|Guess we're not so weird, huh?|
We're up to Canto Three, 'The Vestibule of Hell,' in the Inferno; what are you doing this Friday night? Although really, compared to The Faerie Queene in deliberately archaic English, this translation of the Inferno is pretty easy going. The footnotes are very helpful too.
We like mashup kinds of things and how happy does it make us that Dante does, too? Says translator John Ciardi about Canto Two, about Aeneas and the founding of Rome:
Here is a fair example of the way in which Dante absorbed pagan themes into his Catholicism.
According to Virgil, Aeneas is the son of mortal Anchises and of Venus. Venus, in her son's interest, secures a prophecy and a promise from Jove to the effect that Aeneas is to found a royal line that shall rule the would. After the burning of Troy, Aeneas is directed by various signs to sail for the Latian lands (Italy) where his destiny awaits him. After many misadventures, he is compelled (like Dante) to descend to the underworld of the dead. There he ... is shown the shades of the great kings that are to stem from him (Aeneid VI, 921 ff.) Among them are Romulus, Julius, Caesar, and Augustus Caesar....
Dante ... continues the Virgilian theme and includes in the predestination not only the Roman Empire but the Holy Roman Empire and its Church....Maybe only somebody who works for a Catholic organization who also reads Dante on Friday nights finds that interesting, never mind. But really? He wrote this in the 14th century. We just think it's amazing that somebody could synthesize mythology and religion in such a seamless way. If you tried to do this today you'd be labelled a blasphemer.
Hey, where did the fun go? Sorry about that. Let's work a little on a bad poem that may or may not be getting better, then go dancing.
Driving with Dante, Revision 3
Driving to work with Dante
we never arrive, we drive in circles.
Landscape that freezes, greens,
golds, dies, freezes, greens,
Always the same miles,
eighteen somnolent miles,
morning edition miles.
Odometer miles, miles of roadkill
and road rage, time clock miles,
stick it to the man miles --
lost miles. We have no
Virgil, and we are not
Beatrice; what do we worship
during these daily mass miles,
our routine sacrifice?
Journeyed and jaded in
our casual purgatory, we
drive and drive and forget to pray:
God help us.
A little something bumping, thump, thumping on the wheel ride
Yeah you can find us where the party's at
This is how we roll
We hanging round singing out everything on the radio
We light it up with our hands up
This is how we roll
This is how we do
We're burning down the night shooting bullets at the moon baby
This is how we roll....