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Mystical poetry of Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi : A comparison 1987

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MYSTICAL POETRY OF JALALODDIN RUMI AND JACOPONE DA TODI: A COMPARISON By CHOHRE RASSEKH B.A., The University of British Columbia, 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES The Department of Comparative Literature We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1987 © Chohre Rassekh, 1987 In p r e s e n t i n g this thesis in part ia l f u l f i lmen t o f t he requ i remen ts fo r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e at t h e Univers i ty o f Bri t ish C o l u m b i a , I agree that t h e Library shall m a k e it f ree ly avai lable fo r re ference and s t u d y . I f u r the r agree that permiss ion f o r ex tens ive c o p y i n g o f th is thesis fo r scholar ly p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the h e a d o f m y d e p a r t m e n t o r b y his o r her representa t ives . It is u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f th is thesis f o r f inanc ia l ga in shall n o t b e a l l o w e d w i t h o u t m y w r i t t e n pe rm iss ion . D e p a r t m e n t T h e Univers i ty o f Brit ish C o l u m b i a 1956 M a i n M a l l Vancouve r , C a n a d a V 6 T 1Y3 DE-6H/81) ii ABSTRACT " Mystical poetry of Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi: A comparison" attempts to analyze and prove the possibility of a comparison of mystical poetry of the Eastern and Western traditions. The consciousness of the One ( which is ineffable ) is the goal of the mystical experience. This experience finds its expression in the following ways: 1- By affirming its ineffability through the insufficiency of words (the negative way does not exist in complete separation from the affirmative ). 2- By relying on imagery and symbols drawn from the phenomenal world and translating abstract concepts into terms that men can understand. The purpose of this dissertation is to prove that Jacopone da Todi's and Jalallodin Rumi's use of poetic imagery from physical reality is the best expression of their mystical quest. Poetry for Jacopone and Rumi, through metaphorical presence, becomes a vehicle toward Reality. The introduction investigates the historical setting and Rumi's and Jacopone's lives in relation to the cultural environment of the time. The first chapter discusses and defines the concept of mysticism and emphasizes the importance of two fundamental ideas in every type of mysticism : the ideas of Love and Transformation. The second chapter discusses the concept of love as used by Jacopone and Rumi in their poetry. Love is seen as a gift; man in his weakness would never be able to attract it or reject. Love is also seen as frenzy and passion, hence the use of images from even the most intimate sphere of life and from sensual love. The chapter, through close analysis of different texts, wil l also explore the relation between earthly love and spiritual love. The third chapter demonstrates how the concept of transformation, essential i i i to spiritual growth, is developed in the poetry of Jacopone and Rumi through the use of imagery. The symbols of the Cross for Jacopone and of Fire for Rumi are used as examples of purification and growth through sacrifice: "What is poor brushwood when it falls into the fire ? Is not the brushwood transformed into a spark by the fire " ? The fourth chapter presents a thesis on the language of mysticism or the "mystical lexicon" found in the two poets analyzed despite the apparent lack of any interdependence between them or dependence by them on a common source. iv CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii AKNOWLEDGMENT v INTRODUCTION .1 CHAPTER ONE—The Poet and the Mystic 6 CHAPTER TWO—Love: The Guiding Force 14 CHAPTER THREE-Transformation 29 CHAPTER FOUR-The Mystical Language 44 NOTES 54 APPENDIX 64 BIBLIOGRAPHY 85 V ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I am profoundly grateful to Professor Marguerite Chiarenza and to Professor Mahmoud Manzalaoui, whose help and assistance to me have been of inestimable value. I am also very thankful to Professor Lorraine Weir, head of the programme in Comparative Literature at the University of British Columbia, for her guidance and support. Finally I wish to pay my tribute to my husband and to my children. Their encouragement constantly eased my path. I INTRODUCTION The idea of writing a dissertation on the topic Mystical poetry of Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi : A comparison started to be formulated in my mind when, urged by a desire to discover the poetry of my land of origin, I began to study Jalaloddin Rumi's work. Fascinated by the theme of mystical poetry, seen as an aesthetic expression of a spiritual experience described through words stretched to their possible limits, I started to look for medieval mystics of the twelfth and thirteenth century and of the Western tradition to whom to relate and compare the work of Jalaloddin Rumi( 1207-1273). St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153) and Richard of St. Victor (ob.c.l 173) whose great spiritual personalities conditioned the development of later mysticism, could have been a possible choice for a comparison; St. Bernard for the riches of his imagery and for the combination of personal and didactic themes, Richard of St. Victor because of his concept that mysticism was the "science of the heart " and for his inspirational writings describing the stages of the mystical quest. Mechtild of Magdeburg (1212-1299), whose description of the Union with 6od was marked by passionate individual traces and by great artistic creativity, could also be taken into consideration. In determining whom to choose, one preference became very strong and clear: the desire to compare Jalaloddin Rumi to an Italian mystical poet. Three people were selected but to choose among them became the greatest challenge : St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), who turned the songs of the troubadors to the purpose of Divine Love; Jacopone da Todi (1228-1306), the lawyer who became a 2 mystic and a poet; Blessed Angela da Foligno (1248-1309), who was a link between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Italian mysticism.1 Jacopone da Todi emerged among this group because his life and poetry, even though different from Rumi's, had the same intensity of emotions, the same quest for absolute values, the same spiritual ardour and would therefore offer the possibility of a comparison on a common ground. Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi belong to the same period: Rumi was born in the city of Balkh, which now lies within the frontier of Afghanistan, in 1207; Jacopone (whose name in the world was Jacomo Benedetti) was born in Todi probably around 1230. The biographies of the two poets are to a large extent legendary and their own works do not contain autobiographical facts. Rumi came from a family of eminent theologians, his father Baha'oddin Valad was a preacher and a teacher venerated by his pupils. When Jalaloddin was twelve years old, his father migrated westward as a result "either of divine inspiration or human intrigue". The family resided first in Nishapur, where Rumi might have encountered the great mystical poet Attar, then it undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca and probably lived for a while in Syria, one of the centres of Islamic civilization. In the mid-1220's, Baha'oddin Valad and his family reached Central Anatolia, Rum, hence Jalaloddin's surname of Rumi. Baha" oddin died in 1230 and his son Jalaloddin was appointed his successor. During this time Borhanoddin Mohaqqeq, a former disciple of Baha'oddin, arrived in Konya, the capital of Rum where Jalaloddin was living. Under his influence, it is said that Jalaloddin became enkindled by the doctrine and the teachings of the Sufis, whose main concern was to reach complete union with their Beloved by passing through all the stages of mystical life. On Borhanoddin's advice, Jalaloddin went to Syria where he met Ibn Arabi and Sufis of Ibn Arabi's circle. To evaluate Ibn Arabi's influence upon Rumi one must consider the following: The presence in Konya of Sadroddin Qunavi, Jalaloddin's colleague and Ibn Arabi's main interpreter, exercised an 3 unquestionable influence upon Rumi. This influence, however, was counterbalanced by the arrival in Konya of Shamsoddin of Tabriz who transformed Rumi's life. Shamsoddin's aversion to any form of rigid systematization of ideas and his critical attitude towards Ibn Arabi's theories limited the extent of Ibn Arabi's influence upon Rumi. The encounter between Jalaloddin and Shamsoddin can be considered as the turning point of Jalaloddin Rumi's life. In fact Shams transformed Jalaloddin from "the sober divine into an ecstatic wholly incapable of controlling the torrent of poetry which now poured forth from him ". 2 Not much is known about Shamsoddin. He was a dervish and he did not belong to any of the accepted Sufi spiritual affiliations. He was renowned as a great spiritual personality and as one who had reached the highest station in the mystical path. In him Rumi perceived the perfect image of the Divine Beloved which he had long been seeking and in Rumi Shams detected the friend for whom he had been searching. This spiritual relation absorbed Jalaloddin so completely that he neglected his religious duties and became indifferent to his social obligations. This caused great distress in the religious community and Shamsoddin, fearing the wrath of the inhabitants of Konya, left the city. The despair caused by this separation inspired Jalaloddin with verses in which his love, yearning, and longing for his beloved are beautifully expressed . Shamsoddin, submitting himself to the fervent wishes of his friend Jalaloddin, returned to Konya but did not remain for very long; In fact, under obscure circumstances, he disappeared (some conjectures suggest murder ). This time the heartbroken Jalaloddin searched for his beloved everywhere to find Shamsoddin finally in himself, alive forever beyond the limits of the physical world. The Divan-i-5hamsi Tabriz, a collection of 3229 separate odes (composed in monorhyme, each couplet terminating in the same vowel and consonant as that chosen to end the opening line) is the sublime result of this encounter with Shamsoddin, "Sun of Tabriz". Jalaloddin Rumi produced also a massive epic poem 4 on the mystical life, The Mathnavi, in six volumes of about 25.000 rhyming couplets. A collection of table-talk Fihi ma fihi r compiled by Jalaloddin's son, Sultan Valad, is also available. Jacopone came from the Benedetti family, who were members of the lesser Umbrian aristocracy. He was sent to Bologna, which was an important intellectual centre, to study for the legal profession. He presumably returned to Todi to become a professional and to be part of the social entourage of that city. Around 1265 he was married to Vanna, daughter of Bernardino di Guidone of the house of Coldimezzo. His married life was short and ended in the tragic death of his wife. Jacopone's biographers date his conversion at the time of the passing of his wife. There can be no definite answer to the nature and origins of Jacopone's conversion; what is clear is the fact that his conversion was a total and a complete one. For ten years Jacopone lived an ascetic life which gained him the fame of being considered a holy and, at time, eccentric man. In 1278 Jacopone became a Friar Minor and, by entering this order, he re-confirmed his belief in the teachings and ideas of St. Francis. The cult of poverty, which was pivotal to the teachings of St. Francis, was adopted by Jacopone and clearly marked with its presence all the stages of Jacopone's life. Jacopone, in the name of poverty, renounced all worldly attachments and condemned the Church which had become concerned with secular things. Many of his laudi ("Or se parra chi avera fidanza", "lesu Cristo se lamenta de la Ecclesia romana", "Piagne la Ecclesia") reflect his anger at the Roman clergy, which oblivious of the teachings of Christ, was only concerned with worldly affairs. The disappointment and displeasure with the Church led Jacopone to take strong position against the clergy and against pope Boniface VIII (he ex-communicated Jacopone, who was pardoned by Boniface's successor). For a person like Jacopone, who believed (as ordered by St. Francis), that obedience to the Church was fundamental, it was not easy to take an antagonistic position against the Church. 5 The question of the election of an inept person to be the successor of Peter on one side and the desire to obey the Church on the other began an interior struggle in Jacopone's heart. This conflict was solved by Jacopone only at the end of his life when, in a prison cell, he learned to subdue his emotions and beliefs through charity and love. The last laudi (these are the ones that we will take into consideration) are the most sincere document of Jacopone's internal struggles, yearning for transformation and final union with the source of his desire. The laudi are permeated with the intensity of Jacopone's emotions and the greatness of his vision. This dissertation is the presentation of a study on the relation of the mystical poetry of Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi. 6 I. THE POET AND THE MYSTIC Mysticism has been described as "the great spiritual current which goes through all religions".1 The mystical region is where all the religions of the world seem to encounter one another and to agree. Beyond laws and ordinances, beyond theological and dogmatic divisions of different religions lies the domain of Mysticism, which has been defined as the consciousness of the One Reality", "the passion for the Absolute". The mystics have developed, throughout their lives, the power to experience union with the Absolute; in order to achieve this final goal they all have passed through different stages of being and consciousness until they have reached the consummation of their quest and acquired the vision of the Truth. The Reality perceived by the mystics is ineffable and not related to any of the normal modes of perception; it is a Reality which "neither philosophy nor reason can reveal only the wisdom of the heart, gnosis, may give insight to some of its aspects".2 It is to the heart that the Absolute reveals itself, because the heart is indeed the ultimate centre of man's spiritual consciousness: "My heart is like an oyster shell, the Beloved's phantom is like the pearl; now I am no more contained, for this house is filled with Him".-' (al) It is difficult to communicate directly and effectively, through words, the vision of Reality and to reveal the state, the condition felt and perceived by the traveller in the mystical Path. Words, in order to relate the ineffable, must always make use of images or, by admitting their insufficiency, confer the idea of the unspeakable Reality. The mystics who, through the use of words and imagery, 7 want to describe the ineffable are faced with an incredible task and not many of them are able to complete the endeavour; there are only a gifted few who wil l have the power and the capacity of describing the indescribable through words and these are the ones who will become poets: Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi are among the gifted few. It is essential to stress the word " become poets"; in fact neither Jacopone or Rumi would have been true poets were it not for the mystical experience that totally changed their lives and their relation with reality. Jacopone was a very successful lawyer and a man of this world; he would have never been a poet were it not for the fact that his heart was touched by the reality of true Love. Rumi was a great scholar and a preacher of Islam ; he would not have written the_DJyaQ or the Mathnavi if he was not inspired by Reality beyond this physical world: "I have said a great deal, oh father, but I know that you know this much: I am a heedless and footless flute in the hand of the Flutist".4 (a2) The mystical poet is a mystic first, then a poet; for him the act of writing is not an end in itself but it is the outcome of an experience which has involved his entire being in the most passionate way. He is inspired and the outpouring of his emotions is Immediate. Rumi and Jacopone through their poetry clearly reveal the spontaneity of their creative act. The direct link existent between Jacopone's progress in the mystical Path and his poetry is evident when we consider the different /JM//belonging to the different period of his mystical experience. The laudi of his earlier period have a "tortured syntax" and are written in a "knotty dialect"*5 which well reveal the uneasy state of mind in which Jacopone found himself after his conversion and his desire to become a new man. In the later laudi "the jerks,kinks, and sudden changes of mood have been resolved into smooth-flowing verses"6 and there is hardly any need of a gloss to understand the 8 meaning of words. These later laudi belong to the last period of Jacopone's life, where in the solitary confinement of a cell, he reaches a condition of total calmness and peace, of detachment from this material world and union with the spiritual world. Rumi's ghazals (brief lyric forms which constitute the rhythmical pattern of theDlyaji), like Jacopone's laudi, are a mirror reflection of Jalaloddin's spiritual state. Rumi's biographer states that most of the ghazals were composed when the poet, in a state of trance, would rotate around a column in a monastery in Konya. Rumi himself in one of his ghazals compares his poetry to Egyptian bread: "My verse resembles the bread of Egypt - night passes over it, and you cannot eat it any more. Devour it the moment it is fresh, before the dust settles upon i t". 7 (a 3) His verses are freshly baked, that is, inspired and revealed with great immediacy; the reader should "devour" them, read them with eagerness and with a sense of hunger for the freshness of their inspiration. The mystical poet is never going to sacrifice the sincerity and purity of his words for "the beauty of the expression". A rhythmical pattern might not be fully observed, an expression might be popular and quite inelegant, the syntax might be unsmooth and complex, but what is important for|the mystic, who always '%• overrules the poet, is to have the essence of what he has perceived clearly transmitted. By saying this and what has been previously stated one should not get the idea that, either Rumi or Jacopone, are not the creators of great poetical works nor that they were unaware of poetical techniques; on the contrary, they both had a sound poetical formation. Rumi was brought up in a learned environment and he was exposed to religious 9 and theological works; he came to appreciate the works of two great Persian mystical poets, Attar and Sana'i, to whom he felt indebted and he was also influenced by secular Arab and Persian poets. He knew the craftsmanship of poetry but he would give priority to the essence and spontaneity of his words, which were always, "ecstatic,unpremeditated and unrevised" utterances; hence the presence of some passages which "baffle the understanding".^ Jacopone too was a cultured person; during his stay as a University student in Bologna he must have been familiar with the lay poetical currents around him, such as the Sicilian and the Provencal lyric poetry, also the popular stream and the Goliardic songs. His contact with the poets of the dofce stfl novo must have been very l i t t le since the new style developed after the year 1268 which was the year when our poet entered the monastery. The influence of such lay and courtly poetry can be noticed in many of his tenzonf and, in the /audi, in the concept of vassallage in love, in the lamentations of the lover away from his Beloved, in the description of love seen as a burning fire, and in the concept that suffering and love are closely related. But Jacopone never accepted or applied fully to his poetry the technical and poetic devices that those poets were so fond of; in fact, Jacopone's approach to poetry and to the word itself, when the great spiritual revolution invaded his soul, was that of the non-acceptance of any technique which would take away from the directness of the word and from its appeal to all classes of people and not only to the learned. Only "God-permeated" poetry were acceptable to him; hence his greatest inspiration came not from lay poetry but from the New Testament (the fourth Gospel for the imagery of light), the words of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure and the Pauline epistles. This poetry so strong and passionate with religious and moral content has been labelled, in the past, as simple pious poetry and therefore discarded as real literature.9 Only recently his Laude have been re-evaluated and considered as poetical expressions of the intimate struggle of a soul liberating itself from the fetters of a restricted world 10 and soaring to the greatest heights. The metaphorical value of Jacopone's poetry, which can appeal to everyman's heart, has been restored It is this approach that this dissertation wi l l take Into consideration primarily because it is the best way to fully understand the spirit of Jacopone's work and secondarily because It Is the most suitable ground to compare the work of Rumi and Jacopone. The poetry of the two mystics are mirrors of the changes and transformation of their souls; i t Is in the realm of poetry that the two mystics meet each other in perfect harmony. In fact Jalaloddin's and Jacopone's inspiration springs from the same source, It aims at the same end, and it deals with the experience of Reality which is poetically rendered through words reaching as far as words could reach. The central theme of this experience is Love, seen as an absolute beyond and above human description. The following chapter wil l discuss at length the concept of love in Rumi and in Jacopone; for now, it must be said that Love is seen as a divine gift to man and the source of creation and transformation. The heart of man is the receptacle of this Love and man should purify the mirror of his heart in order to be ready to attract it: "Deo no alberga en core stretto: tant'e grande quant'hai affetto". 1 0 (God does not dwell in a heart that's confined, And a heart is only as big as the love it holds.)'' This attraction Is reciprocal; If you love, you wi l l be loved In return: "Not only the thirsty seek the water, but the water seeks the thirsty as well" (a4) For Rumi this Love is personified in the appearance of Shamsoddin of Tabriz, the 11 reflection of the Sun of Truth; for Jacopone the figure of Christ is synonymous with this Love: "Come, Shams-1 Tabrlzi, source of light and radiance, for this Illustrious spirit without your splendour is frozen and congealed"1*5 (a5) "In this plain, I am the All -Merciful's nightingale. Seek not for my limit and border-l have no limits. Sham's Tabrizi has nurtured me through love". 1 4 (a6) " Amor.amor lesu, so gionto a porto: amor.amor lesu, tu m'hai menato; amor, amor lesu, damme conforto, amor, amor lesu', si m'hai enfiammato, amor.amor lesu, piu non lo porto: fammete star, amor, sempre abbracciato, con teco trasformato en vera caritate, en somma veritate de trasformato amore".1^ ( Love,Love-Jesus, I have come to port; Love.Love-Jesus.You have led me there. Love, Love-Jesus, comfort me; Love, Love-Jesus, You have set me afire. Love, Love-Jesus, consider my needs: Keep me always In your embrace, United with You in true charity, The supreme realization of unifying love). The relation between Rumi and Shams (seen as the saint in whom the divinity is 12 reflected) and Jacopone and Christ (seen as the incarnation, the manifestation of God in human form) is the relation between lover and beloved; the beloved is constantly on the mind of the lover and is the sole inspirer of his world. Christ's and Shams's Influence respectively on Jacopone and Rumi can be given a different Interpretation and value. They can be considered, first, as a symbol of the poetic mystical genius of our poets, as the equivalent of the Muse (like Beatrice for Dante). Second, this influence can be seen as the externalization, in the form of poetry, of the inner contemplative state of our poets.Final ly this influence can be perceived not as having a purely conceptual and symbolic value: Christ and Shams are not symbols, they are realities with whom Jacopone and Rumi are respectively in love. To testify to this love relation are the verses of our poets which are so emotionally charged and intense that they necessarily require a concrete object of love. This love experience is a real one which is fully and completely lived at an emotional, spiritual, and intellectual level by Rumi and Jacopone. Christ and Shams are more real than reality because they are the incarnation of divinity in human form. If they are the symbol of something they are signs of true Reality, absolute Truth; they are "the direct experimentation of divinity seen as an entity which dialogues with man". 1 7 Under this light, the life of St.Francis, so greatly admired by Jacopone acquires a new meaning: St. Francis experiences the divinity to the extent that he identifies himself with Christ, symbol of this divinity, through the stigmata: "L'amor divino altissimo con Cristo l'abbracciao: l'affetto suo ardentissimo si' lo ce 'ncorporao lo cor li stemperao como cera a segello: empremettece quelle ov'era trasformato."1 8 (The burning love of Christ [the divine love] whose depths are lost to sight, enfolded Francis[him], 13 [this ardent love] softened his heart like wax, and there pressed its seal, leaving the marks Of the One to whom he was united.) The perfect identification between lover and Beloved has occurred and it is exactly toward this unity that Jacopone strives with his life and poetry. In the case of Rumi his identification with Shams is a necessity for the poet because it is the only means offered to him to partake of the One, of whom Shams is the purest reflection. It is not accidental that the collection of Rumi's ghazals is entitled The Divani Shamsi Tabriz (the Divan of Shams of Tabriz) where there is a complete identification between the poet and the inspirer, between the lover and the Beloved, between the man and the saint: "The Saint is the guarantee of the existence of a dialectic 'man-God'...". 1 9 The poetry of Jacopone and Rumi is valid proof of the possibility of such a dialectic. 14 II. LOVE : THE GUIDING FORCE This chapter proposes to discuss the concept of Love in Rumi and Jacopone and the poetical expression of i t by the two poets. Love is described by Rumi as "the kernel" and the world as the "shell"; Love has given existence to "the celestial spheres" and it is for the sake of love that "the dome is turning". It is love that "makes dead bread into soul'and "makes the soul which was perishable, eternal". Every created thing has innately the emotion of love; in fact, "all the particles of the world are loving, every part of the world is intoxicated by meeting". It is through love that one can gain "the attributes of true man"; love is "nothing but felicity and loving kindness, it is nothing but gladness and right guidance". Love is "that flame which, when it blazes up, burns away everything except the Beloved". In the quest for the Beloved and in the desire of union with Him only one possibility is given to man and that is to love; Rumi invites the lover "Be a rider of love, and fear not the way, for love's steed is swift of pace; with a single bound it brings you to the abode, even though the road is uneven".1 (a7) For Jacopone also, love is the essence of life and of being. Love Is treated by him as the closest friend of his soul, as the constant confider and companion of his life. He addresses love, usually, in the second person and questions it, threatens it, and praises it : "Amor esmesurato, perche me fai empazire"?2 Love without limits,why do You drive me mad? 15 "Amor, amore che si m'hai ferito... Amor.amore onne cosa clama; Amor amore tanto se' profondo, chi piu t'abbraccia sempre piu t'abrama".^ (Love, Love,You have wounded me... Love, Love, shouts all of creation. Love, Love, so inexhaustibleldeep] are You that he who clasps You close desires You all the more). "Amor, perche me desti nel cor tanta dolceza, da puoi che Thai privato de tanta alegreza"?4 (Love, why did You give my heart such sweetness, Only to strip it then of joy)? Jacopone, more than defining love with clear imagery and beautiful definitions in the way that Rumi does, develops the meaning of love through the description of its grandeur in action. In fact he talks about the emotions, the state of mind, the spiritual reflections that the love experience has on man; through these descriptions gradually the concept of love is formed and completed like a mosaic that is composed by pieces which are found close to one another. One remark becomes relevant for both poets: Rumi and Jacopone are overpowered by this love experience, they are both drowned in the grandeur and vastness of the sea of Love. Their words seem to be inadequate to describe or even give a trace of what they have gone through. The Path of love that they, as mystics, have embarked on, has taken them to the end of their quest and allowed them to be united with the One; but now, as poets, they find the insuperable difficulty of expressing the intense experience of this union: 16 "Love cannot be described; it is even greater than a hundred resurrections, for the resurrection is a limit, whereas love is limitless. Love has five hundred wings, each of which reaches from the Divine Throne to the lowest earth".5(a8) "Or pensa che n'hai detto de l'amor benedetto: onne lengua e en defetto che de lui ha parlato: si e lengua angeloro, che sta en quel gran coro, parlanno de tal scioro, parlara scelenguato. Ergo , co non vergogni, nel tuo laudar lo' mpogni? Lo suo laudar non iogni, 'nante Thai blasfemato.^ (0 proud tongue,how have you dared to speak of holy Love? Human speech cannot rise to such heights. In speaking of this Love the tongues of angels falter- and you feel no misgivings and shame? You reduce Love to the measure of your words: This is not praise , but blasphemy). Poetry cannot match the heights achieved by the mystical experience; what then can the poet do in order to relieve his urgency of communicating through his verses, the intensity of his Love affair with the One? There is no language which can adequately describe the mystical love experience, therefore our poets could solve the obstacle by repeating, with a variety of expressions, the concept of the ineffability of Love and through this sense of inadequacy expressed in poetic terms and forms, the reader can intuitively feel the grandeur of the subject 17 matter. The other solution for our poets is to find symbols and images which can suggest in some sidelong way the unspeakable experience. The metaphorical expression can be one of the most effective ways to describe Reality and it can be considered as a bridge between the limits of human faculties and the immeasurability of Love ("amor d'esmesuranza" as Jacopone calls it). The metaphors taken from worldly realities, which better than any other can express the intense passion of the soul in search of the union with his Beloved, are those which compare mystical love to earthly love. In fact, we can say that human love, on a lower level, is part of the same curve on which divine love lies. "The mystic's outlook, indeed, is the lover's outlook and the language of human passion is tepid and insignificant beside the language in which the mystics try to tell the splendours of their love".7 Both Jacopone and Rumi came from backgrounds in which there was a cult of passionate worldly love poetry which both our poets have transformed into an instrument of mystical Love. Over centuries the love-language of the amour courtois had accumulated in the mystical and theological tradition, and the more deeply religious is the language, the closer it is to the language of courtoisie. ® It follows that the elements present in erotic poetry are extremely close to those encounterd in mystical poetry and very often, as in the case of thirteenth-century mystic Ibn-Arabi who wrote love poems to the young girl an-Nizam (seen as an equivalent to Dante's Beatrice) and his Egyptian contemporary, Ibn-ul-Farid, the erotic and mystic blend and they cannot be separated. Love , be it earthly or divine, requests an act of surrender of the lover to the beloved; it also needs fervour and rapture, sacrifice and selflessness, readiness to be amidst great joy but also immense pain. Rumi and Jacopone address their Beloved but their words are the ones of any lover who has responded to the call of love; moreover, the stages that they have passed through,in order to reach the end of their quest, are similar to the ones that all lovers of the world have taken. 18 The lover, initially, is filled with passion and exuberant joy; he has discovered the power of love capable of turning inside out all his life and his being: "0 iubelo del core, che fai cantar d'amore ! quanno iubel se scalda, si fa l'omo cantare, e la lengua barbaglia e non sa che pari are: dentro non po celare, tanto e granne 'i dolzore!9 (0 heart's jubilation , love and song, joy and joy unceasing, the stuttering of the unutterable how can the heart but sing? Rumi, in one of his ghazals, clearly reconfirms this sense of jubilation present in the lover's heart: "Though the whole world be full of thorns, the heart of the lover is wholly a rosebower; And though heaven's wheel be idle and ineffective ,the world of lovers is fully employed.Let all other men be sorrowful , yet the lover's soul wil l be gay and sprightly". 1 0(a9) The heart of the lover feels exhilarated and happy only when in the presence of his beloved; any separation or distance from the loved one wil l be cause for the bleeding of the lover's heart: "Last night I vowed anew, I swore an oath by your life, that I would never remove my eyes from your face; if You smite with the sword, I wil l not turn from You. I 19 wil l not seek the cure from any other, because my pain is of separation from You."11 (a 10) Jacopone, from the depths of his heart, cries the loss and separation from his Beloved; after a period of great spiritual joy and exuberance, he realizes his inadequacies and how much he should strive in order to reach the end of the quest of his life. He feels that the divine grace has abandoned him and he falls into a state of spiritual despair : "Amor,diletto amore, perche m'hai lassato,amore? Amor, di la cascione de lo tuo partamento, che m'hai lassata affl i tta en grande dubitamento..."1 ^ (Love , beloved Love ,why have you left me ? Tell me, Love.why have you left me in grief and uncertainty ?) The lover is separated from the beloved and he suffers; this same theme is expressed by courtly Sicilian and Tuscan poets, contemporary to Jacopone himself, even though on a different level, more restricted and limited in vision. Rinaldo d'Aquino in his poem "6ia non mi comforto" well describes the pangs of a woman abandoned by her man who is off to war: Gia' mai non mi conforto ne' mi voglio ralegrare. Le navi son giunte a porto e or vogliono collare. Vassene lo piu' gente in terra d'oltremare ed io lasso dolente, come degio fa re? 1 3 20 The distance between love poetry and mystical poetry is a narrow one : Both type of poetry, at an emotional level, get their inspiration from the depth of human emotions and talk to the most intimate part of one's being . The basic difference between the two is a shift of perspective: one is rooted in this world and limited by it, the other is projected into an eternal plane which is unlimited and beyond time and space. Rumi has a very interesting approach to the relation between worldly love and divine Love. He says that the child, in order to become a warrior in the future, is given a wooden sword to play with; this wi l l prepare him for his future endeavours. In the same way man must taste the sweetness of love in this world if he wants to be endowed with the necessary tools which will allow him to love his true Beloved: "The warrior gives a wooden sword to his son so that he may master it and take a sword into battle. Love for a human being is that wooden sword. When the trail reaches its end, the object of love will be the All-Merciful". 1 4 (a 11) There is never a denial of this world for Rumi because this world is, after all, a reflection of God's creative power; there is, nevertheless, a strong belief that detachment from this world is a pre-requisite for spiritual progress. The world and everything within it ( human love in particular ) have a value only as symbols of realities above and beyond the world itself. Rumi has accepted the world and learned to see it as a means of achievement of greater realities. Jacopone, on the other hand, wil l achieve this sense of control over the sensual world eventually but, initially, and this is indeed the main spiritual struggle of his soul, he feels threatened by the world of the senses and by the dualities existent in the world. 21 We can say, In a way, that the conversion of Jacopone is not a sudden passage from a life of sin to a life of purity but is a burning desire of clarifying to himself the meaning of this world in relation to the other one. For both Rumi and Jacopone it is love which brings into right proportions all the values and their relations; a love which is not abstract but which has become actual in the human form of Shams of Tabriz and Christ. Because of this actuality, our poets can address the object of their love with extreme passion and ardour; it is not of two abstract entities that they are speaking but of two historic figures which embody the perfections and attributes of that transcendental entity which is God. It follows that the mystical passion, the sense of desire for the Beloved, the craving of the soul to be able to embrace ("abbracciare ")• the loved one are described in terms of the love relation and final intercourse between a man and a woman : "How much for a kiss from those precious rubies"? says Rumi and the kiss imagery keeps showing itself through the ghazals - "Every lip he kisses bears its marks: It splits and cracks from his lip's sweetness" and - "Whoever sees Thy Face will never go to a rosegarden; whoever tastes Thy lips wil l never talk of wine' These verses have the sound of love poetry and they could easily be interpreted as verses of a courtly lover for his lady (Persian pronouns do not distinguish between genders) but are mystical verses and strongly imbued with Islamic symbolism. The face of the Beloved is the Reality of God; the wine symbolizes the spiritual ecstasy of the union with God. The symbolism in Persian mystical poetry is accessible to everyone as long as one is in possession of the key to it. There is never a quest, on behalf of the Persian mystical poet in general and Rumi in particular, to find new images for the sake of novelty; only those symbols are chosen which have a universal character and possess inner realities which, beyond the veil of their outside form, correspond exactly to absolute Reality. The assurance given to the poet that the symbols used by him are a universal correspondent of Reality is based on the fact that they are taken from religious 22 traditions (Rumi strongly believes that the prophets are directly inspired from the source of Reality) therefore they are true mirror reflections of the essence of things. Jacopone also refers us back, when he uses images and concepts, to the Christian tradition. His sources are mostly the New Testament, the Pauline epistles, St. Francis's and St. Bernard's writings. With particular reference to St. Bernard's commentary on The Song of Songs it can be said that his explanation of the symbolism of the spiritual marriage and his mystical language have influenced many medieval mystics and Jacopone is no exception. The image that on more than one occasion reappears in the verses of Jacopone is that of the spiritual union of the soul with God compared to the physical union of man and woman. Union with the Beloved is the conclusion of any spiritual adventure and the set goal of the mystical quest; in the same way the physical act of union is the consummation of the passion between two souls which have now become one flesh. As St. Bernard says "if mutual love is especially befitting to a bride and a bridegroom, it is not unfitting that the name of Bride is given to a soul which loves". 1 5 The Song of Songs , regarded as an allegory of the spiritual life, was so much loved and inspired so many mystics not only because it was a popular piece but also because its imagery would appeal to the heart of the mystics as an excellent guide for the expression of the unspeakable experience. The Song of Songs is, at the surface level, the love song between King Solomon and his bride but, on an allegorical level, it is the love song of the soul ( the Bride ) for the divine word ( the Bridegroom ). The soul is profoundly In love and her sole aspiration is to be united with her Beloved. She follows her lover to all places, she reaches him and then she " holds" him and does not "let him go" until she has been united with him. Jacopone takes the relation of the spiritual /physical union and uses it to recreate in us, in some concrete way, the situation of ecstasy felt by him in his annihilation in God. In his verses nothing as sensual and poetic as in the verses of the Song of Songs exists The beautiful imagery of the Song - "I am a 23 rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys", "My beloved is like a gazelle or a young heart", "Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy mouth is comely", "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is better than wine"- remind us more of the verses of Rumi than of Jacopone : "Whoever tastes of Thy lips would never talk of wine", "Whoever sees your face, goes no more to the rose-garden. Whoever knows your lip, does not speak of the goblet", "show your face, for the orchard and rose-garden are my desire; open your lips, for abundant sugar is my desire". Jacopone does not believe in the ornate word, in the richness of imagery, in the words which have an evocative and suggestive power; the word is taken in its essentiality and it is stripped of its aesthetic value. Because of all this, his poetry, at a superficial level, might sound not as a work of art but as simple religious literature (this has been the most serious criticism of his work); but if, with a mind unbiased and undisturbed by the religious fervour of the poet, the serious reader approaches Jacopone's verses, he will realize that the force of his word lies exactly in the passion and in the authenticity by which it is pronounced. The Song of Solomon through the beauty of its imagery creates in us the understanding of the rapture felt in the mystical union, while Jacopone through the bareness of his words which penetrates the heart instead of caressing it, evokes precisely the same feelings. In the Song of Songs a whole world of symbols whirls around us to create a joyful setting (wine blossoms, pomegranates, precious fruits) where the union can take place . In Jacopone's Laudi the act of union is an exhilarating event which is described with the most limited amount of imagery and with intense emotional tone: "E qui nasce un amore, c'ha emprennato el core, pieno di desiderio, de'nfocato misterio. Prenno liquidisce, languendo parturisce.."16 (And of that union is born 24 a love that impregnates the heart, full of desire and flaming mystery: The fecund [filled by love] soul melts and in mortal weakness [languishing] gives birth to ecstasy.) The union is compared to a joyful wedding: "Amanti, voi envito a noze si ioiose, che so si saporose, dove l'amor se prova: esse con nui unito con ricchezze amorose delize graziose, dove l'amor se trova. Alma , or te renova, abbraccia questo sposo; si se da delettoso, gridiamo: "Amore.amore ! " 1 7 ( Lovers, come to our festive wedding; Where Love is .there is joy. He is one with us in loving riches and delights. Soul, you are created anew- Hurry to embrace your spouse who gathers you into His joy - 0 love.love!) In the path of love Union is the fundamental and final experience. This Union is not the unity of two separate entities but the melting of one into the other. It is a "comprehensive love" where the distinction between T and "you" does not exist; "When the heart was annihilated within Him, He remained; then it understood the object of His words: 'I myself am the Seeker and the Sought' " 1 8 (a l2 ) , says Rumi and Jacopone re-echoes: "Possedi posseduta en tanta unione, non c'e' divisione che te da lui retragga". ^ 25 As we have seen, through the image of marriage, the ineffable and ecstatic emotions of the unio mystica are well described ; through the image of fire the nature and the relation of subject and object in this spritual union are further developed. Fire burns and in the act of burning the substances are purified and are also deprived of their original qualities, which not only have become one with the fire but have also added to the splendour of it. Love, like fire, purifies "the mirror"of the heart of men and burns away all the "veils" which exist between lover and beloved, by inducing the self to give away its own characteristics and to be transformed. The fire image is dear to many mystics and Rumi and Jacopone are no exceptions: "Heart enter the crucible of fire, sit there quickly like a man, for through the influence of this fire the iron became such a mirror".2 0(a13) "Si' como ferro ch'e tutto enfocato, aira da sole fatta relucente, de lor forma perdente son per altra figura, cusi la mente pura de te e vestita amore".21 (Just as red-hot iron or forms [air] touched by burning colors of dawn [the sun] lose their original contours [to assume another figure] so does the soul immersed in You ,o Love.) Rumi ,in one of his ghazals, unites the concepts of marriage and fire by saying: " Fire is our child, it thirsts and is in bondage to us; we two are becoming one so that no difference may prevail. Why does it crackle and smoke? Because two-colouredness is sti l l there: When it 26 becomes fuel, it no longer crackles boastfully. Or if it leaps half-ablaze, i t now becomes a coal, heart athirst and black-faced, seeking union and marriage".2 2 (a 14) The seeker of union must be touched by the fire of love, be burnt by it, and in the burning process he must give up all the qualities defining his own self. He must become part of the other, or better, drown himself in the other. "Non gir chirendo en mare vino se '1 ce mettesse, che trovar nol porresse, che' '1 mar 1" ha receputo " 2 3 (What happens to the drop of wine that you pour into the sea? Does it remain itself,unchanged? It is as if it never existed.) Rumi in his Mathnavi tells of the person who knocks at his friend's door. Before the door is opened, the person is questioned about who he is " I " he answers. He is angrily sent away. After a whole year in which "the flame of separation has consumed him " he comes back and when, after knocking at the door, the same question is asked of him, he answers this time" Thou". "Now" says the friend , "since thou art I, come in: there is no room for two I's in this house " 2 4 ( a l 5 ) The " I " and "Thou ", the subject and the object have become one : the quest has reached its termination; a quest which would never have started, in the first place, if Love would have not touched the heart which was ready to accept it The spiritual adventure of man is started by Love and in Love it wi l l end. There is a circularity in the way Love is conceived by the mystics; Jacopone talks about Love as being a " Perfect Circle" - "Amor , Amore, tu sei cerchio rotondo"25and Rumi says that the "creatures are set in motion by Love, 27 Love by eternlty-without beginning; the wind dances because of the spheres, the trees because of the w i n d " 2 8 (a 16) In "Amor de caritate " Jacopone takes us through the journey of Love which starts in the heart of man who burns because of Love (' arde per amore" ) . 2 7 Everything is given away in the road to Love: Heart, mind, and wi l l ("voglia, senno, e vigore"), the lover becomes nothing but a slave ("servo") who cannot escape the master ("Signoria"). Even if he was a stone sti l l he would liquify before Love; neither iron nor fire can pry the lover apart from Love (" Fuoco ne" ferro non la po' partire"). The lover is consumed, stripped of himself, renewed; Love has immobilized his mind ("la mente m'allaccia") and now he is mute and blind ("Sappi parlare or so fatto muto; vedea, mo so cieco deventato") but, paradoxically, now, though silent, he can speak; though fleeing , he is bound ("tacendo parlo, fugo e son legato"). The values have been totally reversed; no human logic can be applied to the world where Love is the master and the transformer of human hearts. The circle of love is completed when the lover drowns himself in the ocean of Love ("abissame en amore"). The circularity of Love's relation with man is accentuated by the circular construction of the verses. Jacopone has used the ottava rima in which each stanza closes its own circle with a rhymed couplet (abababcc): but Jacopone has also emphasized this circularity by rhyming the final verse of each stanza with the "amore" at the end of the incipit, thus tying all thirty-six stanzas into an enormous circle encompassing the whole lauda - a universe of love 2 8 Rumi believes that it is "pure love " which has given existence to the "celestial spheres" and it is for the sake of love that "the Wheel revolves " - "The skies rotate about love; rise, that we may also circle around".29(a17) This circling is symbolically represented in Sufism by the whirling dance of the dervishes, who rotate at the sound of a well defined rhythm and intoxicating tunes and by doing so they set their spirit free and share the continuous movement 28 existing in nature. One ghazal of Rumi well demonstrates this sense of rotation and movement; everything whirls around: "The Wheel of heaven...circles around God", the soul "circumambulates around such a Kaaba", the person who "circumambulates about the heart becomes the soul of the world", "every star circles about the skyythe mystic soul circles about annihilation, even as iron about a magnet"; verse after verse we are given the sensation of turning around and becoming part of the creation in a vortex of sound and rhythm. 3 0(a!8) Rumi himself, we should remember, would produce his ghazals in a state of trance, whirling around a column. His poetry is created as part of this circular movement which is set in motion by the force of Love which is the main source of creation and transformation: "Love is a boundless ocean, in which the heavens are but a flake of foam. Know that all the wheeling heavens are turned by waves of Love, were it not for Love, the world would be frozen".3 1 (a 19) 29 III. TRANSFORMATION In the mystical dictionary the word transformation occupies a very special position. Along with Love it is one of the keywords of all the mystics. The mystical Path from the limited to the real world is often represented by the symbolism of the journey (Dante's spiritual journey to God; Attar's flight of the soul through the seven valleys). It can also be represented by the symbolism of inner change and transformation through images suggesting the passages from one condition to another.1 This chapter wil l discuss the inward transmutations of the personality as described in poetic terms and imagery by Rumi and Jacopone. Alchemy, the transmutation of base metal into gold, appealed greatly to the medieval imagination as a symbol of the transformations of man's inner qualities Into virtues . Both Rumi and Jacopone frequently use the concept of alchemy to represent the changes occurring in one's inner being: " Love is the alchemist's elixir: it makes the earth into a mine of meaning".2 (a20) "Your sensuality is copper, and the light of Love is the elixir: Love's light transmutes the copper of your existence into gold".3(a21) "Se se' auro, ferro or rame provarite en esto esame; quign'hai filo, lana o stame mustrarite en est'azione. Questa corte e una fucina, che '1 bon auro se ci affina: 30 s'ello tene altra ramina, torna 'n cennere e 'n carbone".4 (This is the test: we'll see if you're gold, iron, or copper, Whether your yarn be coarse wool or fine. The papal [1it.:this] court is a crucible In which the gold is separated from the dross; should too much copper be mixed with the gold, The whole will be reduced to coal and ashes.) Man has the inborn potential to change conditions and pass from one stage of spiritual growth to a higher one. The Path of purification involves the self at a spiritual, emotional and intellectual level. Once the self has chosen or has been chosen to follow the mystical Path, his whole life undergoes a total change and transformation which is not reversible and will never allow the self to get back to its original starting point. Man is caught in the ambiguous struggle between his lower self, his ego (what Rumi calls nafs) and his spiritual nature; he cannot purify himself and transform his base qualities without pain and suffering. As gold, in order to be purified, must be thrown into the furnace so must the lover "live together with the fire in the minds of the furnace like gold". In Rumi there is a special spiritual meaning given to suffering and the image of burning associated with fire brings about the idea that in order to become a new man, all the qualities present in the old one must be burnt. The fire imagery is a constant symbol in Rumi of purification through pain, but the symbol of man in relation to suffering (i. e, to fire) is a changing one. Sometimes the heart of man is compared to the image of the phoenix, who from the ashes is born again to a new life ("heart, you are the phoenix of union. Fly, why do you not fly?"); some other times man is compared to a moth who circles around the candle, out of love for light, but in the 31 process he is burned ("moth is that which, however much it suffers harm, burning and pain, cannot do without the candle"). Man is also compared to fresh bread cooked in the oven ("If you do not flee from the fire, and become wholly cooked like well-baked bread, you will be a master and lord of the table completely cooked"). But perhaps one of the most original images of change through suffering is given by Rumi in one of the stories in the Mathnavi where the protagonist is the Chickpea which is restless and agitated because of the torment of boiling in water. It tries to jump out but a woman explains to it that the reason for this boiling and putting the chickpea through such suffering is to pull out of it its best qualities and transform it into food which will enter into the living.5(a22) Like the chick-pea, man should boil in the pot of pain in order to awaken those attributes which are potentially within him but which will never come to light without suffering and without the guidance of spiritual help, represented by the woman in the story. For Rumi and for Jacopone the spiritual correspondents of the woman in the story are Shamsoddin and Christ who, through their words and example, help to clean the mirrors of the poets' hearts and prepare them to reflect the divine attributes. It is significant that, when Shams disappears, Rumi, after a period of intense despair, comes to the realization that Shams is more than ever alive within him through the legacy of his attributes; through the legacy of the Cross, Jacopone too is forever alive in Christ. The Cross occupies a central position in the Lajjdi and the symbolism of the Cross is very rich in Jacopone's work. With regard to the subject of this chapter, we wil l consider only those images which link the Cross to the concept of suffering and Love, images which are fundamental in relation to the development of our theme i.e. transformation. "Fugo la Croce" is the best lauda to start our discussion because it shows two different approaches to the whole symbolism of the Cross.8 It is the dialogue between two friars: One sees only pain and passion derived from the Cross ("Fugo 32 la croce che me devura, la sua calura non posso portare"), the other sees nothing but joy and peace in it (" Frate co fuggi la sua delettanza? Eo vo chedendo la sua amistanza"); One is blinded by its light ("E me la luce si" m'ha occecato: tanto lustrore de lei mi fu dato"), the other was blind and he is able to see now ("Eo ero cieco, ed or veio luce, questo m'awenne pe sguardo de cruce"). The dialogue continues on this tone until the passionate friar cries his soul out: "Tu stai al caldo, ma eo sto nel foco; a te e deletto ma eo tutto coco " (You are in the warmth, but I am in the middle of the fire; for you it is joy, for me boiling torment). The Lauda concludes with an image taken fom the New Testament of the new wine which should not be put in old bottles: "Frate, el tuo stato e *n sapor de gusto, ma io c'ho bevuto, portar non po el musto; non aio cerchio che sia tanto tusto, che la fortura non faccia allentare". (Brother, you have barely sipped but I have drunk of this new wine [and I cannot tolerate it] and no iron bands could contain this pressure, which threatens to split me stave from stave.) The tormented friar has drunk from the wine of life and is not able to cope with it. His approach to the existential issues of life is beyond any measure and the basic dichotomy present in this lauda corresponds to the heart of Jacopone's inner struggle. In fact more than a fight between good and evil, more than a contrast between sin and virtue, Jacopone's spiritual battle is based on the aversion for " the evil of all halfway measures, the blasphemy of the measured tribute to and acknowledgement of God, of approximative, halfhearted devotion, the semblance of 33 judicious 1ove"7 With this background the theme of the Cross has a great significance because it symbolizes the abandonment of values based on human logic and the acceptance of standards which go beyond human comprehension, love and life. The sacrifice of Christ cannot be either understood or accepted in human terms; in fact, it could be easily defined as pure madness. The value of the Cross is comprehensible only when viewed in absolute terms and in relation to Love. Jacopone is conscious of this when he says that Christ must have been drunk ("ebrio") or out of his senses ("matto senza senno") to have renounced His glorious throne ("sedia tanto bella ") for a manger ("presepe") and to have given up a starry crown ("corona de stelle") for poor swaddling clothes ("pancelli"). Out of pure Love only he has given up His life and only in this contest can His sacrifice be perceived: "la non fu mai veduto amor si smesurato, c'allora quanno e nato agia tanta potenza, pero che se" venduto emprima che sei nato: l'amor t'ha comparato, de te non fai retenza, e non reman sentenza, si non che te occida l'amor, e si' conquida en croce con dolore". ® (Such disproportionate love has never been known, so powerful from the moment of birth! You sold Yourself for us even before You were born; It was Love that purchased You, and You held back nothing. The decision was made-You would die of love, suffer death in the agony of the cross.) Two words are recurrent in almost all the laudi and they can be considered as the kernel of Jacopone's philosophy of life: Love and Cross. It is through the love for Christ and through the concept of suffering, symbolically 34 represented by the Cross, that Jacopone will overcome his internal struggles derived from the ambiguity of double values existent between the human vision and the spiritual vision, his anger derived from the consciousness that man does not want to give himself all the way to the end, his passionate displeasure in seeing every action explained and understood within the framework of human logic. Through the example of Christ himself who re-offered to the world an approach to the values of life which has been completely forgotten, Jacopone realizes that what he has, so far, called "faith" was in reality "diffidence", what he thought to be "hope" was "presumption" and his "charity " was "love half-spoiled". Through Christ he finds true Love and through Love he understands the passion of the Cross which becomes the symbol of detachment from the things of this world and the sign of the purest Love which is only based on giving . The knowledge of Love transforms and purifies all the emotions of our poet, who deals with issues which were pivotal to him in a new dimension and from a perspective which is above and detached from worldly concerns. The world of the senses has lost its importance and has been subdued by Love to the extent that all the faculties of the soul, both old and new, are totally fused with the truth: "Coronato sta l'Affetto, quietato lo 'ntelletto ne l'amore trasformato" (affection reigns, the intellect is at rest, one with Love [transformed by Love]).9 The Cross is not only related to the theme of Love but also to that of suffering, seen as having an important purificatory function. It corresponds exactly to the fire imagery which we have already seen in Rumi. The lauda "0 dolze amore" can be considered as the synthesis of Jacopone's position with the regard to the theme Cross /Suffering , therefore it will be given a close analysis.1 0 It opens with the verse: "0 dolze amore, c'hai morto l'Amore, prego che m'occide d'amore." "0 sweet Love,You have killed Your Beloved, I beg of You, let me die of Love." 35 In this verse, through death, Christ and the poet have been linked to one another. In fact love has killed Christ but the poet requests to be killed by love. This first verse sets the tone of the whole lauda through the idea that Christ's passion should become Jacopone's; at the same it should be noticed that not only death but Love also enchains the poet and Christ. The relation Love-Cross, which we have previously discussed is here in all its symbolic value . " Non me parcire,jMi_voler soffrire ch'eo_Qou moga abbracciato d'Amore"(Do not spare me, let me die [do nol let me ooi die] in Love's embrace) : this verse is interesting because through the double negative the phrase gains an affirmative value. The sentence, in relation to the central symbolic value of the lauda, acquires itself a symbolic value; in fact, as, through death, life is established, so through negation, the positivity of the sentence is recognized. Throughout the lauda the word "love" is repeated and the relation of the poet to it is established through the verbs: "m'occide d'amore" ( let me die of love),"moga abbracciato d'amore"(let me die in love's embrace), "moga annegato en amore" ( I long to die drowned in love), "moga accorato d'amore" (may I die heartbroken with love), "gire empazato d'amore"( to go about crazed by love). Along with the love image, the death image is strongly considered and verbs such as occidere, morire, perire, annegare, smarrire (to be killed, to die, to perish.to drown, to lose one's way ) are used . The climactic moment of the lauda is reached at the point where the poet says that Love is fixed on the Cross and he wants to fix himself on it, cling to it, and then die, and through death taste Life: 0 croce, eo m'appicco e a te m'afficco, ch'eo gusti morendo la vita: ches tu n'ei ornata, o morte melata ; tristo che non t'ho sentita 36 (0 cross, I fix myself to you and cling to you, that as I die, I may taste Life ! For you are adorned with honeyed Death and I am wretched not to have tasted you!) The transmutation of "earthly" man into "heavenly" is only possible when one dies to the world and, as a consequence, one is born again as a new man. The dying on the cross, which is the ultimate form of suffering, becomes a motive of joy to such an extent that our poet wants to run and cling to it (" vocce currendo e mo me ce appe"). Rumi is very specific on the issue that the lover of God is not "slain" but he , deliberately, slays himself: "That idea that the Christian carries abroad, the Moslem has not that idea, that He is slaying this Messiah upon the cross. Every true lover is like Mansur, they slay themselves: show any beside the lover who deliberately slays himself! Death daily makes a hundred requisition on mankind; the lover of God without requisition slays himself."1 1 (a 23) The close link between Rumi and Jacopone in regard to the value of suffering and death, seen as a source of joy, is undeniable. When Rumi says that "death is gladness and encounter; if for you it is an occasion of mourning, depart hence!"12 (a24) he is In other words repeating Jacopone's view that death is "honeyed" ( "morte melata") ; when he says "Die now, die now, in this love die ; when you have died in this love, you will all receive new life. Die now, die now, and do not fear this death, for you will come forth from this earth and seize heaven"13 (a25), he is conceptually very close to Jacopone who cries that through death he can taste life (" ch'eo gusti morendo la vita "). 37 As a conclusion to the lauda "0 dolze amore" Jacopone brings forth the concept that only those people who have run to the cross have acquired a knowledge which goes beyond all forms of knowledge. Only those who have drowned in Love and have gone about crazed by Love have the right to talk about the "Love of the Lamb" (Christ). With this thought Jacopone introduces one of the most important themes (already discussed in relation to the divine madness of Christ) of his laudi , the motif of madness. The mystic can be considered, from the point of view of common people, as a person who does not live within the framework of an established society. The reality in which the mystic believes is beyond and above the one normally perceived; its values do not correspond to the standard beliefs existent in the world. The mystic is intoxicated by the spiritual wine as opposed to the grape wine; he has pursued and achieved the station of absolute spiritual poverty as opposed to the riches of the world; he has directed his heart and intellect not towards worldly knowledge and emotions but towards true Knowledge and Love. In the domain of spirituality the mystic is a roaring lion, a regal falcon but in the domain of worldiness he is considered nothing but a madman, if by the term madman we define a person who has a perception of reality which is different from the set standards. Madness,.because it involves a total overturn of values, is perhaps the greatest symbol of transformation and one of the most loved by Rumi and Jacopone. In one of the passages of the Mathnavi Rumi advises the man who has always followed the rules of the intellect to become a madman and to detach himself by all the values of this world: "You must become mad! Whatever you see as prof itable , flee from it! Drink poison and pour away the water of life! 38 Curse anyone who praises you! Lend your profit and capital to the indigent! Abandon security and stay in frightful places! Throw away reputation, become disgraced and shameless! I have tested the far-seeing intellect-after this I will make myself mad". 1 4 (a26) Reading these verses one cannot avoid thinking of the life of Jacopone who seems to have followed word by word the guidelines given by Rumi. Jacopone's closest companion was poverty. In the footsteps of St.Francis, Jacopone gave away honour, riches, professional recognition. He became a penitent wearing the bizicone, symbol of detachment; he humiliated himself with physical and spiritual acts of self-abasement and asceticism. He was considered "holy" but "fantastic" by most of his spiritual brethren but he despised the praises of holiness as not helpful to develop his sense of humility . He ended his days in a cell where he was in chains and fetters. He indeed acquired, during his life, all the qualifications to be a "giullare di Dio " - a "fool of God " 1 5 and he gave up reason for madness. The duality reason-madness, intellect-love is crucial in the development of a mystical way of thinking. Jacopone discards reason completely by declaring, as we have seen, that the divine madness of Christ is the greatest example to follow. It is not through reason that one's steps should be guided but through love. In the lauda "Senno me pare " words like "senno" - wisdom, "filosofia "- philosophy, "scola"- school which are related to the intellect are opposed to nouns and verbs derived from the word "pazzia" - madness ( empazire, va empazato, pazzo). Even though the opposite poles of reason and madness are present during the whole lauda nevertheless there is never tension created between the two sets because from the opening remarks, Jacopone's position is made very clear: he believes that to become mad for the sake of Christ is wisdom ("senno me pare e cortesia 39 empazir per lo bel Messia"). The concept of holy madness, which is deeply rooted in Christian mysticism, is initiated by St. Paul's statement against the gnostics of Corinth ( 1 Corinthian 3: 18- 19, 4:10): " Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ". Also Hugh of St. Victor, Richard of St. Victor, and Thomas of Vercelli developed the theme of divine madness and might have influenced Jacopone.16 Rumi is not denying the value of the intellect but he is against that dry intellectualism which approaches religious issues with a rationality which is based only on discursive reason and does not involve the whole human being and especially the inmost reality of man which he calls d/7, heart. Rumi says that all good qualities dwell in the heart and when the mirror of the heart has been purified it can act as a receptacle for a myriad of pictures. He emphasizes the value of intuition and vision over reason and he believes that intellect, though valuable in itself, can bring great destruction without the guiding hands of love . Rumi is reacting against those philosophers who, beginning with Al-Kindi, gave great importance to reason and based the entire system of their philosophy on Greek foundations and on Aristotle. Ghazzali shattered this system and declared that Kashf (Intuition ) is the only way to get to Reality. Ghazzali's saying "How great is the difference between knowing the definition, causes, and conditions of drunkenness and actually being drunk! The drunken man knows nothing about the definition and theory of drunkenness, but he is drunk ; while the sober man, knowing the definition and the principles of drunkenness, is not drunk at all" has greatly influenced Rumi's concept that one should apprehend Reality not through abstract theories but through a personal experience".17 The image of the drunkard as well as the madman is dear to Rumi's heart, because it well represents the idea of rupture from the traditional perception of reality. 40 Rumi says, talking about intellect: "Just as intellects are bewildered by my madness, I am bewildered by the frozen state of these intellects. Ice enveloped by shadows wil l not melt - it cannot see the rays of my shining sun."18(a27) It is clear from this passage that Rumi is criticizing the " frozen intellects", the intellects which have forgotten that it is through Love only that the final vision of the One is possible. Mowlana never denies the value of intellect seen as a first guide on the Path, but he believes that, after a certain point it is gnosis (the wisdom of the heart) that allows man to perceive Reality. The Prophet Muhammad"s ascent to God's presence during his mi'raj is a clear symbol of the relationship between Love and Intellect: Gabriel, who is the embodiment of the Universal Intellect can take the Prophet only up to the seventh heaven, because, after that, he would risk to bum his wings; the Prophet will procede to the last stage of his journey alone. 1 9 Love is therefore the only means which will allow the apprehension of Reality and a person who is intoxicated by Love will become like a madman, a drunken man opposed to the sober person who is ruled by Intellect. The drunken man has lost contact with his own self and is not aware of it any more; the reality surrounding him has also lost its actual value and it is perceived in a different time and place frame. The overturn of values is the main consequence of drunkenness and madness and unless a person becomes a madman himself he will never be able to comprehend the vision of the madman. This is beautifully described by Rumi in one of his ghazals where he is talking about the house of Love: people inside it are all drunkards but the outsider is not and as, a consequence, his vision of the house is ambiguous. The ghazal wil l be quoted in its 41 entirety because it shows our view in a clear way: "This house wherein continually rings the sound of the bell-staff of the master what house this house is. What is this idol-form, if it is the house of the Kaaba? And what is this light of God, if it is the Magian temple? In this house is a treasure which the whole of being cannot contain; this house and this master are all a fiction and a pretence. Lay not hand upon this house, for this house is a talisman; speak not to the master, for he is drunk since last night. The dust and rubbish of this house is all ambergris and musk; the noise of the door of this house is all verses and melody. In short, whoever enters this house has found a way to the King of the world, the Solomon of time. Master, bend down your head once from this roof, for in your fair face is the token of fortune. I swear by your life that, but for beholding your countenance, though be it the kingdom of the earth, all is mere fantasy and fable. The garden is baffled as to which is the leaf, which is the blossom; the birds are distraught as to which is the snare, which is the bait. This is the Master of heaven, who is like unto Venus and the moon, and this is the house of Love, which is without bound and end. The soul,like a mirror, has received your image in its heart; the heart has sunk like a comb into the tip of your tress. Since in Joseph's presence the women cut their hands, come to me, my soul, for the Soul is there in the midst. The whole household is drunk, and nobody is aware who enters the threshold, whether it be X or Y. 42 It is inauspicious; do not sit on the threshold, enter the house at once; he whose place is the threshold keeps all in darkness. Though God's drunkard are thousands, yet they are one; the drunkards of lust are all double and treble. Enter the lions' thicket and do not be anxious for the wounding, for the anxiety of fear is the figments of women; For there no wounding is, there all is mercy and love, but your imagination is like a bolt behind the door. Set not fire to the thicket, and keep silence, my heart; draw in your tongue, for your tongue is a flame". 2 0 (a28) The ambivalent tone, which is the characteristic of the ghazal is evident from the opening remarks: the house is a popular one but, if one needs to know whose house it is, he should ask the master. Later in the ghazal advice is given not to talk to the master because he is drunk ; this remark creates a further ambiguity . The description of the house itself is done by displaying side by side two opposing and contrasting ideas: The dust and rubbish is only ambergris and musk (perfume essence); the noise of the door is transmuted into verse and melody. The garden is confused between "the leaf" and "the blossom", and so are the birds which cannot distinguish between "the bait" and "the snare" . A sense of confusion, disorientation and uncertainty is created, but only for those people who are outsiders; the insiders, in fact, who are the drunkards, know with certainty that they are in the house of Love and the master of the house is the Master of heaven. There is no ambiguity for those who are intoxicated by the Love of their Beloved and by his countenance, because, through their beloved, they have transformed "mere fantasy and fable" into reality and certainty. In order to perceive reality in the oneness of its meaning, one should become a drunkard and enter the house because at the threshhold there is nothing but darkness, there is nothing but "anxiety of fear". The drunkards have reached the stage of absolute certainty 43 while the others are slaves of their vain imaginings and of their "figments". Rumi invites man to enter the house of love and to transform his values from within ; Jacopone extends to man the same invitation and makes the same promises when he says: "Chi vol entrare en questa scuola.trovera dottrina nova: la pazia, chi non la prova, ia non sa che ben se sia. Chi vol entrare en questa danza, trova amor d'esmesuranza: cento di' de perdonanza a chi li dice vil lania" 2 1 (The man who enrolls in this school wil l discover a new discipline; only those who have experienced this madness have an inkling of what it is. He who joins in this dance finds love beyond measure- an indulgence of a hundred days to anyone who insults him !) 44 IV. THE MYSTICAL LANGUAGE As we have already seen, the mystic, in order to communicate his experience, must make use of words, images and symbols available in the physical world to express realities which go beyond the restrictiveness of the phenomenal world. Through the use of words and imagery, the mystic w i l l stimulate the consciousness of the reader and help him to reach, especially through his intuition, an approximate vision of the unspeakable Reality . We have already seen that the poet can express the ineffable either through the use of imagery or by using a negative description of it and explaining what the experience is not or finally by repeating that the experience is so intense that it cannot be reported. Rumi, without any doubt prefers the use of images, Jacopone chooses the negative approach . This is not to say that Jacopone never uses images or that Rumi does not talk about the ineffability of the experience; in fact both poets use both methods but generally they select those means of expression that we have indicated . Rumi, whose poetry is based on a riches of mystical imagery which is unequalled, often expresses the inadequacy of language in very clear terms : "You who spend years describing spirit, show one quality that is equal to his essence". ' (a 29) In the same ghazal Rumi, speaking of God, says that one should not speak of "houris and moon, spirit and peri, for those resemble Him not: He is something other" and then he adds that "since the Beloved's beauty surpasses description, fat is my grief, and how lean my praise!". To further describe the same idea , there is 45 a passage in the Mathnavi where a minstrel begins to sing of the Covenant between God and the soul. He sings about it in negative terms: "I know not whether Thou art a moon or an idol, I know not what thou desirest of me ....I know not what service to do Thee, whether I should keep silence or express Thee in words." In this "fashion" he opens his lips, "only to sing' I know not, I know not'". The listener is enraged and cries: "You crazy fool! Tell me something you know, and if you don't know, don't talk nonsense. The minstrel answers: "Why all this palaver? My meaning is occult...l am denying in order that you may find the way to affirm."2(a30) Through negation one can be led to affirm and this applies to all the aspect of mysticism be it mystical language or be it mystical thinking (through the negation of selfhood, man is affirming his true being). Jacopone, even though he does not base his poetry on images through which he describes his experience, nevertheless makes use of poetic imagery where it is appropriate. We have already seen Jacopone's love for the image of the cross, as a pivotal point of his poetry; we have also related the importance of the concept of spiritual marriage to express union with God. But other images are also used, especially ones which relate to the idea of transformation or attraction of the lover with his beloved : "Arde ed encende, nullo trova loco: non po fugir, pero ched e legato: si se consuma como cera a foco."3 (Glowing and flaming, refuge finding none, my heart [it] is fetterd fast, it cannot flee; It is consumed, like wax set in the sun [fire].) The image of the iron and magnet seen as the force of attraction between the 46 lover and the beloved is present In Jacopone *s verses: "La volonta creata, 'n enfinetate unita, menata per la grazia en si alta salita, en quel ciel d'ignoranzia, tra gaudiosa vita, co ferro a calamita, nel non veduto amato".4 (Created wi l l , the wil l of man, must with infinity unite: So, led by grace, this earth -born wil l shall mount to regions infinite: and in the Heaven of Ignorance shall dwell in joy and delight, as iron by the load-stone might, drawn into Love, unseen, unknown.) All the above mentioned examples, taken from the poetry of Rumi and Jacopone, have demonstrated the possibility for Jacopone, to make use of imagery and, for Rumi, to talk directly about the ineffability of the mystical experience and not through images alone. It wil l be useful, at this point, to describe f i rst what the image is for Rumi and exemplify it with his verses, then to consider Jacopone's verses and see how, through the negative way, he "finds the way to affirm". Rumi's ghazals are composed of a succession of images which do not necessarily have a logical link with one another but an emotional one. The images are not a finished representation of the situation described and they do not give us a completed pictorial description of the experience; they are mostly a juxtaposition of elements whose consistency is substained by the constant presence of the poet's emotions and by the rhythm which envelopes the Divan in 47 an uninterrupted continuity. Our mind seems to respond to a continous succession of waves, each one different from the other in shape and height, but all aimed at giving us the clear feeling of their common origins and of the vastness of the Ocean. Rumi is amazingly resourceful in the choice of his images which are derived either from Islamic imagery and symbolism or taken from images of every day life. Imagery with strong spiritual connotations such as the face of the Beloved, the wine of spiritual intoxication, the tresses of the Beloved (covering His face ), Moses's rod-serpent (symbol of transformation by the power of 6od), the pearl (symbol of spiritual perfection. On its origin Rumi says: "When the drop departed from its homeland and returned, it encountered a shell and became a pearl"5(a 30) the rose and the nightingale (which represent the beauty of the Beloved and the longing of the lover to be united with His Beloved) are counterbalanced with images from daily life (bread-making, cooking, children's playing, l awmak ing ' ) images of animals (camels ruminating, elephants being homesick and wanting to go back to India, falcons passionately desiring to return to their master). All the images, regardless of their derivation, are basic to one fundamental concept: they are taken from reality but they are all representative of a deeper Reality which is beyond and above the earthly one. In Persian poetry in general and in Rumi, in particular, the meaning of an image is not openly offered to us but must be discovered by ourselves; the meaning is often symbolized by the Bride, who is covered by a hundred veils. In order to see her face (the meaning), one should remove the veils (the words). We should repeat, as previously mentioned, that this finding of the essence of what is said, the act of giving a meaning to images is not an obscure process as long as the reader has the key of access to the understanding of the images. Bausani,in relation to Persian poetry, talks about an "ermetismo sociate" as opposed to the "ermetismo individuate" of Western poetry. He says that the dictionary of the symbols used by the Persian poets can 48 be learned by anyone who is wil l ing enough to study i t ; the symbols have an objective value. 6 Rumi, wi th regard to the relation between exterior form and inner reality of things says: "I have become lost in realities - so it is sweeter: I w i l l not return towards form , I w i l l not look upon the two worlds. I am melting in meanings t i l l I become of one colour with Him, for meaning is as water and I am sugar".7(a31) A passage in the Mathnavi elucidates this point further : "Zoleykha", passionately in love with Joseph, "had applied to Joseph the names of everything, from rue-seed to aloes-wood. She concealed his name in all other names and made the inner meaning known to none but her confidants. When she said: 'The wax is softened by the fire', this meant, "my beloved is very fond of me" If she praised, 'twas his Joseph's caresses that she meant: and if she blamed, 'twas separation from him that she meant. If she piled up a hundred thousand names, her meaning and intention was always Joseph " The words pronounced by Zoleykha have an outer reality which does not correspond to the essence of the words. Only her confidants, who have been given the code to the inner meanings of the words, are able to see beyond the appearance of the words. The mystical language has i ts own code of words which allows the person, who has the sensitivity to read between lines, to catch the true significance.8(a32) Rumi says that mystical language is like the language of the birds, known to Solomon; through it he could communicate with the "inward states of the birds". The vulgar have learned this birds' language and have acquired prestige and authority. That terminology is only the image of the voices of the birds: the unintiated man is ignorant of the inward state of the birds 9 (a33) This is a clear crit icism of the acceptance of words in their exterior form, in 49 their "husk" without giving importance to the essence of them, to their "kernel". So far we have analyzed Rumi's use of imagery to communicate the unspeakable Reality; now let us consider Jacopone's approach to the ineffable through the use of negative phraseology and of expressions denying the possibility of expression itself. In Jacopone the use of images is very limited, his word is pregnant with meaning but essential, his description of conditions and situations is done in a very fast and direct way ("Fugo la croce che me devura", "La bontate enfinita vole enfinito amore","Povertate ennamorata,grann'e la tua signoria"). Because of the concision and intensity of the expression, which does not leave much room for the free creation of images, Jacopone, when it comes to the description of the ineffable, does not find the words to express such a superior Reality. He keeps repeating in different forms his inability to give even a trace of that experience: "Prorompe l'abundanza en voler dire: modo non gli trovo a proferire ; la vereta me'mpone lo tacire, che nol so fare" 1 0 (With so much to say,l know not how; and though I know it would be better for me to remain mute, I cannot hold my peace.) These verses well communicate the idea of an overflow of emotions and feelings that can hardly be contained and that places the poet in the uncomfortable and ambiguous position of not knowing how to express the excess of ideas. The primary cause of this paralysis of speech is determined by the subject matter that Jacopone deals with, that is, Love. His Love is not an orderly love, it is all passion 50 and heat: he himself calls it "Amor esmesurato " - measureless Love. All the senses surrender to the greatness of such an emotion and so does speech. Jacopone repeats this concept so many times that, instead of diminishing its intensity, he magnifies it through repetition. Jacopone's way to describe what things are by underlining what they are not is very interesting: "Calor,amor de foco, ne pena non c'e ammessa tal luce non e essa qual prima se pensava".11 (The loves that scorch and flare, and the sorrows.must all pass by; that light is other than once with thought.) The English translation cannot convey to us the confusion created by the Italian double negative ne' non; the use of the double negative becomes very effective in the lauda "0 dolze amore " where with the sentence "non me parcire, rjojLvoler soffrire ch'eo non moga abbracciato d'Amore " ( Do not spare me, for I do not want not to die embraced by Love) the polarities between love and death, which is characteristic of this lauda, are further confused and make it hard for the reader to sort out the opposites.12 A comparison between the poetry of Rumi and Jacopone brings to our attention a very singular fact. Rumi's verses, along the lines of Persian poetry, is made all of adjectives and nouns; the verb is always insignificant and, often, even if it is omitted, it wil l not deprive the verse of its meaning. The meaning of Jacopone's verse, on the contrary, is determined by the verb, which is the focal point of the Jacoponian phrase. This remark has deep consequences because it reveals that Jacopone's description of his spiritual experience is caught in action and nothing is fixed in a finished image. The choice of the verb is deeply linked to the progress of his emotional life and it is a clear indication of his mood. A selection 51 of verses from one of his mystical laudi "Amor de caritate" wil l clarify this point: "Arde ed encende .nullo trova loco: non po fugir, pero ched e legato vivendo mor, languisce stemperato; demanda de fugir un poco Per te, amor, consumome languendo, e vo stridendo per te abbracciare; quando te parti, si' moio vivendo, sospiro e piango per te retrovare" 1 3 (Glowing and flaming, refuge finding none, my heart is fettered fast, it cannot flee... Living, yet dying, swooning passionately, it prays for strength a l i tt le way to run.... For thee, 0 Love, my heart consumes away, I cry, I call,I yearn for Thy caress: Living , I perish when Thou dost not stay, sighing and mourning for my Blessednesslin order to find you again].) All the verses are overcharged with verbs, which indicate the presence of charged emotional feelings and of intense experience. Through the verbs the love relation can be defined with extreme precision; in fact we can group the verbs into different categories : 1 - Verbs indicating passion: arde(burns)-encende(is on fire )-consumare ( consumes)- abbracciare( embraceMe ritrovare(f ind you again). 2- Verbs indicating submission of the lover to the Beloved : Non po" fugire (cannot flee)- e' legato ( i s fettered)-demanda de fugir (requests to escape). 3- Verbs indicating sufferance because of Love: Mor (dies)-languisce (pines)- vo 52 stridendo ( cry) - sospiro (sigh) -piango (cry). One last remark must certainly be made with regard to the mystical lexicon: We have already seen that for both Jacopone and Rumi the poetical experience is a direct result of their spiritual awakening. Love touches them, inspires them, and transforms them into true lovers who yearn to talk about their Beloved. The mystical experience brings them to the realization of the same Reality and to the perception of the same values. Even though our poets come from two culturally different environments and different religious backgrounds nevertheless, in the realm of mysticism and poetry, they meet each other. They both believe they are instruments in the hand of God and they both are surrendered to the will of their Beloved; in this way also their poetry is a reflection of that Reality which is beyond the boundaries of earthly limitations. Rumi in the opening passage of his Mathnavi describes with unforgettable words the act of total surrender of the mystic and of the poet to God: The Persian reed-flute becomes the symbol of the soul of the mystic which is emptied of self and filled with divine spirit; it also represents the spirit of the mystical poet, whose creation is only a result of the touch of the Beloved"s lips on the flute. Life and creativity are possible for the poet and the mystic only when the breath of the spiritual master touches their soul. With the words of Rumi this dissertation will end: "Hearken to this Reed forlorn, Breathing, even since 'twas torn From its rushy bed, a strain of impassioned love and pain "The secret of my song, though near, None can see and none can hear. Oh, for a friend to know the sign and mingle all his soul with mine! T is the flame of Love that fired me, 'Tis the wine of Love inspired me. Wouldst thou learn how lovers bleed, Hearken, hearken to the Reed!"1 4(a34) 54 INTRODUCTION. NOTES ^For the presentation on the different mystics and their background see Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism (London- Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1911). For the l ife of Rumi the following books have been consulted: AJ.Arberry, j j ys t l ca l poems o f Rumi, f i rs t selection, poems 1-200 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1968), introduction. A. Bausani, Persia Religiosa (Milano: II Saggiatore, 1959), pp.267-70. R.A. Nicholson, Rumi-Poet and Mystic (London: Unwin, 1950), introduction. A. Schimmeljhe Triumphal Sun (London: Fine BooksLtd., 1978). For the l ife of Jacopone da Todi the following books were consulted: G.T. Peck, The Fool of God-Jacopone da Todi (Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1980). E. Underhill, Jacopone da Todi (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1919). 55 I. NOTES 1 A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimension of Islam (Chape) Hill: The University of Carolina Press, 1975), p.4. 2 A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimension of Islam, p.4 3 AJ. Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi, f i rs t selection, poems 1-200 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1968), poem 70/D 576. Rumi's poems wi l l be indicated by "Arberry", followed by the poem number in translation and the Divan number of the Persian edition. The Persian version of the selected poems wi l l be listed in the Appendix and they are indicated in the text by the sign "a" followed by a number. The Persian text used for Jalaloddin Rumi's poems is The Kulliyat-i Shams, ed. Furuzanfar (8 vol. Teheran, 1957-66). 4 W.C. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Love (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983), p.272/D.1387. 5 G.T. Peck, The Fool of God-Jacopone da Todi (Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1980), p. 176. 6 Peck, The Fool of God, p. 170. 7 A.J. Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi rf irst selection, poem 125/D.981. 8 A. J. Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi, f i rs t selection, p.5. 9 S. Hughes, Jacopone da Todi-The Lauds (New York: Paulist Press, 1982), p.7. 1 0 Jacopone da Todi, Laudi-Trattato e Petti, ed. Franca Ageno (Florence: Le Monnier, 1953), lauda LX v. 16. This edition wi l l be used throughout the dissertation; The poems wi l l be indicated by the word "Laudi" followed by their number and verse. 56 1 '5. and E. Hughes, Jacopone da Todi-The Lauds (Ramsey: Paulist Press, 1982). This translation wi l l be used. Whenever the translation is too expansive, a more literal translation wi l l be given in square brackets or in a note. 1 2 Jalaloddin Rumi, Mathnawi-yi Ma'nawi, trans. R.A. Nicholson (London: 1925-40), vol. 1,1741. The Mathnawi w i l l be indicated by l i followed by the book and the verse number. 1 3 Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi, f i rs t selection, poem 37/D 321. 1 4 Chittick, The Sufi Path of Love, p.349/D 1747. 1 5 Laudi, XC.vv.251-58. 1 6 5.H. Nasr, Jalal al-Din Rumi: Supreme Persian Poet and Sage (Teheran, 1974), 23. The ideas discussed by Dr. Nasr are related to Rumi but they can be extended to Jacopone by substituting the figure of Shams with Christ. 1 7 A. Bausani, Gialal ad-Din Rumi, Poesie Mistiche (Milano: Rizzoli, 1980), p. 22. 1 8 Laudi, LXl,vv.71-4. 1 9 A. Bausani, Gialal ad- Din Rumi. p. 22. The Italian reads: "II santo e la garanzia di una dialettica uomo-Dio". 57 II. NOTES 1 A.J. Arberry, Mystical poems of Rumi,first selection, poem 85/D.662 2 Laudi, XC,vv. 145-6 3 Laudi, XC,VV.260-62. 4 Laudi, LXVII, vv.6-7. 5 Jalallodin Rum^Mathnawi-yi-Ma'nawi, trans. R.A. Nicholson (London: Messrs Luzac & Co.Ltd., 1925-40),V, 2189. 6Laudi,LXXXI, vv.60-65. The English translation is too expansive; a more literal translation is offered: "Think now: How could you speak of holy Love? Human speech is at fault when talking about this Love[it]. The tongues of angels, who are in that great choir, talking with such effusion, would falter. And you feel no shame to reduce your praise to the measure of your words? This is not praise, but blasphemy. 7 E. Underhill,Mysticism, p.89. ° Peter Dronke, Medieval Latin and the Rise of European Love-Lyric. 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968); chap.2, "The Backgrounds of Ideas", p.62. 9 Laudi, LXXVII, vv.1-7. The literal translation is: "0 heart's jubilation, which makes one sing love songs! When joy warms up, man sings, the tongue stutters and does not know what to say. One cannot hide such an infinite joy!" 1 0 Arberry, f i rs t selection, poem 85/D.662. 11 Arberry, f i rs t selection, poem 1 9 1 / D j559 12 Laudi, LXVII, vv. 1-3. 58 In this lauda the adjective "af f l i t ta" is in its feminine form because it refers to the name "sposa'-bride, who is the subject of the lauda. 1 3 Luigi Russo,ed. I, I Classici Italiani, vol.1 (Firenze: Sansoni. 1948), pp.37-40. The English translation is as follows: "I cannot find solace,neither do I want to be cheered up. The ships have arrived and they are going to hoist the sail. My beloved is going overseas, and I, weary and grieved, what should I do?" 1 4 Chittick, p.206/D.27. 15 Underhiu, Mysticism, p. 138. 16 Laudi, LXXI,vv. 33-35. 17 Laudi, LXV, vv.224-30. 1 8 Chittick, p.210/D. 1279. 1 9 Laudi, XCI, vv. 195-96. 2 0 A.J. Arberry, Mystical Poems of Rumi,second selection, poems 200-400 (Colorado: Westview Press, 1979), poem 229/1850. 2 1 Laudi, XC, v. 167. 2 2 Arberry, poem 163/1304. 2 3 Laudi,XCI, vv. 159-60. The literal translation is: "Do not look for the drop of wine that you have poured into the sea. You could never find i t because the sea has received it." 2 4 R. A. Nicholson, Rumi-Poet and Mystic (London: Unwin, 1950), p.93/M I, 3056. 2 5 Laudi, XC, v.263. 2 6 Chittick, p. 197/D.471. 2 7 Laudi, XC. 2 8 Peck, The Fool of God, p. 175 2 9 Arber ry , poem 150/D.1158. 59 3 0 Arberry,poem32/D.260 3 ' Nicholson, Rumi-Poet and Mystic, p. 121/M V.3853. 60 III. NOTES 1 For the concept of inner transformation and alchemy see E. Underhil^liysticism (London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1911), pp. 140-42. 2 Chittick, The Sufi Path of Love, p.215/D.822. 3 Chit t ickjhe Sufi Path of Love, p. 2I5/D.862. 4 Laudi, LIV, vv.8-1 I. 5 Rumi, Nathnawi,!!!, vv.4160-85. 6 Laudi, LXXV. 7Hughes, Jacopone da Todi-The La.uds_.pp. 28-29. 8 Laudi, LXV, vv.39-44. The literal translation reads: ""Never such Love could be found, measureless, powerful since birth, sacrificing itself even before it was born. Love has bought you and you give all of yourself-to it. The only deliberation left is that Love wi l l ki l l you, and it w i l l painfully destroy you on the cross." 9 Laudi, LXXXVII, vv.37-38. 1 0 Laudi LXXXIII. 1 1 Arberry, poem 90/D.728. Mansur is Hallaj, the martyr mystic who by becoming one with God said: "I am the Truth"(ana-l-haqq) and was therefore martyred as a heretic. ' 2 Arberry, poem 30/D.246. ' 3 Arberry, poem 80/D.636. 1 4 Rumi, Mathnawi, II vv.2326-37, quoted in Chittick, p. 229. 61 1 5 The expression "giullare di Dio" was given to Jacopone by the literary cri t ic D'Ancona over a century ago. 1 6 G.T. Peck, The Fool of God, pp 170-71 • 1 7 For the ideas of this part see A. Ighal.The 1 ife and Work of Rumi (London: The Octagon Press, 1956), pp. 263-66. 1 8 Chittick, p.229/D. 1740. 1 9 Chittick, p. 221. 2 0 Arberry, poem 40/D.332. 21Laudi,LXXXIV. 62 IV. NOTES 'Arberry, poem 53/D.449. 2 Nicholson, Rumi-Poet and Mystic, p. 104 ( Mathnawi VI,703) 3 Laudi, XC, vv.3-5. 4 Laudi, LXXIX,vv.3-5. 5 Arberry, poem 146/D. I 142. 6 A. Bausani, Persia Religiosa (Milano: II Saggiatore, 1959), p. 307. The entire passage reads: "Nella nostra cultura, Termetismo, ora, non sarebbe che individualistico, mentre Termetismo di quella poesia tradizionale e un ermetismo, mi si scusi il paradosso, "sociale": II dizionario di quei simboli puo essere appreso da chiunque abbia la voglia di studiarlo; anche se lo studio e faticoso e, pero, oggettivo. 7 Arberry, poem 196. 8 Nicholson, Mathnawi VI, vv.4021-4040 9 Nicholson, Mathnawi VI, vv.4005-40015. 1 0 Laudi, LXXX, vv.45-48. The literal translation is: "The copiousness [of my feelings] bursts into a desire to say. I cannot find a way to utter it. Truth orders me to remain mute but I cannot." 1 'Laudi, XCI,vv.53-54. The literal translation is: "Heat, flaring love, and sorrows are not allowed in here; that light is other than we thought." I Z Peck, p. 157. 1 3 Laudi,XC. The English translation does not respect the order of the verb s does not convey the exact meaning. 1 4 Nicholson, Rumi-Poet and Mystic,p.31(Mathnawl,l,l). 64 APPENDIX o Y A a i N T A V 32 -j ljL-i- ô *- x-i (j-* j- 1 L> $ IT ^ x i x-L- _j ^ _ r - i ' ^ x i x^t_> • ^ x i V̂ iJ t> u*^- L $ U < ^ * > ' »>* J'XC L IJ I ^j >J ') J>ji ijw .y. .a- — • JJ 66 \\\ 35 • ? - • 67 1 A i l / A i l VA^I A i l A i l x^> \jy A i l J i l t „« A,_.i AiLi • Afc_j _̂ ,, AAli *J i\ i o ^ J i t _ 1 <<" OlliU o^- <^ 1\T» a6 68 (a 9). Refer to (a 7) \00<\ alO ^ji v^--" 3s} J f > ^ i j> _r-—~' * 3 y-1 1 ^ I j> L" al S~ 0',U 69 >->j-^ <\o- >y AO al2 _,_^i j3 jl U J^Tp jl<\ro\o O - ^ | J - ; I Y • > ^ ^ - ^ . 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J„ U ̂  jj -° yr- yrT3 Jr 'y» •i-r ŷ c/y* b t1— • >> 'J y. ify.y. fi j ^ * j «-v iyC* U ^J-yX , ^yii j l > > j l til* A ^ T j j i . •A>v.' v / ^ . i r* J ' > ' ^i^AioU-iT^jj.tm^* A^C. i - l X i U . - ' u r y > •z-ijyJhJ-Xir*'^ A c_; JJU j-T a i *5> C jj ^Sliyi Jyt. , JU y ^ y IPA^ y . » y U r - j - i — y o y r « X J T ^ I j L y f J i U i , A I .ivT ^ ^ ,jt U J A i U jl _Jtt Ai; j J y_ AI; £."U s j x « t A i . eryv > -«*T ^ j j . / e*j. cA*r r"-X X <y» 1 ».""*^ cy >j • I . o'yy *-yi,-yi r*'y- : i-r y 1 1 J ' cr fi I .̂y <iA 3' * - r y * -*y* ^ / -̂ -̂ r- c>y~ y. *'J Li 6y-~>2- jVt o1^.* i - ' j ' j U - ^ y i i ^ cr} y-' 'J y 1 1 ^ / • • i - r )j X^J X W»>.\ fLi ^-A <J~ JL» A L jj j l u • U j».A» J l j l j T ^ J-C :;yf u j ' j j - yy- j ^ i f i y i ^ Ai <̂ *l y Jji* jl p--- -.3 y^1 - i - ^ . yr* / >>. jUo _ J I 85 BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Arberry, A. J . , trans. Mystical Poems of Rumi. By Jalaloddin Rumi. First Selection, Poems 1-200. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. , trans. Mystical poems of Rumi By Jalalloriin Rumi Second Selection, Poems 201-400. Colorado: Westview Press, 1979. Jacopone da Todi. Lauda. Ed. Franco Mancini. Roma: G. Laterza, 1974. . Laudi.. Ed. Franca Ageno. Firenze: F. Le Monnier, 1953. Nicholson, R.A., trans. Mathnawi-yi ma nawi. By Jalaloddin Rumi. Vol. 1-8. London 1925-40. Rumi, Jalaloddin. Kolliyat-e Shams ya Divan-e kabir. Ed. Badi ozzaman Furuzanfar. Tehran 1336 sh/1957. SECONDARY SOURCES Arberry , A. J. Classical Persian Literature . London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1958. History of Sufism. London: 1952. 86 Arberry, A.J., trans. The Doctrine of the Sufis. By Abu Bakr Al Khalabadi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935. Bausani, Alessandro. Persia Religiosa . Milano : II Saggiatore, 1959. Bausani, Alessandro, and Antonio Pagliaro. Storia della Letteratura Persiana. Milano : 1960. Boyle, John, trans, lllahiname by Fariduddin Attar. 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Collected Works. Trans. Kavanaugh and Rodriguez. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1964 Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism. London : Methuen & Co Ltd. , 1967. -. .Jacopone da Todi , a Spiritual Biography . London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 19 i9 . Vossler, K. Medieval Culture . New York : 1929.


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