This is my first Valentine’s Day as an Anglican, which means it’s the first one where I am in a tradition that recognizes it as anything other than a chocolate-fest. I have to think this through, but meanwhile, here’s a Valentine’s Day reading for y’all: Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowles, which is regarded as a major source of our association of the day with the courtly love tradition. And which I studied under Chick Chickering, who forced us to memorize chunks of it.
These chunks, two passages, still remain in my mind, and there’s one in particular that still cuts me with its beauty every time I remember it, which is every time I think about C.S. Lewis’ idea of the Discarded Image, the medieval worldview. It’s a rewriting of a bit from the Dream of Scipio, where Scipio Africanus is taken on a kind of cosmological tour, and shown the structure of the world:
Thanne shewede he hym the lytel erthe that here is,
At regard of the hevenes quantite;
And after shewede he hym the nyne speres;
And after that the melodye herde he
That cometh of thilke speres thryes thre,
That welle is of musik and melodye
In this world here, and cause of armonye.
And for those who are feeling like a little survivalism with their chocolate, today, check out this odd, possibly overstated, slightly creepy in the way that survivalism can be, but somehow insightful article on the connection between the Discarding, so to speak, of the Image; the embrace of virtual reality and the rejection of the physical; neoconservatism; and Amish farming. And I thought I was eclectic.