Sunday, 14 February 2010

Love Accurs'd or Lorelei Redeem'd

The Billet-Doux by Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898)

The house is modestly still. A cat prowls and Lorelei sleeps, swathed in her warm dreams. Love is at her gates, but he dare not enter here. Once Lorelei loved and sang of it, but being deceived in love, she turned her back on him.

Now she lives alone with her cat having placed a curse on Love. The curse was naturally mocked by Love, for how could he ever suffer from loneliness - especially Lorelei's?

Yet, now Lorelei feels no sorrows, her heart being free of both love and loneliness. She walked in her garden and amid flowers; read her books, wrote for many journals and did many other things besides. Not once did she ever think of Love nor feel its loss.

Love however was struck by bitterness and, pain tore at him. Lovers would not speak to him for they had each other through him. Children did not understand him. The lonely hated him for having abandoned them. For the first time - Love was utterly alone and worse, he was deeply lonely and alone. Wherever he went the grey shade of loneliness went also. There was no escape and no peace. Tears tore from him, Sorrow made him as red-eyed with weeping as herself and he longed for death.

After a while, like a lovesick swain himself he began to haunt Lorelei's gates longing for release from the curse, but fearful of her scorn. The cat watched Love, indifferent to him and his pain. In desperation Love took one of his own arrows and pierced his breast.

The potent point fires and inflames him. His passion grows and his skin glows, but as his heart is struck, the sorrow swells and fills him with even greater pain and sharper bitterness.

In her bed, Lorelei stirs not, neither does she waken.

Now Love feels the greater depth and sting of loneliness. It rends and corrodes him, bringing him to his knees in agony. Tears flood from his eyes and streak his face. In his pain he flings the arrow from him. It plants itself in the earth and feeling it's own nature it takes root and sprouts into a rose. Love struggles to rise, but his own heart so burned weakens him. He cannot harden his own heart and deny his nature. He is after all - Love. Yet, it is that soft contradiction that at last kills him and so frees him.

The falling away of night brings glorious sunlight in through her windows awakening Lorelei. She rises and dresses slowly aware of a strange feeling rising in her. Before her mirror, the various bottles and jars remain indifferent. A single tear falls from her eye and then she weeps. Rising she leaves her house. There near the gates she finds a single rose flowering and beyond it Love lies bleeding - dead, his arrows all scattered, his bow snapt.

For a moment, Lorelei exults, but somehow she cannot quite enjoy it. Kneeling beside him, she raises him up in her arms, cradling his golden head against her breast and she weeps. He seems then to vanish like a mist of gold and Lorelei is in that instant filled and ennobled with the fire of Love. She knows then that she will always be loved by more than mortal man. In that instant, she is redeem'd.

1 comment:

Rosemary in Utah said...

Both the picture and the story are valentines. Thank you, Griffin!