Satanic Verses

Note: Gottfried's unfailing sardonic subtext betrays these lines by its sudden absence as somehow certainly bogus. But the music is still his. I think an angel of a different revelation caught his ear here for a moment, giving him some lines that might defend his shockingly latitudinarian stance on sex and adultery. Consider too that as I read him, Gottfried really didn't know anything about women. This strange passage smells distinctly like a dilettante verdict from Eleanor's Poitevin love-courtiers, ripened in randy Plantagenet dalliance. He could have just found what he needed ready-made in Thomas and used it unadorned.
Surveillance inescapably produces a flourishing crop, wherever it is cultivated, of hard thorns and brambles. Rankling fury is one fruit that poisons praise and honor, dishonoring many a woman who would keep her good repute if she were treated with justice. When injustice is her lot, honor and spirits are degraded— For her, surveillance has perverted honor and aspiration. Wherever it is imposed, surveillance is lost on woman, for no man, try as he will, can govern a woman who doesn't care. The careful ones must not be watched— they watch themselves, it is said. And any watching beyond that can only antagonize them. Whoever tries perverts woman, both in person and in honor to such an extent, indeed, that never again does she conform quite to her usual decency. Then there remains always something of what those brambles have borne, since brambles, pernicious as they are, once sown in such receptive soil quickly take persistent root and are far harder to eradicate than from wasteland or elsewhere. Well do I know—a pure mind, treated so long unfairly that its fruitfulness is spoiled, then bears fruit far more bitter than the bitterness that spoiled it. This is the truth. I have read it. Therefore a man who is wise and truly respects his wife will try no other supervision of her good intentions, 17900 exercised in private, beyond advice and example, tender and sympathetic. That is how he should watch her. And you may be sure of this: he can watch her no more effectively, because, be she good or wicked, treat her unfairly once too often and she may take an attitude you'd much rather she didn't have. Therefore every solid citizen and those with higher aspirations will do well to trust his wife— and trust himself, as well— to refrain from indecency because of her love for him. No matter how it's tried, a woman cannot be compelled to give her love, by any means of force or coercion. Such attempts extinguish love. In love, surveillance has no place— it can only arouse anger, the cause of woman's degradation. I think that man does well who refrains from prohibitions, which hardly show respect for women. We often do forbidden things we would not think of doing if they were not forbidden. This prickly perversity, God knows, is an inborn trait, and women, who are of that strain are children of their mother Eve who broke the first commandment. Our Lord God allowed her full and free enjoyment of fruit, flowers, and grass such as grew in paradise to do with as she wished, but forbade her a single thing upon pain of life and death. Our priests tell us that one thing was the fig. She plucked it, breaking God's command, and thus was lost to herself and God. I am firmly convinced of this: Eve never would have done it, had it not been forbidden. It was on this first transgression 17950 that she founded all her kind by doing what had been forbidden. If we take a broader view, Eve would have been well advised to do without that single fruit, having, as she did, free access to whatever else it was she could possibly have wanted, but longed to have just that with which she ate up all her bliss. Thus they're all Eve's children who are eve'd after Eve. Ho, if you could only forbid them— what a tribe of Eves you find in our day, who, forbidden, throw away themselves and God! Since this resides in their species, something nature has put there, those who yet can resist it earn high praise and reputation. An unnaturally virtuous woman who preserves, despite her nature, her name, her honor, and her body, is a woman in name only— in spirit she is a man, and is to be much respected with high opinion and honor in all of her concerns. Wherever a woman lays aside her womanhood and heart and takes on man's heartiness, the fir tree is giving nectar, the hemlock distilling balm, the deep root of nettles shooting up bears roses. What could be more praiseworthy or admirable in a woman than that she use her honor to combat the urges of her body to salvage the rights of both, her honor and her body? It is a fight she must conduct so as to give both their due, and take careful consideration that neither of the contestants suffers from neglect. One who lets her honor slide for her body, or vice versa, is not a conscientious woman, having, as she does, the choice 18000 of upholding both of them. Let her strive not to ruin either of these virtues, cost it whatever pain or pleasure circumstances may require. God knows, woman must continually persevere to advance in dignity. Let her therefore commend her life to moderation, with it hedge about her mind and embellish personal habits. Sublime moderation ennobles body and honor. There is nothing under the sun, now or has there ever been, quite so blessed as the woman who has entrusted her life and her body to moderation and has true respect for herself. As long as she continues able to love herself, it follows inevitably that all the world loves her. Who can love a woman if she degrades her body, setting her mind against it so that she despises herself? Who will waste his love or throw away honors on one who dishonors her body for all the world to see? We find our desire quenched at any hint of such constriction, and still give the loftiest name to so nameless a business, but no, no! It is not love. This is but its travesty, its perversion, soiling it, a besmirched licentiousness, not worth the name of woman. As the proverb truly has it, she who tries to love many is by many unloved. Let her who has a mind to be loved by all the world love herself first of all, show the world love's footprints— if they are true love's track, the world will join her in love. 18050 A woman able to cherish her own femininity to general appreciation should be rightly esteemed, valued and appraised, bewreathed and crowned with continuous honors, to the general honor of all. To whomever she appeals, to whom she devotes herself with her body and her mind, her intentions and her love, blessed was he to be born, selected and elected to all the living joys of life, having the living paradise sequestered within his heart. No fear must he endure that the brambles may afflict him while he longs for the blossoms, or that the thorn might prick him as he tries to gather roses. The brambles and the thorns are gone. All thorny antagonism has nothing more to do here. Rosy reconciliation has crowded it all out, thorns, thistles, and brambles. In this new paradise nothing buds from the branches bearing any green increase except what pleases the eye. All of it flourishes with womanly kindliness. Nothing dwells within it but faithfulness and love, honor and public respect. Ho, a paradise like that so laden with delights as though a May eternal— there might a blessed man find all his heart's desire and feast his eyes on delight. How could he be worse off than Tristan and Isolt? If he would follow my advice, never should he trade his life for any that Tristan ever led. For when a well-behaving wife lays her honor and her body 18100 at the feet of a man, oho, how she puts her heart in it! How tenderly she cares for him! How she clears the path before him of the thorns and thistles, and all the anger of yearning! How she relieves him of dread— far better than any Isolt ever did for any Tristan! And I am convinced of this— if one searched as he should, there live yet plenty of Isolts in whom one might still find all that could be desired.
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