By Alexandre Leupin
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I was shamefully taken away long ago. (469-471) And: pudit minus in peregrinus Quam castris sordere meis. it is less shameful to be reviled in a foreign land than in my own home. (478-479) T h e redemption o f the old b y the n e w in the text is brilliantly allegorized b y the f i g u r e o f Christ himself. It is not only a s y m b o l o f conversio in all senses o f the term but also, c o n f o r m i n g to the method f a v o r e d by medieval exegesis, functions as a concors discordia (848) between the O l d and the N e w Testaments, the Fall and the R e d e m p t i o n .
Even the graphic forms or, still better, the calligraphic forms of the L manuscript indicate that the problematics of beginning have been reflexively incorporated by the poem. In fact, the poem is preceded by a prose prologue written in the same hand as the major verse portion of the text. The alternating red and black lines of the prologue have a plausible moralizing thrust, since red is the color of Christ and black the color of Satan. The poem itself begins with an exordium of three stanzas, all of which obey the customary rhetorical usages.
Succuba sit capitis pretiosa colore columna Lactea, quae speculum vultus supportet in altum. Let Nature, more powerful than art, polish the chin smoother than marble. Let the milky supporting column of the head, of exquisite color, raise the mirror of the face on high. (583—586) All o f the metaphors o f brilliance and luminosity strewn throughout the treatise are only repetitions o f specularity. E x a m p l e s o f this reflected radiance abound in the text: the luminous j e w e l s used to adorn w o m e n ( ö o s f f ) ; the golden cups refurbishing B a c c h u s ' p o w e r s to the state o f poetic ebriety so dear to Plato (63 i f f ) ; the stars and the sun that melt the snow-child ( 7 i y f f ) .