Friday, October 23, 2009

"Where between sleep and life some brief space is..."

Where between sleep and life some brief space is,
With love like gold bound round about the head,
Sex to sweet sex with lips and limbs is wed,
Turning the fruitful feud of hers and his
To the waste wedlock of a sterile kiss;
Yet from them something like as fire is shed
That shall not be assuaged till death be dead,
Though neither life nor sleep can find out this.

From "Hermaphroditus" by Algernon Charles Swinburne. The complete poem is here.

Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, c.15th century. Image from Wikimedia Commons.


dissed said...

Oh, I like that.

Tommasina said...

Ah - Salmacis & Hermaphroditus: this story, from Ovid's version, was the basis of a PhD I abandoned partway through, more than 20 years ago. It's both weird and gratifying to see it mentioned here.

I've never posted, but I read often; thank you for the continuing pleasure of your chosen texts + brilliantly- accompanying art.

BitterGrace said...

I'm glad you enjoy them, Tommasina. It's a lot of fun to share these things. I like knowing they give pleasure.

Hello again, dissed. I somehow missed your comment last week. It's always nice to hear from you.