Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The End Of Ys

Ysans read Marcus Aurelius' (see image) Meditations in Latin translation. Why Latin translation? Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor. Yes, but he wrote in Greek.

When Niall, enemy of Ys, walks along the seawall to unlock the gate and let in the sea:

"A billow afar growled like the drums of an oncoming army."
-Poul and Karen Anderson, Dahut, Chapter XIX, section 5, p. 441.

And the sea will enter the city like an invading army.

"As it drew closer, gathered speed, lifted and lifted its smoking crest, the breaker's voice..." (ibid.)

A literal voice? Will Lir speak?

"...became such thunder as rolls across the vault of heaven." (ibid.)

Not a literal voice. However, Gods are associated both with heaven and with thunder.

"When it struck and shattered, the sound was as of doomsday." (ibid.)

Ysans are about to experience their doomsday.

When Gratillonius is roused from a slumber spell, he is compared to a fish pulled towards the light. We remember that the Apostles were called fishers of men and we might remember from previous readings of The King Of Ys that Gratillonius will convert to Christianity.

"On his second rising, he saw the grey-bearded craggy face." (p. 444)

A bearded fisher of men? God the Father? Christ? St Peter? Maybe but here and now they are manifested in the form of their minister, Corentinus:

"'Rouse, rouse, man!' the pastor barked." (ibid.)

Pulled up like a fish, Gratillonius is saved from drowning like most other Ysans. On pp. 444-445, Corentinus describes his warning vision in appropriately Biblical language. It is rather long but I will quote it in full if anyone wants me to who has not got access to the text. Thunders resound while the angel cries, 'Woe...' etc.

Wall and gate have protected Ys for four centuries - twenty generations? A long time. Everything ends but a time traveler who wanted to enjoy a full lifespan in Ys could travel back to an earlier century.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

It's not really surprising Marcus Aurelius wrote in Greek. Educated Romans of his time were as proficient in Greek as in Latin. And one of the characters in Anderson's short story "Wildcat" was mentioned as reading a LATIN translation of Marcus Aurelius' MEDITATIONS.

I've read the MEDITATIONS myself. There is much in that book worthy of respect and admiration. Altho old, I prefer the George Long/James Gutman's translation. More recent translations were corrupted by Political Correctness when they bowdlerized the Emperor's comment in MEDITAIONS 1.16 about how his father overcame all passion for boys. Horrors! Doubleplus ungood! How dare anyone be critical, even briefly, about homosexuality!

Thunder and earthquakes are sometimes used in the Old Testament to symbolize God's power. But, the "still, small voice" Elijah heard during his flight from Queen Jezebel reminds us God has no need for ostentatious dramatics. He can speak to us in quiet ways as well.

Now that's interesting, that Gratillonius saw a vision of God the Father or St. Peter. I had thought it was simply Corentinus he saw. But the analogy of Gratillonius being "pulled up" from the sleep spell like a fish certainly makes me think of how the first of the popes was a fisherman.

I have THE KING OF YS, so I can easily look up Corentinus' warning vision.


Paul Shackley said...

Sorry. I didn't mean that Grallon did see God or Peter. I used question marks to indicate that those were the figures that came into my mind with mention of a "bearded face." It was just our old Corentinus - but I suggest the he stood for the others.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Oops! I misunderstood you. I thought you were speculating Gratillonius saw either God or St. Peter.
But Corentinus certainly can be said to represent them.