thinks the sun shines out of your face, ma’am.
—James Joyce, Exiles
You got that radioaction
Brighter than a sunny day…
Lady Bracknell: A hand-bag?
—Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Zaida Ben-Yusuf, “Don’t you see that you are making me a great deal of trouble?” (1902)
No shame but mine: I must, forsooth, be forced
To give my hand opposed against my heart
Unto a mad-brain rudesby full of spleen;
Who woo’d in haste and means to wed at leisure.
I told you, I, he was a frantic fool,
Hiding his bitter jests in blunt behavior:
And, to be noted for a merry man,
He’ll woo a thousand, ‘point the day of marriage,
Make feasts, invite friends, and proclaim the banns;
Yet never means to wed where he hath woo’d.
Now must the world point at poor Katharina,
And say, “Lo, there is mad Petruchio’s wife,
If it would please him come and marry her!”
—The Taming of the Shrew
cf. D.A. Sigerist, “Two men and a woman dancing three hand reel” (ca. 1905)
LAVINIA: Stop! I want you to explain the telegram.
JULIA: Explain the telegram? What do you think, Alex?
ALEX: No, Julia, we can’t explain the telegram.
LAVINIA: I am sure that you could explain the telegram.
I don’t know why. But it seems to me that yesterday
I started some machine, that goes on working,
And I cannot stop it; no, it’s not like a machine—
Or if it’s a machine, someone else is running it.
But who? Somebody is always interfering …
I don’t feel free … and yet I started it …
–T. S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party
cf. Gaston Lachaise, Lachaise’s Mother Resting (ca. 1912) and
Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (1871)
…That was in the winter of senior year. Then in the spring something happened to me. Yes, I remember. I fell in love with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time.
—Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Now the long blade of the sun, lying
Level east to west, touches with glory
Thebes of the Seven Gates. Open, unlidded
Eye of golden day! O marching light…
—Sophocles, Antigone (Tr. by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald)
Traveling down the sandy track
Compass in hand, guitar on my back…
cf. photograph by Ben White via Unsplash
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.