Monday, March 23, 2015

So up to this point, the blog has dealt primarily with Hephaestion & Alexander, but as promised when first set up, it will deal with other research and other literary things as well.  Welcome to the first of those posts (though Hephaestion does manage to sneak in).  This post is partially inspired by some entries on one of my friend Malcolm's stable of blogs where he in part chronicles some of his reading choices.  It is also in part inspired by a discussion with both him and another Brit friend with a blog, Kerrie, who can be found at, about looking at pieces of literature from both a Brit and American perspective and comparing the similarities and differences.  Now the below may not inspire any response in either of them, or any other intelligent person for that matter, but it had flow out here or explode out somewhere else.  

She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byorn

She walks in beauty, like the night
  Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
  Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
  Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
  Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
  Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
  How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
  So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
  But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
  A heart whose love is innocent!

So above is one of my favorite poems of all time and arguably Byron’s  most famous work.  I  first found my way to Byron and the Romantics through Dead Poets’ Society which was a defining movie of my adolescence.  After reading Bryon’s work, I was became a devoted disciple.  Byron saw the Pure Beauty.  Byron was able, perhaps better than almost anyone else, to put a little of it into words.  Here is what I see in what he wrote.

The truest purest form of beauty is a product of night, but not an overcast, deep, or murky night.  It comes from a clear pristine night that features stars, or light, so it combines the best of both the dark and the light into one perfect whole.  It is a tender light that lacks the gaudiness of day or the gaudiness of great surface beauty which entrances but blinds one instantly which one from seeing deeply.  In the dark, things may be hidden from first sight which allows for discoveries to be made if one is willing to walk the path to reach them.  In full light, nothing is hidden; everything is as it seems.  Everything is in sharp relief including blemishes, failings, pain.  It is the perfect balance of dark and light that gives the purest beauty, a little more of either destroys everything.  It diminishes the purity, diminishes the grace, diminishes the beauty, ultimately diminishing its very vessel.  Beauty can draw one in with its surface features, but one must look into the eyes, the smiles, the face to the mind and heart beyond to see the purity of a being which exists in a whole other plane, a place of balance, a place free from  strife, contention, duplicity, and the other ugliness of life.  One sees then a being that is not affected by or even touched by the mire drowning the world around it.  Neither do they look down upon those trapped in its depths.  For part of the Pure Beauty is a need to shares its truths, its precepts, its doctrines with those trapped by the mire.  By sharing, one gives them a chance to extricate themselves, to be free, forever stained, but free.

Byron is a perfect example of this theory of balance.  He lived a life reviled for his lifestyle and personal choices but also lauded for his creation of such beautiful works.  He had some personal habits that could be described as nothing less that dark, but he carried inside him the Pure Beauty, the light of which balanced all that was dark within him.  That light kept him from being one of the masses drowning in the mire, kept him from becoming ugly. 

Sergei Polunin, to me, also seems to be in much the same struggle.  He is a young man beset by demons that seem intent on destroying him through the Death of a Thousand Cuts, yet if one sees him but dance, one sees the Pure Beauty flow through him and out in every move, stretch, bit of choreography.

Jared Leto, Andreja Peijic, Van Gogh, Hephaestion, Thomas Raith.  All beings of great light and great darkness.  All capable of unspeakable horrors but all filled with the Pure Beauty to a state of balance.  All lifted by the balance to a space above the mire.  All who must be protected by those of us trapped in the mire who have sight enough to see and souls enough to realize.  It is a fight against the mire that in the end will take everything we have including life, but that we will fight nevertheless for if we win, if they stay in balance, we may one day be free too—forever stained, for we lack the Pure Beauty to balance us, but free.

Friday, March 13, 2015

First of all, my apologies for the lack of posts.  Fear not.  The Hephaestion book project is by no means dead. It did, however, get shoved to the side the past few months due to life drama.  I hope to get it back on track now.  I have recently gotten a new job, one that is excitingly actually in my career field!  I am afraid that in the past the stress of the hated retail jobs I previously worked often sucked any energy and initiative away.  Happily, this job encourages scholarship.

Likewise, I have been reading a biography of Oscar Wilde.  This is helping to encourage scholarship as well as Wilde was quite the brilliant mind.  He did have a tragic habit of quite callously casting away people when they no longer interested him, but I am endeavoring to not allow that flaw to lessen my esteem.  After all, this is the man who created The Importance of Being Ernest!

I also recently discovered a new wonder of the world, Sergei Polunin, a ballet prodigy from the Ukraine.  If you haven't seen his work, for shame! Immediately open another window and youtube the man!  His connection to the Pure Beauty and its seemingly concerted efforts to drain him of all life have intrigued me greatly.  Expect more to come on him as well.

Last but not least, my dear friend Malcolm, whose Alexander blog can be found at, continues to shame me into work with his prodigious, intelligent, and unfailing output.  If I don't catch up soon, I shall be even more shamed when the skype chats resume shortly!

So definitely more to come in the future

PS.  At some point will also be creating a series of posts which will consist of book reviews from both my American perspective and a friend's British perspective.  First, we take on Austen and Charlotte Bronte!