O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

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O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby toucana on January 18th, 2021, 5:14 pm 

Image

[Exeunt scholars - The clock strikes eleven]

FAUSTUS: Ah, Faustus,
Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
And then thou must be damn’d perpetually!
Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,
That time may cease, and midnight never come;
Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again, and make
Perpetual day; or let this hour be but
A year, a month, a week, a natural day,
That Faustus may repent and save his soul!
O lente, lente currite, noctis equi!
The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
The devil will come, and Faustus must be damn’d…


(Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe 1592)

The Latin tag O lente, lente currite, noctis equi means ”O run slowly, slowly, horses of the night !” It was first used by the Roman poet Ovid in Amores (Liber I, XIII, Line 40). The original context was thoroughly erotic. The Amores published in 16 BC was a poetic tribute to the poet’s love life, and the tag was an impassioned plea to the horses drawing the chariot of time to “slow down”, and to make the night pass more slowly, so that the author could spend longer in dalliance with his mistress.

In 1592 the great Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe borrowed this motif and used it in the climactic final scene of his tragedy Doctor Faustus. But the context is no longer erotic. Faustus who four years earlier had signed away his soul to the devil by signing a pact with the demon Mephistopheles in his own blood is now locked in his own study - abandoned by all his friends and listening to the clock strike eleven. Faustus knows that when the clock strikes midnight, his bargain will fall due, and that demons will appear and drag him to hell for all eternity.

As the full magnitude of his folly sinks in, Doctor Faustus realises what he has squandered for the sake of just four years of limitless power and knowledge. In a state of fulminating existential terror he pleads with God and all the saints he can think of to save him from eternal damnation, or at least to stop the wheels of time from turning before the clock strikes midnight.

Curs’d be the parents that engender’d me!
No, Faustus, curse thyself, curse Lucifer
That hath depriv’d thee of the joys of heaven.

[The clock strikes twelve.]
O, it strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,
Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell!

[Thunder and lightning.]
O soul, be chang’d into little water-drops,
And fall into the ocean, ne’er be found!

[Enter DEVILS.]
My God, my god, look not so fierce on me!
Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while!
Ugly hell, gape not! come not, Lucifer!
I’ll burn my books! – Ah, Mephistopheles!

(Exeunt DEVILS with FAUSTUS)

It’s an unforgettable scene if you have ever seen it acted on the stage - (I recall watching the production at the Edinburgh Festival in 1974 which starred Sir Ian McKellen in the title role on his debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company).

https://mckellen.com/stage/faustus/index.html

It’s a scene I will be thinking of on Tuesday night as Trump’s presidency ends on the 20th January.
Last edited by toucana on January 18th, 2021, 6:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby charon on January 18th, 2021, 5:33 pm 

Trump’s presidency ends on the 20th January


You're not there yet, squire.
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby Serpent on January 18th, 2021, 6:26 pm 

Toucana, how generous you are! That's a tribute far, far beyond the subject's merit!
This would have sufficed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y2wqkD2KVM
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby TheVat on January 19th, 2021, 9:05 pm 

Dark and interesting thread. I had not known about the retooling of Ovid's line, by Marlowe. And "Ghost" had mostly slid over the memory horizon (save the pottery making scene and the subway guy).

I also find this somewhat apt, as a metaphor....

https://youtu.be/tAsjgWeiIYE
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby TheVat on January 19th, 2021, 9:05 pm 

17 hours. Not that anyone's counting...
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby Serpent on January 19th, 2021, 10:53 pm 

Everyone's counting! It's a long time between breaths.

(and still no ROTFL smilies)
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby charon on January 20th, 2021, 9:34 am 

It's half one here now and IT takes place at 4.30. I'm in no hurry.
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby TheVat on January 20th, 2021, 3:08 pm 

https://youtu.be/BBZ7AfZR9xs

Good speech from Biden, and a fine poetry reading by the young poet laureate. Nice to remember what responsible and compassionate leadership sounds like. The poet said the word blunder as "blender," no big deal, I'd be nervous, too. Also nice that it was kind of windy, blowing away the stale hot air and stench of corruption.
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby Serpent on January 20th, 2021, 3:19 pm 

They should have had Cher to sing Amazing Grace - one of my all-time favourite songs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD81_tru0vA
(The last chorus was pretty lame with so few people, all muzzled.)
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby toucana on January 21st, 2021, 6:51 am 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHhut5nhI8g

She has a speech impediment that she has suffered with all the way up to college - a persistent difficulty with articulating the R phoneme. She discusses it with Anderson Cooper in this snippet from CNN last night.

A remarkable young lady.
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Re: O Lente, Lente Currite, Noctis Equi !

Postby charon on January 21st, 2021, 8:50 am 

I'll go for that :-)
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