24 December 2010

The Turning of the Tide, part 4

Heaven danced to it and burned. Such answer was returned
To the hush, the Favete,* the fear
That Earth had sent out; revel, mirth and shout
Descended to her, sphere below sphere.**
Saturn laughed and lost his latter age's frost,
His beard, Niagara-like, unfroze;***
Monsters in the Sun rejoiced; the Inconstant One,
The unwedded Moon,^ forgot her woes.
A shiver of re-birth and deliverance on the Earth
went gliding. Her bonds were released.
Into broken light a breeze rippled and woke the seas,
In the forest it startled every beast.
Capripods fell to dance from Taproban to France,
Leprechauns from Down to Labrador,
In his green Asian dell the Phoenix from his shell
Burst forth and was the Phoenix^^ once more.


*In religious ritual this has come to mean "keep silence."
**See here for a diagram of the heavenly spheres, with Earth in the middle.
***In medieval astrology (a fascinating subject and one that interested Lewis immensely), Saturn was a melancholy planet, cold and grim.
^The moon, on the other hand, represented a collection of traits from insanity to virginity. Hence "the unwedded and inconstant one."
^^Author Bruce Edwards remarks, "The reviving universe reaches its fever pitch of rebirth in the reigniting of the Phoenix, which functions as a metaphor for Christ."

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