AMARANTH IN ART. POETRY

Автор - | 07.03.2019

In the process of historical development, each society formed its own, a special kind of art, and a rarity, an exception to the rule was a society in which there was no art at all. Each of its varieties, in turn, had its own characteristic features, and the earlier this or that branch of art began to form, the simpler were its attributes. The first and simplest of such signs was, of course, certain sign systems. And the second – and the first at the abstract level – were symbols in the broad sense of the word. Since the origin of art in the Attractive-Purple-Amaranth-Flower-For-Decoration is not simply the case when the first person appeared, and since it was actually one of the first ways to communicate, most of the characters were that primitive people saw and worshiped – elements of nature.

Amaranth, due to its natural features – endurance, endurance in drought conditions and unusual appearance, could not but become one of these symbols. Legends, where this plant played a dominant role, have been preserved since the times of the ancient Incas. Amaranth Ancient Greece, where the plant got its current name, did not ignore.

The history of amaranth in art has, thus, several thousand years. It began with myths and legends, and continues in all types of modern art – in music, in painting, in cinema and, of course, in prose and in poetry.

Perhaps it is not surprising that it is poetry that exploits the image of amaranth the most. Signs (in this case, words) are the most multivariant in it and have the greatest number of potential interpretations due to interrelationship with other words – which, in turn, have their own extensive field of interpretation. If the image of amaranth in prose, in painting, in music is quite unambiguous and usually involves association with immortality and the absence of withering, less often with healing, then in poetry the number of meanings increases many times, or more precisely, they overlap each other sometimes not in two, and in three, four layers.

Amaranth in English poetry
As one of the most striking examples here, one can cite the poetry of the 17th century English classic John Milton. In his most famous poem, “The Lost Paradise,” he reveals a classic story – the struggle between good and evil – through the religious images of the Creator and Satan, heaven and hell, sharply opposing them. The unconditional separation of these images into “light” and “darkness” became a characteristic feature of Renaissance literature, and this gives the right to assume that Milton did not borrow traditional symbols from other poets and prose writers of his time, but created them independently, guided, most likely, by folklore and partly antique ideas about a particular symbol. The Milton image of an amaranth is curious against this background. On the one hand, the poet attributes amaranth to a paradise flower, avoiding other interpretations:

... the Creator hardly spoke as thundered

A jubilant cry

Among the Angelic host. Slender choir

Huge, sweet voices

Enthusiastic “osannoy” announced

The whole empirey. Bowing humbly

To the foot of the Thrones of the Son and the Father,

Angels make their wreaths,

Where is gold and eternal amaranth

Intertwined; that amaranth that bloomed in Paradise,

Near the Tree of Life, but when Adam

He disobeyed, – He was taken to Heaven again,

His ancestral homeland; now flower

The source of life dawned again,

Where the waves of amber amid Heaven attracts

Blissful river among the fields

Elision. Unscarred Flower

Good Perfume curls decorate

Radiant; now wreaths

Tied up the floor, sparkling in the bagretz

Fragrant placer of heavenly roses,

Smiling – like a sea of ​​jasm …

(translation by A. Steinberg)

On the other hand, despite the fact that amaranth appears in the image of a paradise plant, it is obvious that Milton does not associate it with paradise itself, but with a person who returns to paradise after earthly wanderings, which the lines unequivocally hint at:

… the amaranth that bloomed in Paradise

Near the Tree of Life, but when Adam

He disobeyed, – He was taken to Heaven again,

His ancestral homeland; now flower

The source of life dawned again …

The following is interesting. Elements of nature (in particular, plants), which were practically not used in everyday life, but had an aesthetic appeal together with a significant symbolic load, became “paradise” in the literature of this time. Such poetic-pen plants flourished in folklore for several hundred years before the Renaissance, and the more time passed, the more they “broke away from the earth”, acquiring more and more abstract features and losing concrete. In contrast to them, the image of plants commonly used in everyday life, including medicinal plants, both in literature and in painting, looks much more specific, more “mundane”: flowers and herbs do not lose real properties in the works of poets and do not overgrow with mystical ones. The absence of excessive symbolism in relation to amaranth in English poetry suggests that this plant was also known to English healers of the 15th – 17th centuries, thanks to which its image in works of art is quite accurate.

Amaranth retains its natural endurance in the “Lost Paradise” throughout the entire poem. Despite the struggle, as a result of which the balance of forces of good and evil has changed significantly, amaranth is still a paradise plant and, obviously, contributes to the return of man to heaven. Otherwise, it is difficult to interpret the passage where the appeal of good forces to the “sons” is preceded by the angels’ release from amaranth:

… Truffle angelic spread

On all edges of Heaven; from everywhere –

From amaranth, happy Kusch,

From the banks of the streams of living water,

Where are the Children of the Light, in a joyous circle,

Communicated among themselves – they are in a hurry

On the royal call, take your seats;

From the throne of the highest Lord

The almighty voice spoke:

– My Sons! ..

(translation by A. Steinberg)

The multi-layered image of amaranth appears, therefore, in the “Lost Paradise” in all its glory. The base layer is a healing plant, quite material and without any additional symbolic load, Milton borrowed, probably observing nature or communicating with healers, but obviously not from folklore, otherwise divine features would be seen at the base of the image of Milton’s amaranth. Further, the poet uses the name “amaranth” and its natural qualities to reward this plant with the traditional epithet “non-blind” in this case. And the next value — the next layer — is a flower that “bloomed in paradise”, but disappeared from there when Adam committed his sin. That is, amaranth is transferred to the earth after the criminal who was expelled from paradise. However, on earth, the plant supports mortals on the path to purification and returning to paradise, and, together with the man who ascended to heaven, blooms again in the Garden of Eden. The amaranth at Milton is a fading, eternal companion of a person on the path to full healing, purification and eternal happy life (“… from amaranth, happy boon …”).

No less curious is Milton’s idea of ​​the amaranth in the poem “Lyusidas”, which was written in memory of the poet’s drowned friend. The work is a pastoral elegy, in which grief for an untimely dead friend and a general idealistic mood are combined with philosophical speculations about death. The amaranth here has the epithet “sorrowful,” but his image appears at that moment when the poet almost resigns himself to death and, moreover, idealizes it, hoping and even being sure that his friend in the afterlife is much happier than here on earth.

... Let the mournful amaranth, the sad narcissus

Pour tears on their cups

And with a royal cover in a moment of farewell

The sea will cope with the family

And our peers Lyusidas kidnapped.

[…]

But shepherds, brush away the tears from their eyes.

Pretty cry for our dear friend

Alive, though he disappeared under water from us.

So in the ocean daylight,

When it accomplished the goal,

Hides in order in its time and hour

From the brow of heaven shine again with a diamond.

Going to the bottom, our friend ascended at once

By the grace of the creator of the earth and the waters

To other rivers and bushes,

Where the choir of saints sings

Praise before the throne who carried it …

(translation by Yu. Korneev)

In Lucidas, a reference to Ancient Greece and, in particular, to ancient Greek myths is quite obvious. The Greeks planted this plant on the graves of soldiers who died with honor, whose after-death should have been happier and more carefree than earthly existence. He was imprisoned primarily by friends or a beloved warrior. It was believed that amaranth, in view of its resilience, would be able to grow through the earth so that those who died in the underworld did not remain hungry and, just as in Lost Paradise, could go on the road to eternal happy life.

It seems that, even without religious symbolism, amaranth is perceived by another English master of poetry – Alfred Tennyson, the author of the famous “Sorceress of Shallot” and the favorite poet of Queen Victoria. In the poem “Tasteful lotus”, amaranth is a part of a kind of “earthly paradise”, nature, which is at the peak of flowering, nature, whose splendor and beauty cause a person to have almost mystical delight:

… But here, where is amaranth and moths in full color

Everywhere sprawled around

Where the skies breathe with azure and greetings

And blow a light breeze,

Where the sparkling flow melody lullaby

Rings, from the purple mountains gliding, –

How sweet to eat here alone

Delight that can not be expressed.

(translation by K. Balmont)

It is about mystical delight that the fact that amaranth and moth Tennyson puts in one row and does not mention any other plants allows us to speak. Moth is a magic flower in English Poetry folklore, designed to intimidate evil forces. There is a theory that wild garlic was a type of moth. Amaranth at Tennyson, apparently, also has some magical properties, and perhaps that is why the picture, which paints the poet, causes “delight, which can not be expressed.” That is, these words are used in the literal sense: the feelings caused by supernatural forces cannot really be expressed in human language. Another interpretation allows us to assume that an amaranth and a plant resembling moths simply cause the invisible hero to feel enchanted, bewitched, make the world around him especially beautiful and plunge into exaltation. And what caused this feeling – whether the beauty of plants, their unfadingness, vitality or amazing properties – it remains only to guess.

Another English poet, a representative of the Romantic school, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in the poem “Work Without a Dream”, speaks otherwise of amaranth. Although if you look closely, you can see that the image of the plant has not undergone any special changes compared to Milton and Tennyson – the message has simply changed:

Nature is work. Left the bug to the hole.

The bee buzzes, and in the sky – a bird’s ringing.

Winter with a smile fell asleep in the wind

And on the face of her spring dream is visible!

The only one I am is idle shore.

Honey is not carrying, not building, not running.

I look at the dunes where the amaranth is branched

Around the fragrance dispelled fragrant.

Oh, amaranth! Bloom, bloom for all.

But only for me sin bloom!

I wander with a face drooping, weightless,

But how do you know that the soul tends to sleep?

Work without a dream is nothing. Dream is freedom.

But it must be aimed at something.

(translation by A. Deryabin)

Coleridge’s amaranth is still the same lush blooming, unfading, lush plant, a symbol of vitality, carefree and happy existence. Only the eternal philosophical question about the meaning of human life is mixed with it, and all the pomp, idleness of a flowering plant takes on this background a different shade. The hero of the poem opposes himself to amaranth, and perhaps this also conceals the hidden meaning invested by the poet: nature itself told the immortal plant to carelessly bloom in its pleasure, and for a mortal man such a life is impossible not only from the material point of view, but also from the psychological, and with moral.

In the 18th century, Coleridge’s contemporary, Percy Bysshe Shelley, returns to Milton’s interpretation of the image of amaranth. Moreover, if Milton has an amaranth, albeit a paradise, but still a plant, then Shelly’s image acquires anthropomorphic features, and the amaranth turns into Amaranth — either a demigod or an angel. The rest of his abilities — healing, cleansing, as well as the ability to lead a warrior-hero through death to existence in the body of a demigod — are preserved. In the poem “Freed Prometheus” Prometheus calls Amaranth to help exhausted people who first encountered all the misfortunes of mortals:

… And the terrible ghost of death, not known

Before anyone: alternately

That heat, the cold, the host of their arrows,

In the timeless time of the homeless

I drove to the mountain caves: there myself

The pale nations found the lair;

And in their hearts the desert he sent

Boiling needs, madness

Anxiety burning, imaginary goods mirage,

He raised the turmoil of internecine wars

And having made a shelter of people – a den.

Seeing these evils, Prometheus

His call affectionate inspired

The nap of many facets of hope

Whose bed is Elysian flowers,

The Incorruptible Amaranth, Nipensis, Moli.

So that these awakened hopes

The transparency of the heavenly wings,

Like a rainbow, they closed the ghost of Death …

(translation by K. Balmont)

In fact, it was from Shelly that the image of amaranth acquired completeness and became the traditional way for us, which is used in modern world art as well-established and not requiring further clarification.

In general, the image of amaranth in English poetry allows us to draw two conclusions regarding this plant:

Both noble and ordinary people were well aware of amaranth, which means that in modern Britain it grew, if not everywhere, in many places.

People knew about the beneficial properties of amaranth, among other things, that it can be eaten and that people can live on products from this plant for a long time. This gives the right to assume that the healing properties of the plant were used very actively. The latter assumption confirms the fact mentioned above: in spite of numerous prerequisites, the image of amaranth in English poetry was not separated fundamentally from amaranth in everyday life and remained fairly realistic.
This once again demonstrates that amaranth was used in different countries around the world long before the recent discovery of its properties by modern scientists.

Amaranth in Russian poetry
In the works of Russian poets amaranth often began to meet, starting from the XVIII century. In earlier poetic texts, the image of the plant is mentioned only among seminarians, who, with the help of poetic forms, learned to put their thoughts into words. In fact, these were homemade maxresdefault assignments, later, in class, corrected by teachers, which makes it difficult to call these works as full-fledged poetry. The students amaranth was mentioned either as a medicinal plant (which is not surprising, since doctors in Russia used it to treat many diseases and even left records about it), or as a plant growing everywhere in the native land of the seminarian. In view of the latter, amaranth sometimes symbolized the home and the earth. Seminarists were rarely acquainted with the history of amaranth, and therefore they could not use its image as a divine symbol, etc., at least there is no evidence of this.

In the poetry of the 18th century, amaranth is mentioned by Adrian Dubrovsky, a student of M. V. Lomonosov, in “The Adventures of Telemachus, son of Ulyssov”. For Russia at that time, the work was undesirable, since the novel “The Adventures of Telemak” by Francois Fenelon, according to which most highly adapted translations were made, discredited the Russian monarchy with descriptions of the French monarchy. However, the work of Dubrovsky was published in 1754, and the image of amaranth in it completely repeats the image of amaranth from European literature:

… Where is the eternal amaranth with violet blossoms,

And many ponds were his,

Like their crystal clearness.

The colors of the different fields are listed,

That round this cave lie circled.

There is a lot of forest and thick trees there,

On which apples hung gold …

Moreover, the similarity between the image of amaranth Dubrovsky and the landscape he painted in this passage, and the image of amaranth and the paradise landscape of Milton in Lost Paradise, which was written a century earlier, is surprising. “Golden apples” of Dubrovsky unequivocally indicate paradise, as well as the “eternal” amaranth, and the idyllic picture of nature in general. The similarity of the already mentioned lines from the Arkady Steinberg translation completes the similarity:

… Where is gold and eternal amaranth

Intertwined; that amaranth that bloomed in Paradise,

Near the Tree of Life …

Whatever the reason for this similarity, it gives the right to assume that Dubrovsky revealed the image of amaranth as well as his English predecessor, and that amaranth here also acts as a divine plant, a symbol of heaven – heavenly or allegorical earthly.

The amaranth, a contemporary of Dubrovsky, one of the Russian Freemasons, the poet Fedor Klyucharyov, perceives much more prosaically. In the poem “Winter”, he describes this time of year as the universal dying and amaranth remembers, obviously, only because of the fresh and rich pink color, which is known for some varieties of this plant:

… Winter here depicts death, –

When the sickle befalls her,

Kindly youth disappears

Losing your life.

Mouth sweet roses fade

And amaranth younger lanit,

Smiles are gentle freeze,

In the eyes of the fire goes out – does not burn …

Perhaps “Winter” by F. Klyucharev is one of the few poetic works written before the 20th century, where amaranth is shown as an ordinary plant, which sooner or later withers.

In an ironic vein, the 19th-century secular poet Ivan Myatlev mentions an amaranth in “Sensations and remarks by Ms. Kurdyukova abroad, given to l’Etrange”, famous for their mockery of life and the characteristic features of “light”. They are written in the language, which is a funny combination of French and philistine Russian – the Russian, spoken by people who aspire to a high position in society, but in fact did not have it. Amaranth is mentioned in a poem dedicated to the stay of the main character in Florence:

… And on purpose, for the figure,

We chose Amaranth,

And on head girland

White roses; around chignon

De Kame, three medallions,

Pearls e de coro

And a tremendous feather.

The Russian poet Apollo Mike returns to the traditional description of amaranth as a unfading celestial flower that feeds mortals with vital forces that can lead them even through the afterlife. In the poem “Hell”, amaranth, along with another “divine” food, brings back to life a bird that has been underground:

From underground from hell

With a noise flew a bird;

And, as flew, sat

On the grass and barely breathes.

See mothers and sisters,

Sweet musk is brought to her,

Amaranth and white sugar.

“Refresh, drink and eat! –

Persuade the bird, –

Tell us what’s in the subterranean,

Have you seen the dark kingdom? ”

“What can I tell you, poor things! –

With a start, she uttered a little bird, –

Death, I saw jumping

On horseback in the underworld;

Young hair drags,

Old hands dragging,

And babies strung

Around the neck for the belt.

A. Maikov does not depart from this image in the poem “Alien”. Here amaranth also traditionally appears as a plant that should accompany a person after death:

… “Be such a yes, I have a friend,

I would eat the land of it so did not give!

I would go to the sea, to the blue sea,

Pomerania went to wide b;

I’d cut the reed sea,

He would have made a spacious coffin for him

I in the coffin would lay him a bed,

All used flowers, lilies of the valley lined,

All would have been lined with fresh amaranth! ”

The Russian philosopher and symbolist poet Vyacheslav Ivanov speaks about the amaranth in the poem Hesperides, the poem Eritis Sicut Dei. If Maikova amaranth is still an image from nature, although it has mystical properties, then Ivanov has this plant from the very beginning a symbol of divine power, and its natural features remain in the background as irrelevant.

… And, a timid look

Climbing to the letters, I read: SAVTON GNOFI.

“Is this the way you are, on this Calvary?”

I rebelled with crying, “Oh, Wisdom, I find?

Do you know the judgment before the end?

Then, since childhood, am I, your jealous secret

Soul of an alcove this congregation sought? ..

Mednostopilny your dream of a temple. Been mad

On the milky marbles, weaved a living tie –

With a lily of amaranth, narcissus, and poppies sleepy,

And the crocus is sunny, and the roses are fragrant.

Amid the entrance of the laurel and temple columns

Prophets bright host and inspired wives

Wandered, intoxicated by silent contemplation,

Ile announced the hills of aerial liras clacking,

Ile with a whisper of foliage and the silence of heaven

Poured harmony of enthusiastic words.

In Russian poetry amaranth appears conditionally in two forms:

A simple uncomplicated image of a beautiful flower that is presented to women, with which women are compared or who, like any other flower, adorns the world around her solely due to its aesthetic component.
Traditional – that is, as a divine plant, leading mortals to heaven.
In the second case, if in English poetry, amaranth and in paradise gardens appears as a plant or at least an element whose prototype was clearly a flower, then in Russian poetry Purple-Amaranth-Flowers-Picture religious symbolic load is so significant that the image of the plant behind her, the amaranth seems to be lost and it symbolizes an approach to heaven and God, but indirectly, that is, he himself does not take part in the “man’s road to the heavenly gates”.

From this we can draw the following conclusion. Obviously, the poets using the first image took it from the surrounding nature and did not make references to earlier European texts, where the amaranth had a distinct symbolism. At the same time, the poets who used the religious component were probably guided precisely by the image of an amaranth from Milton’s texts, or ancient Greek myths, or even the legends of ancient Incas, and amaranth was not directly observed in the surrounding nature, as a result of which an ordinary plant was lost. mystical features.

Amaranth in the poetry of other nations
Not only English poets were inspired by the image of amaranth (and it would be strange if it were not so). The Spanish poet Raphael Alberti mentions the plant in the poem “The Southern Station”:

... Here is Malaga. (There is darkness everywhere,

only a firefly on the dial

the roulette wheel is distraught.)

Oh coastal palm slope resilient

that umbrella under which on his

motorboat you on the bay draw the arc!

Read the menu of the dining car:

clove under saltpere and to it

wine – nutmeg, like amaranth purple.

Goodbye! Goodbye! And now alone

on the road insatiable gaze wind

fast-paced landscapes drink to the bottom.

(translation by Yu. Korneev)

Here is a reference to the comparison of wine with nectar, which the ancient gods drank. Wine was sharply contrasted to the food of mortals, which, as a rule, in such comparisons differed in scarcity, voidness and poverty of taste, or, on the contrary, was celebrated with all the pomp and affectation inherent in the Baroque literature. But in this case, the first approach is used: Alberti reveals everyday life through contrasts, partly even bitterly Bird-And-Red-Amaranth-Flower-Picrony: “in the menu of the dining car” “carnation under the nitre” and as a mockery of the prosaic picture served fine wine, crimson nectar. Amaranth here also appears as a divine plant that has fallen to the earth: replacing nectar in comparison with “wine as nectar”, the image of the plant takes on additional symbolic load and reflects the power that nourishes and nourishes the gods, along with mythological ambrosia and nectar. But this is secondarily, and first of all the reader notes a direct comparison with high-quality muscatel wine – a comparison caused by color, but involuntarily other signs of good aged wine are transferred to amaranth. Against the background of the overall picture that Alberti paints, amaranth, thus, becomes one of the most vivid and life-affirming, although with an admixture of fatalism, symbols of the poem.

Another Spanish poet, Roger Santivanez, has a whole poetry collection called “Amaranth Precedido de Amastris”. Predominantly landscape, social and some love lyrics are collected in it.

Also, amaranth is mentioned in Italian poetry and in Greek ballads, which, unfortunately, have not been translated into Russian.

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