Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

crowning grace April 6, 2011

Filed under: Grace Beguiling - Petrarch,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:35 pm

“Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart of life, and is prophetic of eternal good.”

~Francesco Petrarca

He had to say that.  He was so obsessed with his Laure, wife of another, that people talked.  He was a priest, after all, and a scholar.  His mind should have been set much higher than all this mundane love stuff.  He knew it, too.  He couched his obsession in lofty terms:  Such love as his for her was a crowning grace!  Oh, he adored her soul.  She inspired him to greater spirituality.  She was all purity and goodness.  Blah blah blah.  I know what obsession looks like.  Francesco had it bad! 

He was a very famous scholar and diplomat in his time.  He traveled through Italy, France and Germany negotiating peace treaties and mediating disputes.  He rescued early Greek and Roman literature and was the father of humanism.  He wrote biographies of the greatest warriors of Classical times.   He had a huge influence on civilization, but what is he most known for?  For his obsession with a married woman.  It’s kind of pathetic, really.  Except, one can’t help admiring his devotion.  What would it be like to be adored like that?  How did Laure feel about it all?  There is some reference to her reactions in his writings and those of others at the time.

What do you think?  How would you feel?


any other April 1, 2011

Filed under: Commentary,Grace Awakening,Grace Beguiling - Petrarch — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:38 am
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“My own age has always repelled me, so that, had it not been for the love of those dear to me, I should have preferred to have been born in any other period than our own.”

~Petrarch in “Letter to Posterity”

I came across this quote in a junior high text book.  It seemed rather profound in the context of his appearance in Grace Awakening, not to mention the development of Grace Beguiling.

I am so looking forward to wandering around Avignon and the Vauclus region, exploring the places where Francesco Petrarca and Laure de Noves de Sade walked 700 years ago.  He first saw her at the church across from our hotel  684 years ago!  

Because Petrarch was such a prolific writer, his words remain with us today.  His thoughts, emotions, and battles are just like those we must sort out in our own lives today.  His words are timeless.  He didn’t just belong to his time, and it’s wonderful how he shared himself so generously with the future.

Imagine how much fun Petrarch would have had in our world.  His blog would have been fascinating to read.  He would have loved being able to travel around the whole world with little effort, and I know he would have loved the internet: entire libraries of thought at his disposal in an instant!  Best of all- there is no black plague to steal his beloved muse in our time.  He could follow all her doings on Facebook and sigh at her profile photo.

I am thankful to live when I do, with all our modern benefits and health care.  If I long for the beauty of a previous age, I am not so foolish so as to imagine that I’d have been among the nobility who would have been able to enjoy it!  I’m glad Petrarch felt enough out of touch with his time, as he looked back to Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and forward to posterity.

How about you?  What time would you like to have been born in?


freaky coincidences strike again… February 10, 2011

Click to view full-sized image

All the time I was writing Grace Awakening, I’d look up some myth or fact and there would appear a strange coincidence that made the hair stand up on my arms.

I just had another one. You know that famous picture by Sandro Botticelli- Printemps? I use the close up the Three Graces component of that picture to illustrate the Grace Awakening section of this blog. If you pull out the perspective a bit, standing right beside the Graces in the centre of the  painting is a young woman. I understood that she’s supposed to be Aphrodite/Venus. She’s supervising everything that’s going on.

Guess who Botticelli based this particular image on? Are you sitting down? I’ve just learned that it was Laure de Noves de Sade, muse of Petrarch who is standing there watching the Graces dancing with that beatifical expression.  Apparently Laure beguiled Botticelli as well as Petrarca.

(The source is Mario Fubini, Laure in Dictionnaire des personnages littéraires et dramatiques de tous les temps et de tous les pays , Éd.)

Wow. Creepy.

But oh so cool!!

Grace Beguiling, indeed!


PS click on the painting and it will enlarge to full screen


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