Quotations and Allusions in
C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves
compiled by Arend Smilde
The Four Loves (1960), like most of C. S. Lewis’s books, contains many unreferenced allusions to a great variety of writers. It is perhaps never vitally important to identify his sources and explore them; yet doing so often turns out to have interesting results far beyond mere confirmation, or otherwise, of Lewis’s accuracy.
Listed below are most of the book’s explicit references (including quotations) and many of the implicit ones (allusions ranging from the very obvious to the fairly mysterious), each followed by the fullest possible identification of the sources in question and a varying amount of further details.
References to paragraphs in the book appear in the format “VI·2” for “chapter VI, second paragraph”. Double question marks in bold type – ?? – mark those places where I feel as yet unable to give relevant or accurate information. Corrections and additions, including proposals for new entries, are welcome. UPDATES will be listed at the end when there are any to report.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
14 December 2016
PDF version fit to print as A5-format booklet of 52 pages
To Chad Walsh
» Chad Walsh (1914-1991) was an American poet, writer and scholar of English Literature. He got in touch with Lewis in December 1945 after reading Perelandra. In 1949 he published C. S. Lewis: Apostle to the Skeptics, the first book-length discussion of Lewis and his work. One reader who got to know Lewis through Walsh’s book was the American poetess and writer Joy Gresham Davidman, who eventually became Lewis’s wife. The Four Loves was written during their short marriage; she died in July 1960, less than four months after the book was published. The dedication is not included in the 1977 Fount Paperbacks edition.
» John Donne (1572-1631), English poet. The quotation is from “The Litanie”, a prayer of supplication in verse, stanza XXVII, line 8.
That learning, thine Ambassador,
From thine allegeance wee never tempt,
That beauty, paradise’s flower
For physicke made, from poyson be exempt,
That wit, borne apt high good to doe,
By dwelling lazily
On Nature’s nothing, be not nothing too,
That our affections kill us not, nor die;
Heare us, weake echoes, O thou eare, and cry.
I·1 | “god is love”
» I John 4:16.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. [KJV]
I.3 | and what, on
Plato … “the son of Poverty”
» Ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428-347 BC); many of his surviving writings take the form of dialogues in which Plato’s master Socrates is the main speaker. The reference here is to Symposion 203b-e, where the priestess Diotima is speaking.
When Aphrodite was born, the gods made a great feast, and among the company was Resource [Greek Poros] the son of Cunning [Mētis]. And when they had banqueted there came Poverty [Penia] abegging, as well she might in an hour of good cheer, and hung about the door. Now Resource, grown tipsy with nectar – for wine as yet there was none – went into the garden of Zeus, and there, overcome with heaviness, slept. Then Poverty, being of herself so resourceless, devised the scheme of having a child by Resource, and lying down by his side she conceived Love [Erōs]. Hence it is that Love from the beginning has been attendant and minister to Aphrodite, since he was begotten on the day of her birth, and is, moreover, by nature a lover bent on beauty since Aphrodite is beautiful. Now, as the son of Resource and Poverty, Love is in a peculiar case. First, he is ever poor, and far from tender or beautiful as most suppose him: rather is he hard and parched, shoeless and homeless; on the bare ground always he lies with no bedding, and takes his rest on doorsteps and waysides in the open air; true to his mother’s nature, he ever dwells with want. But he takes after his father in scheming for all that is beautiful and good; for he is brave, strenuous and high-strung, a famous hunter, always weaving some stratagem; desirous and competent of wisdom, throughout life ensuing the truth; a master of jugglery, witchcraft, and artful speech. By birth neither immortal nor mortal, in the selfsame day he is flourishing and alive at the hour when he is abounding in resource; at another he is dying, and then reviving again by force of his father’s nature: yet the resources that he gets will ever be ebbing away; so that Love is at no time either resourceless or wealthy, and furthermore, he stands midway betwixt wisdom and ignorance.
–– translation by H. N. Fowler, 1925 (Perseus Digital Library). Original Greek names inserted.
In Benjamin Jowett’s translation (1871), Poros is translated as Plenty; Dutch translator Gerard Koolschijn renders it as Succes. Thus Love is not just the son of Poverty (his mother) but also of its opposite (his father).
I.4 | i was looking
my master, MacDonald
» George MacDonald (1824-1905), Scottish novelist and fantasy writer. One passage Lewis may be referring to is Nr. 332 in his George Macdonald: An Anthology (1946), a selection of 365 fragments from MacDonald’s writings:
He was ... one who did not make the common miserable blunder of taking the shadow cast by love – the desire, namely, to be loved – for love itself; his love was a vertical sun, and his own shadow was under his feet.... But do not mistake me through confounding, on the other hand, the desire to be loved – which is neither wrong nor noble, any more than hunger is either wrong or noble – and the delight in being loved, to be devoid of which a man must be lost in an immeasurably deeper, in an evil, ruinous, yea, a fiendish selfishness.
–– From MacDonald’s 1879 novel Sir Gibbie, chapter 59
I.5 | first of all
Humpty Dumpty …making words mean whatever we please
» Originally a character in a late-18th-century English nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty appeared in many works of literature and popular culture. Lewis is referring to a passage in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871), chapter VI.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
I.6 | secondly, we must
“it is not good for man to be alone”
» From the second Biblical account of the creation of the world, Genesis 2:18.
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him. [KJV]
I.7 | but thirdly, we
“The highest,” says the Imitation, “does not stand without the lowest”
» From the Latin, Summum non stat sine infimo – a maxim often quoted in English by C. S. Lewis from De imitatione Christi (On the Imitation of Christ), II.10.4. This 15th-century religious tract, ascribed to Thomas à Kempis (1380?–1471), is the most important legacy of the Devotio Moderna, a religious and educational movement which sprang up in the Eastern Netherlands in the late 14th century. The book preaches the virtues of humility, self-denial and personal piety.
beating their breasts with the publican
» After the parable in Luke 18:9-14.
… Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. … And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [KJV]
“Come unto me all ye that travail …
» Gospel of Matthew 11:28.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [KJV]
Lewis is quoting Coverdale’s translation from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (“Holy Communion”, just after the General Confession and Absolution).
“Open your mouth wide and I will fill it”
» Psalm 81:10.
I am the Lord they God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. [KJV]
I.9 | we must distinguish
distinguish two things
» The distinction between nearness-of-approach and nearness-by-likeness is to some extent prefigured in Lewis’s pre-Christian philosophical tract of 1928, the Summae metaphysices contra Anthroposophos libri II. Part II, “Value”, addresses the question which Lewis faced as an Idealistic philosopher: “how any soul could become more spiritual without dying into Spirit altogether”. In §II.3, he first submits that “the ideal function of souls” is “to multiply consciousness from an infinite diversity of points of view, so that their very limitations are an added richness to the life of the Spirit”, even though we are in fact “not created already fulfilling our function (which would be impossible)”: we “begin our existence as creatures of passion”. He then suggests that the soul’s “ascent” from this initial condition leads “firstly to one in which the object is seen as it really is (i.e. as it is in the mind of Spirit) and secondly to the consciousness that we as Spirit will the object”. In §II.4 he goes on to describe the latter condition as “qualitative equality with the consciousness of Spirit”, and the ascent as an “approximation” to that equality: “an account of the spiritual life is nothing but an account of the modes in which that approximation takes place”.
Lewis’s Summa was published in 2015 as part of The Great War of Owen Barfield and C. S. Lewis: Philosophical Writings 1927-1930, edited by Norbert Feinendegen and Arend Smilde (Inklings Studies Supplements, No. 1).
I.12 | at the cliff’s
as a better writer has said
I.13 | I must now explain
M. Denis de Rougemont … “love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god”
Denis de Rougemont (1906-1985), Swiss Francophone writer. His book L’amour et l’Occident (1939) was first published in English as Passion and Society in 1940; an expanded edition appeared in 1956 as Love in the Western World. The quotation is from Book VII, chapter 5:
Dès qu’il [l’Éros] cesse d’être un dieu, il cesse d’être un démon.
Lewis reviewed the book in Theology vol. 40, June 1940, and in that same year and journal also referred to the book in his essay “Christianity and Culture”. (The review was reprinted in 2013 in Image and Imagination: Essays and Reviews, ed. Walter Hooper, and is available online at http://tjx.sagepub.com/content/40/240/459.full.pdf+html.)
I.16 | and this of course
the things the poets say
» The beginning of the poetic and erotic tradition that Lewis has in view here was the subject of his first major book, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (1936). Thus in the opening section he wrote (pp. 3‑4):
an unmistakable continuity connects the Provençal love song with the love poetry of the later Middle Ages, and thence … with that of the present day. … It seems – or seemed to us till lately – a natural thing that love (under certain conditions) should be regarded as a noble and ennobling passion … French poets, in the eleventh century, discovered or invented, or were the first to express, that romantic species of passion which English poets were still writing about in the nineteenth.
I.18 | it follows from
Browning, Kingsley and Patmore
» Robert Browning (1812-1889), English poet; Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), English novelist and historian; Coventry Patmore 1823-1896), English poet.
Lewis first read Patmore’s The Angel in the House round about the time when he came to believe in God, June 1930. In a letter to his friend Arthur Greeves he commented (Collected Letters I, 902):
if, as he suggests, marriage & romantic love is the real ascent to Spirit, how are we to account for a world in which it is inaccessible to so many, and are we to regard the old saints as simply deluded in thinking it specially denied to them? As a matter of fact he does seem to suggest in one passage that romantic love is one ascent, and imagination the other …
We live in reaction against this. The debunkers stigmatise … what their fathers said in praise of love
» Lewis’s reference to the “fathers” of the debunkers of romantic love suggests that he is repeating an insight which perhaps required updating by the time he wrote The Four Loves: the reference might have been made to grandfathers rather than fathers. In British terms, Lewis’s “fathers” were the late Victorians or “Edwardians” whose children reached adulthood during or just after the First World War. These young-adult debunkers are portrayed in Lewis’s first published prose work, The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Reason, Romanticism and Christianity (1933). In this strongly autobiographical book, the hero at an early stage of his pilgrimage meets Gus Halfways, one of the “Clevers” or anti-romantic characters, who shows him “a machine on wheels” as a thing of beauty (Book II, chapter 8):
“Don’t you see?” said Gus. “Our fathers made images of what they called gods and goddesses; but they were really only brown girls and brown boys whitewashed – as anyone found out by looking at them too long. All self-deception and phallic sentiment.”
“to the over-wise nor to the over-foolish giant”
» John Keats (1795–1821), Hyperion: A Fragment (1820) II, 309–310:
Or shall we
listen to the over-wise,
Or to the over-foolish giant, Gods?
In his 1943 Preface to The Pilgrim’s Regress, Lewis quotes the same phrase in a broadly similar context.
II·2 | now it is
a very old discovery that pleasures can be divided into two classes
» See for example Plato’s Republic (Politeia), 584b.
… I’d like to show you pleasures which aren’t products of pain … If you’d care to consider the enjoyment of smells … you’d see particularly clear examples, though there are plenty of other cases too.
–– translation Robin Waterfield, 1993 (World’s Classics, Oxford U.P.)
II.3 | the resemblance between
the natural (a word to conjure with)
» After The Four Loves, Lewis’s next book to be published was Studies in Words (1960). Each chapter of that book is devoted to one English word, tracing the history of its use and meaning and noting parallel developments of parallel words in different languages. The first and longest chapter deals with “NATURE (with Phusis, Kind, Physical etc.)”.
the works of the Stoics
» In ancient Greece, the Stoics were members of the school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium (c. 335–c. 265 b.c.), which lasted about 500 years. As Stoicism became a widely influential view of life in the first two centuries of the Christian era, its central tenet was that virtue and happiness can be attained only by submission to destiny and the natural law; hence the wider meaning of “Stoicism” as indifference, or the attempt at indifference, to pleasure and pain. The “works” which Lewis refers to certainly include those of Roman authors Seneca (4-65 CE) and Epictetus (c. 50-138) and the Meditations of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180).
II.6 | Shakespeare has described
Past reason hunted …
» William Shakespeare, Sonnet 129 (ll. 6-7), on the evils of Lust:
Th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action …
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had,
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait …
II.9 | how the need-pleasures
“The Devil was sick, the Devil a monk would be”
» An originally medieval Latin proverb,
Aegrotavit daemon, monachus tunc esse volebat; daemon convaluit, daemon ut ante fuit.
(“When the Devil was ill, he wished to be a monk; when the Devil recovered, he was a Devil just as before.”)
French and English versions date back at least to the sixteenth century. Lewis may have been remembering Rabelais, Gargantua et Pantagruel, Book IV (1552), chapter 24, in the translation of Peter Antony Motteux (1708):
devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;
The devil was well, the devil a monk was he.
“danger, necessity, or tribulation”
» From “The Litany”, or General Supplication, in the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer (1662):
That it may please thee to succour, help, and comfort all that are in danger, necessity, and tribulation, we beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.
II.12 | and, as we have
a cup of water that the wounded Sidney sacrifices
» Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), English poet, soldier and diplomat. He died in Arnhem from wounds sustained during military action against Spanish forces near Zutphen, in the eastern Low Countries. His biographer Fulke Greville (1554-1628), in The Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney (1652), chapter 12, p. 145, recounts how Sidney
being thirstie with excess of bleeding, … called for drink, which was presently brought him; but as he was putting the bottle to his mouth he saw a poor Souldier carryed along … ghastly casting up his eyes at the bottle. Which Sir Philip perceiving, took it from his head, before he drank, and delivered it to the poor man, with these words, Thy necessity is yet greater than mine.
» Genesis 1:31, conclusion of the Bible’s first creation story.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. [KJV]
II.14 | need-love cries to
“We give thanks to thee for thy great glory”
» A line from “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (“Glory to God in the highest”), an ancient Christian hymn whose Latin version became part of the Roman Catholic Mass. The Latin text of this line is Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
II.15 | we murder to
murder to dissect
» From a poem by the English poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), “The Tables Turned” (1798), penultimate stanza:
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things: –
We murder to dissect.
II.16 | for some people
Wordsworth … “a comparison of scene with scene” … “meagre novelties of colour and proportion” … the “moods of time and season”
» From Wordsworth’s long autobiographical poem, The Prelude, Book XII “Imagination and Taste, how impaired and restored”, lines 115-117. This is a passage in which the poet makes apologies to the “Soul of Nature” for a past period when, “through presumption”, he had been insensible to nature’s “glory”: he had been
even in pleasure pleased
Unworthily, disliking here, and there
Liking; by rules of mimic art transferred
To things above all art; but more, – for this,
Although a strong infection of the age,
Was never much my habit – giving way
To a comparison of scene with scene,
Bent overmuch on superficial things,
Pampering myself with meagre novelties
Of colour and proportion; to the moods
Of time and season, to the moral power,
The affections and the spirit of the place,
II.17 | it is the “moods”
» Another quotation from Wordsworth’s Prelude, Book XII:
was, in truth,
an ordinary sight; but I should need
Colours and words that are unknown to man,
To paint the visionary dreariness
Which, while I looked all round for my lost guide,
Invested moorland waste, and naked pool ...
II.18 | This experience, like
“impulse from a vernal wood”
» Another quotation from Wordsworth’s poem “The Tables Turned” (cf. note to II.15, above), sixth stanza:
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
II.19 | if they were
“the dark gods in the blood”
II.26 | but we need
an East End parish
» The “East End of London” is a variously defined area of England’s capital, north of the Thames and east of the City. In the course of the 19th century the East End acquired a reputation for overcrowding, poverty, disease and criminality.
II.27 | i need not say
Coleridge … insensible
» Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) English poet and philosopher. …??
Wordsworth … the glory had passed away
» A reference to Wordsworth’s poem “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from recollections of early childhood”, II.
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath passed away a glory from the earth.
The “Ode” was published in 1807. In stating that Coleridge and Wordsworth
“ended” by losing their previous delight in nature, Lewis is not referring to
the end of their lives.
The same line from Wordsworth appears in his autobiography Surprised by Joy (1955), chapter XI, first paragraph, as Lewis explains the process which he later calls “the inherent dialectic of desire” (ch. XIV, par. 11); on the book’s last page he once more alludes to Wordsworth’s “visionary gleam” and how it “passed away”. On the “dialectic of desire” see also note to VI.1, below.
II.28 | i turn now to
Christ’s lament over Jerusalem
» Gospel of Matthew 23:37-39, and Luke 13:34-35.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, you house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
II.31 | first, there is
Kipling’s “I do not love my empire’s foes”
» Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), English poet, short-story writer, and Noble laureate for Literature 1907. Lewis quotes the first line of Kipling’s poem “Piet”, the monologue of an English soldier during the Boer War (“Piet” is the typical name of a Boer):
I do not love my empires foes,
Nor call ’em angels; still,
What is the sense of ’atin’ those
’Oom you are paid to kill?
As Chesterton says … reasons for not wanting his house to be burnt down
II.32 | it would be hard
our Neighbour in the Dominical sense
» “Dominical” refers to the Latin word Dominus, “the Lord”. The commandment “Love your neighbour as yourself” as spoken by Jesus Christ is recorded in several places in the Synoptic gospels, such as Matthew 19:19 and Luke 10:27. It is in fact quoted from the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:19.
pluck out your right eye
» Gospel of Matthew 5:29, a passage in the “Sermon on the Mount”.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. [KJV]
II.34 | the second ingredient
Marathon … Waterloo
» Marathon, a village to the east of Athens in ancient Greece, was the site of a major Greek military victory over the Persians in 490 B.C. Waterloo, south of Brussels in present-day Belgium, was the site of a British (and Prussian) victory over the French under Napoleon in 1815.
“We must be free or die who speak the tongue that Shakepeare spoke”
» From Wordsworth’s “Poems Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty”, XVI:
It is not to be thought of that the Flood
Of British freedom, …
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakspeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held. – In everything we are sprung
Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.
II.36 | i think it is
“Deeds that won the Empire”
» Probably a reference to Deeds that Won the Empire: Historic Battle Scenes (1897), a bestselling book by William Henry Fitchett (1841-1928), an English-Australian journalist and Methodist minster .
Our Island Story
» Our Island Story: A History of England for Boys and Girls (1905) by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (1867-1941) with illustrations by A. S. Forrest. The coloured pictures can be seen in the edition available at Archive.org.
II.38 | this brings us
“white man’s burden”
» “The White Man’s Burden” is a poem by Rudyard Kipling published in 1899. It was written in response to the American takeover of the Philippines from Spain in the previous year. Lewis’s comment is well reflected by the first of its seven stanzas:
Take up the White Man’s burden –
Send forth the best ye breed –
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild –
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
» Imperial Civil Service, or Indian Civil Service: the British government for India in the period 1858-1947, headed by the Secretary of State for India.
“wider still and wider”
» A phrase from the chorus of “Land of Hope and Glory” (the patriotic song mentioned two pages further on):
Land of Hope
and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
» Informal term for American Indians, as opposed to the “palefaces” or white settlers.
» The aboriginal population of Tasmania, the island state south of Australia. During the so-called “Black War” between the Tasmanians and British colonists, around 1830, the native population was almost completely annihilated.
» Short for Bergen-Belsen, the name of a German concentration camp in the years 1943-45.
» City in nort-western India (Punjab); site of a massacre on 13 April 1919, when troops of the British Indian Army opened fire on a crowd of civilians.
Black and Tans
» British volunteer army put into action against the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1920.
» A political system of racial segregation and white minority rule in South African in the period 1948-1994.
II.39 | finally we reach
Chesterton … Kipling … If England was what England seems
» G. K. Chesterton, Heretics (1905), chapter 3, “On Mr. Rudyard Kipling and Making the World Small”.
He admires England, but he does not love her; for we admire things with reasons, but love them without reasons. He admires England because she is strong, not because she is English. There is no harshness in saying this, for, to do him justice, he avows it with his usual picturesque candour. In a very interesting poem, he says that –
“If England was what England seems”
– that is, weak and inefficient; if England were not what (as he believes) she is – that is, powerful and practical –
“How quick we’d chuck ’er! But she ain’t!”
He admits, that is, that his devotion is the result of a criticism, and this is quite enough to put it in another category altogether from the patriotism of the Boers, whom he hounded down in South Africa. In speaking of the really patriotic peoples, such as the Irish, he has some difficulty in keeping a shrill irritation out of his language. The frame of mind which he really describes with beauty and nobility is the frame of mind of the cosmopolitan man who has seen men and cities.
The lines quoted are from a four-line chorus in Kipling’s poem “The Return” (the monologue of an English soldier coming home after service in the Boer War), first published in the volume The Five Nations (1903), 210-213:
If England was what England seems
An’not the England of our dreams
But only putty, brass an’ paint,
’Ow quick we’d drop ’er! But she ain’t!
“No man”, said one of the Greeks, “loves his city because it is great …”
» The reference seems to be not to a Greek but to the Roman author Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-65 CE), “Nemo enim patriam quia magna est amat, sed quia sua”, translated by Richard M. Gummere in Loeb Classical Library vol. 76 (1920) as “For no man loves his native land because it is great; he loves it because it is his own.” The translator suggest that Seneca is offering “a slight variation of the idea in Cicero, De Oratore I.196”.
England, with all thy faults
» From William Cowper’s long poem in blank verse, The Task (1785); about one quarter into Book II.
England, with all thy
faults, I love thee still,
My country! and while yet a nook is left
Where English minds and manners may be found
Shall be constrained to love thee.
“a poor thing but my mine own”
» A common misquotation from Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.4. When the court jester Touchstone describes Audrey, a country wench whom he is introducing to Jacques, he calls her “a poor virgin, sir, an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own.”
» “Vichy France” was a large south-eastern area of France under the collaborationist government of Marshal Pétain while the rest of France was occupied by Germany, 1940-44. It was called after the town in central France where the “Vichy government” had its seat.
II.40 | patriotism has then
» By-name for a deluded idealist who lives in the real world as if it were the world of his imagination; eponymous hero of the early-17th-century Spanish novel, Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616).
II.41 | the glory of
“The British Grenadiers” (with a tow-row-row-row)
» A traditional British marching song, first printed around the year 1750. The first of its five stanzas is
Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules
Of Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these.
But of all the world’s great heroes, there’s none that can compare.
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers.
Each stanza’s last line includes the words “tow, row, row, row”.
“Land of Hope and Glory”
» An English patriotic song written in 1902 by A. C. Benson to music by Edward Elgar. See note to II.39, above.
II.42 | it will be noticed
» In the Old Testament, Moloch is one of the pagan deities that were a constant detraction for the Israelites from the worship of Jahweh. The service of Moloch involved sacrificing one’s children. See Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2-5, I Kings 11:7, II King 23:10. Jeremiah 32:35.
III.4 | but even in animal
» (1720-93), English clergyman and naturalist, author of the famous Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789). Lewis is alluding to the end of Letter XXIV to the Honourable Daines Barrington:
Even great disparity of kind and size does not always prevent social advances and mutual fellowship. For a very intelligent and observant person has assured me that, in the former part of his life, keeping but one horse, he happened also on a time to have but one solitary hen. These two incongruous animals spent much of their time together in a lonely orchard, where they saw no creature but each other. By degrees an apparent regard began to take place between these two sequestered individuals. The fowl would approach the quadruped with notes of complacency, rubbing herself gently against his legs; while the horse would look down with satisfaction, and move with the greatest caution and circumspection, lest he should trample on his diminutive companion. Thus, by mutual good offices, each seemed to console the vacant hours of the other: so that Milton, when he puts the following sentiment in the mouth of Adam, seems to be somewhat mistaken:
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape.
White also used the Greek word storge in talking about animal affection, but used it for the violent affection which makes parents do anything to defend their offspring.
III.5 | some of the novelists
» Novel by the English author Laurence Sterne (1713-68), published in seven volumes in 1760-67.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
» Knight and servant in the novel of Cervantes (see note to II.40, above). As a plain man of conventional wisdom and no wisdom, Sancho Panza is his master’s antipode.
Pickwick and Sam Weller
» Characters in Charles Dickens’s novels The Pickwick Papers (1837) and Master Humphrey’s Clock (1841).
Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness
» Characters (husband and wife) in Charles Dickens’s novel The Old Curiosity Shop (1841).
The Wind in the Willows
» Animal story and children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), published in 1908.
III.7 | affection, as i have
Let homely faces stay at home,” says Comus
» John Milton, Comus: A Masque (1634), 748.
Beauty is Nature’s brag, and
must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home;
They had their names thence …
III.9 | this blending and
Professor Lorenz … King Solomon’s Ring
» Konrad Zacharias Lorenz (1903-89), Austrian zoologist, founder of ethology, Nobel laureate for physiology or medicine 1973. Lewis read King Solomon’s Ring: New Light on Animal Ways shortly after publication in 1952, and in a letter to Bede Griffiths expressed wonder at what he read there “on animal – especially bird – behaviour. There are instincts I had never dreamed of: big with a promise of real morality” (Collected Letters III, 195).
III.12 | and now we are
charity, said St. Paul, is not puffed up
» I Corinthians 13:4; see note to VI.34, below.
the Victorian novelists … is love (of this sort) really enough?
» “Victorian” refers to the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) of the United Kingdom. Perhaps Lewis was especially thinking of William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863). Commenting on Thackeray’s novel Henry Esmond in a 1942 letter to Owen Barfield (Collected Letters II, 530) Lewis wrote,
What a detestable woman is Lady Castlewood: and yet I believe Thackeray means us to like her on the ground that all her actions spring from “love”. This love is, in his language “pure” i.e. it is not promiscuous or sensual. It is none the less a wholly uncorrected natural passion, idolatrous and insatiable. Was that the great 19th century heresy – that “pure” or “noble” passions didn’t need to be crucified & re-born but wd. of themselves lead to happiness? Yet one sees it makes Lady C. disastrous both as a wife & a mother and is a source of misery to herself and all whom she meets.
Lewis’s rhetorical question seems to refer to the “poem called Love is Enough” by William Morris (a Victorian poet), mentioned at the beginning of chapter VI and alluded to in VI.6. See note to VI.1, below.
III.13 | i do not mean
that beauty, terrible as the Gorgon’s
» Spectral figure in ancient Greek myth and legend. Of the three “Gorgons” Stheno, Euryale and Medusa, the last was often referred to simply as “the Gorgon”. They wore snakes in place of hair on their heads and had faces which turned the onlooker to stone. A gorgoneion was an image showing Medusa’s head on the shields of Zeus and Athena, where it was considered to retain its petrifying power.
III.16 | now there is
Mr. Pontifex in The Way of All Flesh
» The Way of All Flesh (1903) is a novel by Samuel Butler (1835-1902). Mr Theobald Pontifex and his wife Christina are the parents of the central character, Ernest. The charge of an “unnatural” lack of love is found in chapter XXIX, as Theobald is musing about his son:
He is not fond of me, I’m sure he is not. He ought to be after all the trouble I have taken with him, but he is ungrateful and selfish. It is an unnatural thing for a boy not to be fond of his own father. If he was fond of me I should be fond of him, but I cannot like a son who, I am sure, dislikes me.
Lewis mentioned Butler’s work as an example of the “savage anti-domestic literature of modern times” in his 1945 essay “The Sermon and the Lunch”.
at the beginning of King Lear
» In the opening scene of Shakespeare’s play King Lear, the old king wants to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. Goneril and Regan each receive a third part of the kingdom after improbably fulsome declarations of love. Cordelia avoids all exaggeration, thus provoking Lear’s question, “But goes they heart with this?” –
my good lord.
Lear So young and so untender?
Cordelia So young, my lord, and true.
Lear. Let it be so! Thy truth, then, by thy dower!
III.17 | This assumption is
» Legendary hero of Norse mythology, where he useually figures as Sigurd. As Siegfried, he is the eponymous hero of Richard Wagner’s opera, Siegfried (1876), the third of four operas which make up the cycle called Der Ring des Nibelungen. Siegfried’s foster father is the smith Mime.
III.19 | and all the while
“If you would be loved, be lovable,” said Ovid
» the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-18 CE); the reference is to his poem The Art of Love (Ars Amatoria) II, 107. “Ut ameris, amabilis esto”.
III. 24 | once again it is
“that no one give any kind of preference to himself.”
the old proverb “come live with me and you’ll know me.”
III.25 | “We can say anything
its art of love
» Another reference to Ovid; see note to III.19, above.
» Archaic word for a rude, insolent person.
III.35 | mrs. fidget very
» National Health System (NHS), the publicly funded British health care system introduced in 1948.
III.38 | it is not only
Jane Austen’s novel
» Emma (1816) by the English author Jane Austen (1775-1817). Emma Woodhouse acts as a self-appointed matchmaker for 17-year-old Harriet Smith, an illegitimate child with no future. In the end Harriet marries the man who had proposed to her at an early stage and who is her own choice, not Emma’s. Emma finds her own match only after she begins to fear that Harriet might become her rival for Mr. Knightley.
III.39 | but not all
Wotan had toiled to create the free Siegfried
» Cf. note to III.17, above. Lewis seems to be referring to two main characters of Wagner’s Ring der Nibelungen, but not to the story in the opera cycle. Wotan is the King of the Gods. Siegfried, the most heroic male figure of the cycle, is Wotan’s grandson by the incestuous union of Siegmund and Sieglinde.
III.40 | this terrible need
Bosanquet … “to have a representative at the court of Pan”
» Bernard Bosanquet (1848-1923, Oxford idealist philosopher), Some Suggestions in Ethics (1918), chapter 4, pp. 79-80.
… our relations to the lower animals. That it reduces mankind, in their hope and destiny, to the level of the beasts that perish, has always been a cutting reproach against paganism or infidelity. But even if levelling up were here altogether inconceivable, it could not be right to deny a continuity which obviously exists. Everyone who has had a friend among dogs or horses or birds must have felt himself enlarged in sympathy and in faith and courage by having a representative, so to speak, at the court of Pan. Just because it lacks the intelligence directed to a whole beyond the individual, which forms the glory and the imperfection of man, the lower animal carries in itself a peculiar anticipation of the Absolute.
III.45 | how bad, i believe
the Roman poet … “I love and hate,”
» Catullus (c. 84-54 B.C.), author of about 116 surviving carmina (“songs”) including forty-eight epigrams. Lewis is referring to nr. 85, an epigram which is one of the erotic poems addressed to a woman called Lesbia:
Odi et amo.
Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
I hate and I
love. Why I do this, perhaps you ask?
I do not know, but I feel it happening and I am tortured.
IV.1 | when either affection
» “In Memoriam A. H. H.”, a poem by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) first published in 1850. The author began writing it in 1833 after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam at the age of 22.
Tristan and Isolde
» A pair of lovers from medieval legend, whose exploits became attached to Arthurian romance. Their names are found in different spellings (Tristram, Tristam, Tristem, originally Drystan; Ysolde, Yseult); Lewis gives the names as used by Richard Wagner in his opera Tristan und Isolde (1865).
Antony and Cleopatra
» The Roman general Marcus Antonius (83-30 B.C.) and his fifth wife, queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt (69-30 B.C.), who bore him three children; their relationship inspired many writers including William Shakespeare (Antony and Cleopatra, 1623) and John Dryden (All for Love, or the World Well Lost, 1677).
Romeo and Juliet
» Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo and Juliet (1594), was based on 16th-century translations of a story that had long been well-known in Italian and French.
David and Jonathan
» The future king David as a youth, and his friend Jonathan, the son of King Saul. See I Samuel 18-20.
Pylades and Orestes
» In Greek mythology, cousins who grew up together at the court of Pylades’s father.
Roland and Oliver
» In medieval European legend as conveyed in the Song of Roland (c. 1100), Oliver is a friend of the Frankish hero Roland. They died together during the battle of Roncevaux against the Basques in the year 776.
Amis and Amile
» Another pair of friends from medieval European legend. They are the heroes of Amis et Amiles, a 12th-century French romance of friendship and sacrifice which became part of Carolingian legend (“the matter of France”). There are various older versions of the story in Latin, and later ones in other languages.
Philia … Aristotle
» Friendship is the subject of Books VIII and IX of Aristotle’s Nicmachean Ethics. Book VIII opens thus (1155a):
Our next business after this will be to discuss Friendship. For friendship is a virtue, or involves virtue; and also it is one of the most indispensable requirements of life.
–– translation H. Rackham, 1926 (Loeb Classical Library)
Amicitia … Cicero
» Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), Roman statesman, orator, lawyer, philosopher and writer; his dialogue De amicitia (“On friendship”) dates from 44 BC and is also called Laelius after the main speaker in the dialogue.
IV.4 | but then came
» From French comédie larmoyante, a later-18th-century genre of French drama that blurred the border between comedy and tragedy.
IV.9 | lamb says somewhere
» Charles Lamb (1775-1834), English essayist and poet, in a letter of 20 March 1822 to William Wordsworth.
Deaths over-set one and put one out long after the recent grief. Two or three have died within this last two twelvemonths, and so many parts of me have been numbed. One sees a picture, reads an anecdote, starts a casual fancy, and thinks to tell of it to this person in preference to every other – the person is gone whom it would have peculiarly suited. It won’t do for another. Every departure destroys a class of sympathies. There’s Capt. Burney gone! – what fun has whist now? what matters it what you lead, if you can no longer fancy him looking over you? One never hears any thing, but the image of the particular person occurs with whom alone almost you would care to share the intelligence. Thus one distributes oneself about – and now for so many parts of me I have lost the market. Common natures do not suffice me. Good people, as they are called, won’t serve. I want individuals. I am made up of queer points and I want so many answering needles. The going away of friends does not make the remainder more precious. It takes so much from them as there was a common link. A. B. and C. make a party. A. dies. B. not only loses A. but all A.’s part in C. C. loses A.’s part in B., and so the alphabet sickens by subtraction of interchangeables.
–– The Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb, 1821-1842, ed. E. V. Lucas (Methuen, London 1912), Letter 284, p. 608.
Charles is dead … Ronald’s reaction
» Lewis’s friends, the writers Charles Williams (1886-1945) and J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973).
Dante, “Here comes one who will augment our loves”
» Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Paradiso V, 105. “Ecco chi crescerà li nostri amori.” This is said of Beatrice, Dante’s guide through the nine spheres of Heaven in the final, third part of his Divine Comedy.
“to divide is not to take away”
» Shelley, “Epipsychidion” (1821), 160.
True Love in this differs from
gold and clay,
That to divide is not to take away.
every soul …unique vision … That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision …
» Lewis is referring to The Celestial Hierarchy by Pseudo-Dionysius, an anonymous early Christian author who perhaps lived in Syria around the year 500. In its 9th-century translation De coelesti hierarchia (from the originally Greek Peri tēs ouraniou hierarchias), this text provided Medieval Christianity with its standard view of the angelic world. The angels were thought to form a system of three “hierarchies” of three ranks or groups each, nine ranks in total, with the Seraphim as the highest and nearest to God. The relevant passage is in chapter X.2:
All angels bring revelations and tidings of their superiors. The first bring word of the God who is their inspiration, while the others, according to where they are, tell of those inspired by God. For the transcendent harmony of all the world has providentially looked after every being endowed with reason and intelligence and has ensured that they are rightly ordered and sacredly uplifted. In a fashion appropriate to its own sacred character this harmony has arranged the hierarchical groups, making due allowance for what is particular to each group, arranging them as we have seen as first, middle, and lower powers, and, finally, harmoniously managing them in a way suitable to the degree of participation in the divine which each of them has. Furthermore, the theologians tell us that the holiest of the seraphim “cry out to one another,” and, it seems to me, this shows that the first ranks pass on to the second what they know of God.
–– translation by Colm Luibheid, 1987
See also Lewis’s The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1964), IV.C, p. 74; while Lewis talks there of “each angel”, as he does here of “every soul”, the Celestial Hierarchy does not seem to consider each individual angel’s vision to be “unique”: it is the “ranks” or “groups” as such which pass on their visions to those below them.
IV.10 | the homosexual theory
Hrothgar embracing Beowulf
» In the Old English poem Beowulf, the eponymous hero comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, to rid his country of the monster Grendel. When Beowulf has accomplished this task, the two men take leave (lines 1870-1880):
Gecyste þā cyning æþelum gōd,
þēoden Scyldinga, ðegn betstan,
ond be healse genam; hruron him tēaras
blonden-feaxum. Him wæs bēga wēn,
ealdum, infrōdum, ōþres swīðor,
þæt h[ī]e seoððan gesēon mōston,
mōdige on meþle. Wæs him se man tō þon lēof,
þæt hē þone brēost-wylm forberan ne mehte,
ac him on hreþre hyge-bendum fæst
æfter dēorum men dyrne langað
bearn wið blōde.
Then kissed the king of kin renowned,
Scyldings’ chieftain, that choicest thane,
and fell on his neck. Fast flowed the tears
of the hoary-headed. Heavy with winters,
he had chances twain, but he clung to this, –
that each should look on the other again,
and hear him in hall. Was this hero so dear to him,
his breast’s wild billows he banned in vain;
safe in his soul a secret longing,
locked in his mind, for that lovéd man
burned in his blood.
–– translation by Francis B. Gummere, 1909
Johnson embracing Boswell
» Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English writer, poet, critic and lexicographer; and James Boswell (1740-95), his biographer. Lewis may be recalling a passage like the one where Boswell describes his own departure to Holland in late 1763 (Johnson and he had met each other for the first time in May of that year):
My revered friend walked down with me to the beach, where we embraced and parted with tenderness, and engaged to correspond by letters. I said, “I hope, Sir, you will not forget me in my absence.” Johnson. “Nay, Sir, it is more likely you should forget me, than that I should forget you.” As the vessel put out to sea, I kept my eyes upon him for a considerable time, while he remained rolling his majestick frame in his usual manner: and at last I perceived him walk back into the town, and he disappeared.
centurions in Tacitus, clinging to one another
» Tacitus (c. 56-c. 117 CE), Roman historian. His two main
works, Histories and Annals, cover the history of the Roman
empire in the period 14-70 CE.
Centurions clinging to one another …??
IV.12 | in early communities
As some wag has said, palaeolithic man …
» Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846), by the American writer Herman Melville (1819-91). It was the author’s first book, based on his experiences during a one-month stay on one of the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. Lewis seems to be referring to a passage at the beginning of chapter 21. Melville describes the daily visits which for some time he made to “the Ti”, a building “which was rigorously tabooed to the whole female sex”:
Although it was the permanent residence of several distinguished chiefs,
and of the noble Mehevi in particular, it was still
at certain seasons the favourite haunt of all the jolly, talkative, and elderly
savages of the vale, who resorted thither in the same way that similar
characters frequent a tavern in civilized countries. There they would remain
hour after hour, chatting, smoking, eating poee-poee,
or busily engaged in sleeping for the good of their constitutions.
This building appeared to be the headquarters of the valley, where all flying rumours concentrated; and to have seen it filled with a crowd of the natives, all males, conversing in animated clusters, while multitudes were continually coming and going, one would have thought it a kind of savage exchange, where the rise and fall of Polynesian Stock was discussed.
IV.13 | what were the women
» (Latin) “Good goddess”, a divinity in ancient Roman religion, introduced during the early or middle Republic. Her rites were kept secret and participation them was restricted to women. Even her true name is unknown and was apparently unknown in antiquity except to her followers.
IV.18 | in our own time
Emerson … Do you see the same truth?
» Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), American essayist, poet and philosopher. In his two series of Essays (published in 1841 and 1844), no relevant passage is to be found in the essay entitled “Friendship” (First Series, Nr. 6), but Lewis may well be referring to “Self-Reliance” (First Series, Nr. 2):
Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse. Say to them, ‘O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth’s. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. … I will not hide my tastes or aversions. … If you are noble, I will love you: if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth.
IV.24 | it could be argued
Mathematics effectively began when a few Greek friends got together
» Lewis is probably referring to the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos and the community of “Pythagoreans” he founded around 530 BC in Croton in South Italy.
» Starting in 1660 as a “College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning” with weekly meetings mostly held at Gresham College, London, to discuss science and conduct experiments, this is one of the world’s oldest institutions of its kind. The developments leading up to its foundation were informal enough to remain a matter of some dispute among historians. The Royal Society received its name and privileges in the course of the 1660s in three successive royal charters. The “Gresham College group of 1660” included the architect Christopher Wren; Isaac Newton was elected a Fellow in 1672.
“the Romantic Movement” once was Mr. Wordsworth and Mr. Coleridge
» The English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge; see notes to II.15 and II.27, above. In 1798 they jointly published a volume called Lyrical Ballads. Although the first edition was a failure, this publication can in retrospect be seen as the starting point for the Romantic era in English poetry. In his Biographia Literaria, chapter XIV, Coleridge later described his conversations “during the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were neighbours” which resulted in this joint poetic enterprise.
» A name for the philosophy of the “Oxford Movement”, a 19th-century movement of High Church members of the Church of England which eventually developed into Anglo-Catholicism. The name derives from a series of publications entitled Tracts for the Times (1833-1841).
» A group of historically related Protestant Christian denominations, originally inspired by the life and teachings of the 18th-century Anglican clerics John and Charles Wesley and George Whitfield. The name “Methodism” originated as a term of mockery in the late 1720s during the Wesley brothers’ undergraduate days at Oxford, when their approach to the spiritual and devotional life seemed overly systematic to some of their fellow students.
IV.25 | there is something
(in Aristotelian phrase) …not to live but to live well
» For example in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Book IX, 1170b, on the number of friends a man needs:
… if more numerous than what will suffice for one’s own life, they become officious, and are hindrances in respect of living well: and so we do not want them.
Also Book VI (on Intellectual Virtue), 1140a:
It is thought then to be the property of the Practically Wise man to be able to deliberate well respecting what is good and expedient for himself, not in any definite line, as what is conducive to health or strength, but what to living well.
–– translation D. P. Chase, 1911 (Everyman’s Library, No. 547)
IV.26 | others again would
“bare is back without brother behind it”
» From The Story of Burnt Njáll, or Njáls Saga, a 13th-century Icelandic saga, chapter 151.
“there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”
» Proverbs 18:24.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
IV.27 | for of course we
“unconcerning things, matters of fact”
» John Donne, The Anatomie of the World, second part, “The Progresse of the Soule: The Second Anniversary” (1612), line 285, on the soul’s “ignorance in this life and knowledge in the next”:
What hope have wee to know our selves, when wee
Know not the least things, which of our use be?
Wee see in Authors, too stiffe to recant,
A hundred controversies of an Ant;
And yet one watches, starves, freeses, and sweats,
To know but Catechisms and Alphabets
Of unconcerning things, matters of fact …
IV.32 | in one respect
» Morris dance is a form of English folk-dance. It seems to date from the 15th century, when it may have been part of a fashionable interest in supposedly “Moorish” (i.e. African) spectacle.
IV.41 | secondly, there is
» Alexander Pope, “Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot, or Prologue to the Satires” (1735), line 207. Pope is describing Joseph Addison (1672-1719), or “Atticus”, as a writer of true genius but so jealous of his own literary fame that he would
Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes,
And hate for arts that caused himself to rise;
Damns with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Like Cato, give his little
And sit attentive to his own applause,
IV.44 | alone among unsympathetic
“after our own heart”
» The phrase probably goes back to I Samuel 13:14 (cited in Acts 13:22). The prophet Samuel is speaking to King Saul and referring to David as Saul’s successor to the throne.
… thy kingdom shall not continue: The Lord has sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people … [KJV]
» Usual word for “brothers” in the Authorized Version or King James Bible, published in 1611. Thus for example at the end of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (6:23): “Peace be to the brethren”.
IV.48 | the danger is
what the Priests in Our Lord’s time thought of the common people
» Cf. John 7:25-49. After the “chief priests and the Pharisees” have sent temple guards to arrest Jesus, and the guards return empty-handed (7:45-49):
“Why didn’t you bring him in?”
“No-one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared.
“You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law – there is a curse on them.” [NIV]
Knights in Froissart’s chronicles … our standards today …
» Jean Froissart (c. 1337-1400) was a French chronicler and poet, and an almost exact contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. Froissart’s Chroniques, written in the last three decades of his life, are a record of European history from the year 1325 on, with particular emphasis on the war between France and England. Lewis was already reading the book in early 1917, as mentioned in a letter to his friend Arthur Greeves (Collected Letters I, 287). Froissart came up again in a 1932 letter to Greeves, and Lewis remembered learning from it “how much of the chivalry in the romances was really practiced in the wars of the period” (Collected Letters II, 53). When discussing the 16th-century English translation of Froissart’s work in his 1954 book English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Lewis noted that it would be “not quite truthful” to describe “Froissart as wholly indifferent to the fate of harmless and ungentle civilians.” He further states there that “[Froissart’s] theme is chivalry – the life of the romances reproduced as nearly as possible in the real world – chivalry in all its hardness, all its softness, and all its fantasticality” (154).
In an essay of August 1940, as Britain’s war with Germany was reaching its first climax, Lewis stressed the relevance in modern times of the knightly ideal. He commended its starkly dual character – the frankly artificial blend of heroism and meekness – as a safeguard for civilized life. The essay was reprinted that same year as “The Importance of an Ideal”, and much later as “The Necessity of Chivalry” in the volume Present Concerns (1986).
» An old word for farm labourers. Like many such words (cf. boor, clown), it has become pejorative. “Churlish” now means “mean-spirited, surly, ungenerous.”
IV.53 | this sense of
Olympian … Titanic
» In ancient Greek mythology the Olympians were the chief gods, with Zeus as the supreme god. They were considered to have their abode on Mount Olympus. Hence the “Olympian” attitude is an extreme sense of superiority. The Titans were a family of primordial gods, descended from Uranus and Gaia and defeated by Zeus.
Knights Templar …Baphomet
» The Knights Templar were a military religious order founded by Crusaders in Jerusalem around the year 1118 to defend the Holy Sepulchre and Christian pilgrims. Almost two centuries later, the “Order of Solomon’s Temple” was suppressed and disbanded. One of the charges brought against them was that they worshipped a deity or idol called Baphomet.
IV.54 | my two nice
“the Souls”… Edwardian times
» An informal but distinctive, mostly aristocratic social group in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It originated from a shared wish among some politicians and intellectuals to have an opportunity for social life where people could be trusted to avoid talking about Irish Home Rule. According to the Wikipedia article on The Souls (December 2016), the group “had faded out as a coherent clique by 1900”. Lewis’s reference to “Edwardian times” is therefore strictly inaccurate (King Edward VII’s reign covered the years 1901-1910), but the extension of the term to include the 1890s is not unusual. One of the initial “Souls” was Arthur James Balfour, the later Prime Minister and foreign secretary and author of Theism and Humanism (1915), a book which Lewis valued highly.
IV.54 | my two nice
» A non-existent but extensively quoted friend of Mrs Gamp in Charles Dickens’s novel Martin Chuzzlewit (1844).
IV.56 | sometimes a circle
“Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return”
» Genesis 3:19, God’s speech to Adam after the fall and before Adam and Eve are driven out from the garden of Eden.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
IV.59 | friendship, then, like
Christina and her party in The Pilgrim’s Progress … the House of the Interpreter
» John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Second Part (1684), passage at the end of the “second stage” (just over one-quarter through this Part, marked by the song “This place has been our second stage”).
IV.60 | for then it will
“it is not in our power to love or hate”
» From Christopher Marlowe’s mythological erotic poem Hero and Leander (1598), line 167, immediately after the description of how Hero in the temple of Venus opens her eyes:
Thence flew love’s arrow with
the golden head,
And thus Leander was enamourèd.
Stone still he stood, and evermore he gazed,
Till with the fire that from his countenance blazed,
Relenting Hero’s gentle heart was strooke;
Such force and virtue hath an amorous looke.
It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overruled by fate.
The reason no man knows; let it suffice
What we behold is censured by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?
In his English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, pp. 486-488, Lewis celebrates this poem as completely successful in its limited way:
Hero and Leander … are nothing but lovers and have no existence apart from their desires. It is as if we were allowed to share in the erotic experience of two daemons or two wild animals. … [W]e see not the passion but what the passion thinks it sees … There is no nonsense about it, no pitiful pretence that appetite is anything other than appetite.
Christ … “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”
» John 15:16, part of the “Farewell Discourse” (John 14-17) that Jesus gave to his disciples (minus Judas) after their last supper on the night before his crucifixion.
IV.61 | not that we must
“God who made good laughter”
Dunbar … Man, please thy Maker, and be merry …
» William Dunbar (c. 1460-c. 1520) was a poet at the court of King James IV of Scotland. The lines are from the last stanza of his poem “Of Covetyce” (=covetousness, greed). After a catalogue of miseries caused by “covetyce”, the poet concludes:
Man, pleiss thy Makar, and be mirry,
And sett nocht by this warld a chirry;
Wirk for the place of Paradyce,
For thairin ringis na Covetyce.
Lewis quotes the same lines in the nine-page section on Dunbar in his English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, p. 97.
V.1 | by eros i mean
(following an old usage) … Venus
» Cf. a passage in Lewis’s 1954 essay “Edmund Spenser, 1552-99”, in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1967), 142:
…in medieval allegory Cupid regularly meant Love (humanized, sentimental, refined, but not necessarily innocent); when they wanted to symbolize the mere sexual appetite they usually represented it by Cupid’s mother, Venus.
V.4 | no one has indicated
George Orwell … preferred sexuality in its native condition
» Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1949), Part II, chapter 2. Orwell actually mentions a political reason for his hero’s anxiety to hear the desired answer:
“I adore it.”
That was above all what he wanted to hear. Not merely the love of one person but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces.
V.5 | the thing is
» Titus Lucretius Carus (94-55 B.C.), Roman poet, author of De rerum natura (“On the nature of things”). Lewis seems to be referring to Book IV, 1073-1076.
fructu caret is qui vitat amorem,
sed potius quae sunt sine poena commoda sumit;
nam certe purast sanis magis inde voluptas
quam miseris …
Metrical translation by William Ellery Leonard (1916):
Nor doth that man who keeps away from love
Yet lack the fruits of Venus; rather takes
Those pleasures which are free of penalties.
For the delights of Venus, verily,
Are more unmixed for mortals sane-of-soul
Than for those sick-at-heart with love-pining.
“Lord, what a beastly fellows these Romans were!”
» From Peregrine Pickle (1751), chapter 44, by the English novelist Tobias Smollett (1721-71).
V.7 | if we had not
Milton … angelic creatures …who can achieve total interpenetration
» John Milton, Paradise Lost VIII, 619-629; final episode of a long conversation between Adam and Raphael, the Archangel. Having talked of “his first meeting and nuptials with Eve” and discussed it with Raphael, Adam ventures to ask,
“Love not the heavenly Spirits, and how their
Express they? by looks only? or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?”
To whom the Angel, with a smile that glowed
Celestial rosy red, Love’s proper hue,
Answered: – “Let it suffice thee that thou know’st
Us happy, and without love no happiness.
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy’st
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
In eminence; and obstacle find none
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars:
Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring, nor restrained conveyance need
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.”
See also Lewis’s 1942 book A Preface to Paradise Lost, ch. XV, “The Mistake about Milton’s Angels”, pp. 109-110. As Lewis notes, the Roman poet Lucretius had pointed out that
men seek (and find) pleasure, in so far as they lust: they seek (and cannot achieve) total union in so far as they are lovers
and Milton may have been thinking of the passage in question (Lucretius, De rerum natura IV, 1076-1111).
“Love you? I am you”
» Charles Williams, The Figure of Beatrice: A Study in Dante (1943), ch. XI “The Paradiso”, p. 204. Williams is noting Dante’s peculiar use of verbs that are composed of the prefix “in‑” and a noun or pronoun, such as incielare (to “in-Heaven”, III, 97) and indiare (to “in-God”, IV,28). Thus also, and most notably, in Paradiso IX, 80-81, as the poet addresses the heavenly spirit of Folco di Marsiglia:
Già non attenderei io tua domanda,
s’ io m’ intuassi, come tu t’ inmii.
I would not wait for thee to
Could I in-thee me as thou in-meëst me.
–– translation Sayers/Reynolds, 1962 (Penguin Classics)
Folco’s subsequent speech is the last episode of the poet’s ascent through the sphere of Venus, or “third heaven”. Williams comments that the poet’s use of intuare (“in-thee”) and inmiare (“in-me”) is “the most challenging” case of this peculiarity, as it comes
at the very point of the earth’s coned shadow on “the fair planet that hearteneth to love” [Purgatorio I, 19]. It is the very definition of all heaven, but especially of the heavens that are to follow; it is their mode of life. Something of this is known, on occasion, in the life of lovers; not, perhaps, in many; not, certainly, often. There is some kind of experience which can only be expressed by saying: “Love you? I am you.”
V.12 | one author tells
“a solemn, sacramental hymn”
“pillar of blood”
» …?? (cf. note to II.19, above)
Freud, Kraft-Ebbing, Havelock Ellis and Dr. Stopes
» Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Austrian neurologist and founder of psychotherapy; Richard von Krafft-Ebing [not Kraft-Ebbing] (1840-1902), author of Psychopathia Sexualis: eine klinisch-forensische Studie [“Sexual Psychopathy: A Clinical-Forensic Study”] (1886); Henry Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), English physician who wrote on various sexual practices and inclinations; Marie Stopes (1880-1958), British plant palaeontologist, author of Married Love (1918) and cofounder of the first birth control clinic in Britain.
» See note to III.19, above.
V.15 | we must not be
the Aphrodite of the Greeks … “laughter-loving”
» Aphrodite is the Greek goddess that was commonly identified with the Roman goddess Venus. Philommeidēs (φιλομμειδὴς), “loving laughter”, is an epithet for Aphrodite in Homer’s Ilias III, 424, and Odyssey VIII, 362. It also occurs several times in the “Homeric” Hymn to Aphrodite, 45-167, when Zeus makes the goddess fall in love with the Trojan hero Anchises:
Therefore, when laughter-loving Aphrodite saw him, she loved him, and terribly desire seized her in her heart. … And laughter-loving Aphrodite put on all her rich clothes, and when she had decked herself with gold, she left sweet-smelling Cyprus and went in haste towards Troy …After her came grey wolves, fawning on her, and grim-eyed lions, and bears, and fleet leopards, ravenous for deer: and she was glad in heart to see them, and put desire in their breasts, so that they all mated, two together, about the shadowy coombes. … And Anchises was seized with love, so that he opened his mouth and said: “… neither god nor mortal man shall here restrain me till I have lain with you in love right now …” So speaking he caught her by the hand. And laughter-loving Aphrodite, with face turned away and lovely eyes downcast, crept to the well-spread couch which was already laid with soft coverings for the hero …
–– prose translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, 1914 (Heinemann, London)
Tristan and Isolde … Papageno and Papagena
» Tristan and Isolde are the hero and heroine of a medieval legend of which many written versions have survived; see note to IV.1, above. Papageno and Papagena are a comic pair of lovers in Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte, 1791).
V.16 | venus herself will
Sir Thomas Browne … “the foolishest act …”
» Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici (1643), II.8.
V.18 | for i can hardly
» From Latin animal rationale – a well-known definition of “human being” in some ancient and medieval philosophers, including Seneca and St Thomas Aquinas.
V.19 | man has held
the prison or the “tomb” of the soul
» The body as the soul’s “prison” is a guiding idea of Socrates’s last
conversation with his friends, as recorded in Plato’s dialogue Phaedo (cf. 62b, 66b-68b, 82e-83a).
The “tomb” idea appears in Plato’s Gorgias, 493a, which alludes to a phrase from the Orphic religious tradition, sōma sēma (σῶμα σῆμα).
καὶ ἡμεῖς τῷ ὄντι ἴσως τέθναμεν: ἤδη γάρ του ἔγωγε καὶ ἤκουσα τῶν σοφῶν ὡς νῦν ἡμεῖς τέθναμεν καὶ τὸ μὲν σῶμά ἐστιν ἡμῖν σῆμα …
and we really, it may be, are dead; in fact I once heard sages say that we are now dead, and the body is our tomb …
W.M.R. Lamb, 1967
St. Francis … “Brother Ass”
» The term is recorded in Bonaventura da Bagnoregio’s Legenda maior Sancti Francisci, or Major Legend of Saint Francis (1263), chapter 5, “The Austerity of his life and how creatures provided him comfort”.
He taught the brothers to flee with all their might from idleness, the cesspool of all evil thoughts; and he demonstrated to them by his own example that they should master their rebellious and lazy flesh by constant discipline and useful work. Therefore he used to call his body Brother Ass, for he felt it should be subjected to heavy labor, beaten frequently with whips, and fed with the poorest food.
–– translation from the Latin in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, edited by Regis J. Armstrong, J. A. Wayne Hellmann, and William J. Short (New City Press, New York etc. 2000), Vol. II, The Founder, p. 564.
V.20 | ass is exquisitely
a Touchstone and an Audrey
» Characters (“the court jester” and “a country wench”) in Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It; cf. note to II.39, above.
V.21 | for indeed we require
» (Latin) “heavy burning”. From the Carmina of Catullus (see note to III.45, above), nr. 2, line 8.
Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
favorite of my girl,
–– translation Joannes Fortaperus, www.rudy.negenborn.net/catullus/text2/e2.htm