Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"cut the rose"

I'm really getting worried about the rose now. Fair Welcoming has been imprisoned in the tower with guards set around, and our hero has once kissed the rose, but he can't get near again without Fair Welcoming. In despair, he's turned for advice to Friend, and I'm not sure I like Friend's advice at all! I'm almost afraid to read on.

From Romance of the Rose (Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, trans. Charles Dahlberg), lines 7669-7694. My italics below.

And if you can come to the point where you might keep them [the guards] apart, so that the place may be so convenient that you need not fear that anyone will come up unexpectedly, and if Fair Welcoming, who is now imprisoned for your sake, may escape, then, when he has turned on you the fair appearance that he can--and he knows very well how to receive handsome people--then you should cut the rose, even though you see Resistance himself, who receives you only to abuse you, or even though Shame and Fear grumble at your deed. They only pretend to get angry, and they defend themselves lazily, since in their very defense they give themselves up conquered, as it will then seem to you. Although you see Fear and Shame blush, and Resistance become agitated, or all three lament and groan, count the whole thing as not worth a husk. When place and time and season occur, cut the rose by force and show that you are a man, for, as long as someone knows how to exercise it, nothing could please them [?] so much as such force.

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