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Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae

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Grace Oyelade

on 7 March 2016

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Transcript of Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae

Stanza 2
Stanza 3
Stanza 4
Stanza 1
The Decadent movement was a late 19th-century artistic and literary movement of Western Europe. It flourished in France, but also had devotees in England and throughout Europe, as well as in the United States.

The decadent witers of this time aimed to set literature and art free from the materialistic preoccupations of industrialized society, and, in both, the freedom of some members’ morals helped to enlarge the connotation of the term, (e.g. Dowson's corrupted morals of falling in love with an 11 year old) and words like unwholesomeness, morbidity and perversity were constantly used to describe the works.

Edgar Allan Poe particularly is seen as a darling of decadent writers due to the gothic nature of his works and is one of the writers that greatly influenced Dowson.

- we were unable to get that much relevant information on it but the video to the side better explains this period.
Social & Historical Context
Ernest Dawson (1867 -1900)
I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! The night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I awoke and found the dawn was grey:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
Ernest Christopher Dowson was an English poet, novelist and short-story writer, often associated with the Decadent movement.
- was born in London in 1867 and died only 32 years later
- In march 1888 he left Oxford before obtaining a degree and instead choose to work with his father at Dowson and Son, their dry - docking business
- His great - uncle was another famous poet and politician by the name of Alfred Domett
- He led an active social life mingling with medical and law students and visiting music halls
- During this time he was not really committed to his writing despite being a frequent contributor to literary magazines such as The Yellow Book and The Savoy and he also published two unsuccessful novels
- He was also an advanced translator of french fiction and Verlaine
- At age 23 he fell in love with an eleven year old (gross!) Adelaide who was the daughter of a Polish restaurant owner and is see to be the subject of this particular poem
- In 1897 however she marred a tailor that lived above her father's restaurant
- His father died of a overdose but was also in the advanced stages of Tuberculosis in 1894
- His mum died by hanging herself in 1895
- Due to all these evets, Dowson began to decline rapidly
- Robert Sherad found him penniless in a wine bar and instead took him to his cottage
where he spent the last six weeks of his life at age 32

After Dowson's death, Oscar Wilde wrote: Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he
was, a tragic reproduction of all tragic poetry, like a symbol, or a scene.
I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb and rue and myrtle too for he knew
what love was.
Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae
this love is close to disease, heartbreak
Title - Cynarae - represents the lost love which has now become an obsession
he, by detaching her from her name depersonifies her so that he can fully talk about the events whether in a negative or positive light
to cast off some natural
covering. abstract imagery
the image of her is rather pre-raphaelite
(medieval but with a slight air of decadence)
- S&H late medieval, early renaissance
medival times - quite basic, unindulgent time in history, not much indulgence in romance
renaissane times - bit more indulgent more romantic
- highlights links between him and his love of french literature
repeated in every stanza makes the reader wonder what the reason for their separation was infidelity or if he turned to other women since he couldnt have her
however it is clearly that he tried to replace her with prostitutes and therefore linked her to one
he has been unable to free himself from the love of Cynara
his very sad life full of unrequited love and this is seen as he very 'essence' for romance
the haunting love for Cynara is undying and he remains sick with his perpetual longing for her
he tried to wipe her image from his mind by living a very socialble free living life

but this has only been a momentary distraction from her
tone seems very powerless and it is Dowson's desolation and sickness derived from love that dominates
the language employs force and action of a sexualised scene
- his relations with this prostitute
red mouth suggests
that innocence is lost
- hypersexualising a
little girl
comparing her to a prostitute because after the departure he was promiscious in order to wipe away the image of her - therefore removing any emotional connotations
Other Comments
It has been said that the whole poem was written quickly however 'Cynara' took a long time and Dowson laboured over it i order to make sure it completely fit the tone, punctuation and rhyme scheme
- we can imagine that this is because of his unrelenting love for Adelaide (Cynara is actually euphemism for her)

- Cyanara also translated means 'artichoke' and the tone of that in itself links to how Cynara's love arti - 'choked' him
-the poet deeply loved Adelaide so much and despite the fact that they have been parted for a significant amount of time, he still hasn't been able to love another lady (girl)(i dont know) as much

many have interpreted it as a personal and poignant poem about him having to settle for second best after being misled by your heart
(i think its creepy due to the peadophilic situation and the writer of this comment 'chose to abandon the history')

'Cynara' refers to a sunflower which could link to the yound Adelaide and then because he could not have her, he chose the 'bought red mouth' of the prostitute - he tried to pretend he was spending the night with Adelaide and using the prostitute for his delusions

upon my soul makes it
sound as if this love is
heavy on his heart which as the poem progresses we find to be truer and truer
desolate love
it is unrequited
and he alone in his love
-11 yr olds cant love romantically
-social contruct would have frowned upon it
- links to themes of perversion in decadent period
the poem begins ia reflective tone
- the speaker is reminicsing past recents events
despite all the prostitues he was still faithful to her emotionally and those other women were only a momentary distraction
constant repition of Cynara
the passion for Cynara dominates him and he is unable to be freed from this consuming yet destructive love
when he was with other lovers, her image would come and he would be unable to remove the love from his mind

even though he desparately wished to forget her its not possible
Non Sum Qualis Eram......
means that
I am not the man that I used to be
- he cannot again be the same person before he was when he living under the domination of her love
- because he cannot give his love to another lady
despite his attempt to purge himself from this hopels devotion he is unable to and instead intoxicates himself ) in he hope that he will lose her image
shows the foolish things we do in grief and how the wrongness and worldly beliefs we have cause us greater pain
this love is the death of him and he has no choice but to readily greet this
the exclamation after Cynara creates an unusually forceful caesura which adds emphasis to the name and reinforces her prescence in the readers mind
- it could also be seen as the reinforcement of her in his mind and as has been repeated in the entire poem, he is unable to depart from his love for her
the language is archaic yet still very self indulgent - the poet knowingly over powers the reader with this emotion
Cynara - actually seems to potray Adelaide in a more mature way than some of his other poems such as 'Sonnet of a Little Girl' (cringe worthy)
- links to the decadence movemet of perversion as a central theme
Rhyme Scheme
a b a c b c
regular ryhme pattern
unrelenting love for her is unchanging and constant
all c's are passion and fashion lines
keeps reinforcing the fact that he cant escape this sick pervison inside him
its like a plague
decadence movement
morals tarnished/ gone
Full transcript