19 April 2013

Workout first thing: 20 minute supine angel. Unfortunately, while I was completely pain-free first thing, the workout triggered a lot of pain.

In the last few days, as part of Edward G. Nilges’ Grand High Shakespeare ReRead, I have finished Shakespeare’s “Tragedy” of King Lear, first published in the 1623 Folio, and his magnificent narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece [sic]. Congee and Ensure for Breakfast, as always, and a not-fun trip to the loo: almost fainted.

Pain this morning triggered by the first-thing workout as at 8/10 unfortunately. I had low blood pressure the day before yesterday, may have it today, now associated with dizziness (fainting); I asked the nurses ad doctors to accept low BP because I’m an athlete but dizziness means it’s serious, I’d think.

With the pattern ABABCC Venus and Adonis “comes trippingly off the tongue” as a spoken poem, moving quickly to tell the story of how Venus fell for the huntsman Adonis only for him to reject her in favor of hunting the boar, which kills hm. Venus then drops her habit of falling for earthly mortals and curses love with its burden, on earth, of violence, jealousy and hatred.

With the slower pattern ABABBCC The “Rape” of Lucrece has a tragic grandeur. Lucrece is given a long “complaint” as it was known then, saying that a future ruler such as Tarquin, the heir to be King of Rome, will if he gives into unsanctioned lust be a poor ruler, whose eye for the ladies will make him unjust. The Roman legend is that Tarquin, rather than becoming King of Rome, was exiled (a strikingly mild punishment) and Collatine (Lucrece’s wronged husband) founded the Republic along with the noble Brutus, ancestor of the Brutus who assassinated Caesar.

In today’s Politically Correct age, the title of Lucrece gives at least pause but unlike the title of paintings showing Jove’s “Rape” of Europa, which owing to the fact that they showed Europa being abducted for immoral purposes could be Bowlderised to her “abduction”, but this isn’t possible with the “Rape”. However, this is certainly absolved by Lucrece’s powerful “Complaint”, seeing in lust the destruction of the social order in the ruins of burning Troy.

In the earlier poem Venus and Adonis, Adonis weakly makes the case that lust such as manifest in Venus is destructive of the social order, but her lust is licit and Adonis is being dishonest: he wishes, merely, to get away for the boar-hunt with his friends.

Shakespeare is actually addressing serious moral issues in a Classicizing way since the wars of religion caused smart men in England and humanists on the Continent (such as Erasmus) to make references to classical literature as opposed to the Bible. They could see from 16th century Calvinistic Geneva, in Switzerland, that references to Scriptural authority, far from resolving doctrinal disputes caused new ones. Stories from Greece and Rome avoided this problem.

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 12.58.18 PM

Edward G. Nilges, “Colour Study for an Abduction of Europa”, 2004, clothing added 2008. A4 size, pencil, pen, colored pencils.

Second workout later in the day: 20 minutes rackety rowing. Skipped walking and wheelchair exercise because dizziness continued. Will ask for blood pressure check since I had low BP at the chemotherapy center without the dizziness.

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