Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Melancholia, Nostalgia, and Il Penseroso walk into a bar. . . "

Ok, it's not a bar. It's closer to home during these final days of this summer that are grey and sticky. I hate humidity. It's soul-sapping.

So I wasn't entirely surprised when Melancholia moved into the apartment last week along with the humidity, leaving crumbs on the couch, glasses in the sink, and knocking the small objets d’arts over with those honking wings. It’s a small apartment, and we fell in to a barely tolerable, functional choreography around the place.

While she’s here, nearly every thought is tinged by her cousin, Nostalgia. That's who led me to think about my schooner days on The Appledore the other day and post some pictures.

I thought Melly was finally going to disappear when L’Allegro unexpectedly popped out of the classic Hughes edition of Milton that had been languishing on the bookshelf since college,  banishing “loathed Melancholy,” and avowing

 “These delights if thou canst give, Mirth, with thee I mean to live.”

Oh yeah.

But when I went to the garbage shoot, Il Penseroso, who had been sulking out in the hall,  slipped through the door with his contrarian “vain deluding joys,” and tribute to “divinest Melancholy.” And so the supreme sad-sack was summoned to stay.

Now the three of them are rattling around here. Melly has taken hold of the remote, and Pensive has a lock on the DVDs.

He keeps playing this one over and over, Thomas Moore's classic poem, “The Last Rose of Summer” set to a sad Irish tune.

’TIS the last rose of summer

Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

I need to leave these three and go shopping.

(Top image: Albrecht Duerer's woodcut, Melancholia.  "The Last Rose of Summer" sung by Laura Wright, who released an album of same name in the UK 2011)