Monday, October 15, 2007

I will thy protestant be

H.D.'s prose, all told:

Notes on Thought and Vision (1919)
Paint it Today (written 1921, published 1992)
Asphodel (written 1921-22, published 1992))
Palimpsest (1926)
Kora and Ka (1930)
Nights (1935)
The Hedgehog (1936)
Tribute to Freud (1956)
Bid Me to Live (1960)
End to Torment (1979)
HERmione (1981)
The Gift (1982)

Robert Herrick's poem:

“Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy Protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.

A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I'll give to thee.

Bid that heart stay, and it will stay
To honour thy decree;
Or bid it languish quite away,
And't shall do so for thee.

Bid me to weep, and I will weep,
While I have eyes to see;
And having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.

Bid me despair, and I'll despair,
Under that cypress tree;
Or bid me die, and I will dare
E'en death, to die for thee.

--Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me;
And hast command of every part,
To live and die for thee.”

Bid Me to Live is about the interplay between poetics and erotics. The character Rico is D. H. Lawrence and more generally a stand-in for the poet as mythic archetype. Julia, the protagonist, responds to Rico by rejecting the system that insists on two mutually exclusive sexes and from this Julia commits "simply" to the act of writing while aligning herself with the "common sex" proposed by Plato. It's a "coming to terms" with Lawrence that required a radical revision of his terms (and thus also Freud's)--for man and artist.