Ode 1.5 vs. 'You Give Love a Bad Name' by Bon Jovi

external image band_1.jpg

Ode 1.5
You Give Love a Bad Name
Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa 1
perfusus liquidis urget odoribus,
grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?
cui flavam religas comam,

simplex munditiis? heu quotiens fidem 5
mutatosque deos flebit et aspera
nigris aequora ventis 7
emirabitur insolens,

qui nunc te fruitur credulus aurea:
qui semper vacuam, semper amabilem 10
sperat, nescius aurae
fallacis! miseri, quibus

intemptata nites! me tabula sacer 13
votiva paries indicat uvida
suspendisse potenti 15
vestimenta maris deo.

An angel's smile is what you sell
You promise me heaven, then put me through hell
Chains of love got a hold on me
When passion's a prison, you can't break free

You're a loaded gun
There's nowhere to run
No one can save me
The damage is done

Shot through the heart
And you're to blame
You give love a bad name
I play my part and you play your game
You give love a bad name
You give love a bad name

You paint your smile on your lips
Blood red nails on your fingertips
A school boy's dream, you act so shy
Your very first kiss was your first kiss goodbye


A song composed of scorn toward an unknown woman, Bon Jovi's creation of 'You Give Love a Bad Name' is a near parallel to the situation where both the "gracilis puer" (line 1), slender/young boy, and Horace (implied) experience a less-than ideal relationship. The poem and song each begin with warnings of the woman's false pretense. In the case of Horace, he addresses the female, Pyrrha, as "simplex" (line 5) and contrasts the manner in which she ties her hair with the ablative "munditiis" (line 5.) The difference between her true state, simple or plain, and how she portrays herself to her lovers sets her up as a superficial liar. Bon Jovi creates a similar yet more direct accusation of "An angel's smile is what you sell/You promise me heaven, then put me through Hell." Both culprits have promised men, or given the image of one thing, when in fact they are nothing of the sort. Later on in Ode 1.5, it is evident that Pyrrha disappoints men when they find out she is not as pure as she claimed ("miseri [...] intemptata" (lines 12/13.) While their facade is not as obvious at first, their lovers eventually see through the lies, and are consequently upset by their mistake.

To further the similarity, the faults of the other person involved are mentioned. In 'You Give Love a Bad Name,' the lyricist refers to his passion as a prison, as if it prevented him from coming to terms with the otherwise obvious falsehood of the woman. Horace creates the same reasoning for the boy as he "in rosa [...] urget," pushed Pyrrha in roses (lines 1/2.) The rose's romantic connotations are quite famous in the literary world, representing love, passion, and even the pain of love. The action of him pushing the woman into roses is meant to create a sense that he is blinded by passion or love, and showers this woman in attention and/or in other ways. The flaw of being blinded by love sets up the trap for both males, and sends them into a whirlwind of hurt and regret.

As Horace switches the focus to himself, a connection between the final consequences of the relationships are signified. For Horace, another apparent lover of Pyrrha, "uvida suspendisse [...] vestimenta" (lines 14/15.) A representation of surrender, the need to dry his clothes hints that Horace also needs time for recovery. Music group Bon Jovi claims, "No one can save me/The damage is done" as the final result of the relationship. All 'victims' of these deceitful and lustful women are must suffer long-term blows and must tend to their wounds. In the end, they are left with a sense of bitterness and late-blooming clarity of the situation. With this, both arists can strongly agree that Pyrrha and similar women do, indeed, give love a bad name.

Ode 2.10 and 1.38 vs. The Art of Feng Shui external image yingyang.gif

"Feng Shui s an ancient art developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. The ancient Chinese believed that the land's energy could either make or break the kingdom. The theories of Yin and Yang, as well as the five Feng Shui elements, are some basic parts."
Ode 1.38
Ode 22.1
Persicos odi, puer, apparatus, 1
displicent nexae philyra coronae,
simplici myrto nihil adlabores 5
sedulus, curo; neque te ministrum
dedecet myrtus, neque me sub arta
vite bibentem. 8

Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum 1
semper urgendo, neque -- dum procellas
cautus horrescis -- nimium premendo
litus iniquum.
auream quisquis mediocritatem 5
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
sobrius aula.
rebus angustis animosus atque 22
fortis appare: sapienter idem
contrahes vento nimium secundo
turgdia vela. 24

Out of the collection of poetry interpreted so far, the reoccurring theme is the "golden mean." A common idea of ancient scholars, its purpose was to clear out the excess and extremes in one's life to improve the quality. Amongst other Greek and Roman philosophers, Horace refers to the "golden mean" in Odes 1.38 and 2.10, where he implies it most frequently. Similar to his promotion of simplicity and an absolute need for balance, the Chinese art or theory of Feng Shui focuses on one's environment to create a median between extremes. (The art is becoming increasingly popular in America, due to its connection to interior design.) Based on its relation to the Ying and Yang theory, Feng Shui helps one find the "golden mean" by creating an area in which a person exists between a dark, calming force and a passionate, active force. In both lines 1 - 4 and lines 22 - 24 of Ode 2.10, Horace presses the matter of maintaining a middle ground between the stormy seas and rocky shores, as well as to stay positive in misfortune while cautious in fortune. Both beliefs encourage an ideal to upkeep a constant balance of attitude and behavior in order to live comfortably, or wisely to avoid consequences. In the case of Feng Shui, Yin and Yang, the defining powers of life, cannot exist without the other. Ultimately, if one were to act more like 'Yin' than 'Yang,' life's natural balance would be thrown off, as well as the security of the person. Similar implications carry over in Horace's "golden mean," where it warns the addressee to do so in order to live 'correctly,' or to avoid an unstable and shaky psyche.

Feng Shui and the "golden mean" also happen to have a universality when it comes to who and who cannot apply these ideas to life. Horace describes simplicity in the entirety of Ode 1.38 as both fitting for his servant and he, of a much higher social status (marked by the image of Horace drinking wine in the shade.) The overall system or belief of Feng Shui is a part of Confucianism, a largely popular philosophy in East Asian countries, in which the creator Confucius promotes the majority of his ideas on all individuals to lead their lives by. In addition to its versatility between social classes, simplicity is also included in the art of Feng Shui. It advises the usage of furniture to be practical and rooms to be free of clutter to ensure not only pragmaticality, but also an overall balance through no presence of excess -- an accurate parallel to the "golden mean."

Catullus 116 vs. Photography by Cynthia & Mike Dukes


Catullus 116 by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Saepe tibi studiose, animo venante, requirens
carmina uti possem mittere Battiadae,
qui te lenirem nobis, neu conarare
tela infesta <meum> mittere in usque caput,
hunc video mihi nunc frustra sumptum esse laborem,
Gelli, nec nostras hinc valuisse preces.
contra nos tela ista tue evitabimus acta,
at fixus nostris tu dabis supplicium.

Stemmed from a sense of hopeless resolve, Catullus accepts the futility of his efforts and offers a warning to the offender, Gellius, "Contra nose tela ista tue evitabimus acta/At fixus nostris tu dabis supplicium" (lines 7 -8). Through out previously read Catullan poems, it is evident that Catullus often victimizes himself, whether he is stolen from, insulted by remarks, or a critic to others. The characteristic of a victim to others' aggression, as expressed in both Catullus 40 and 116, presents a parallel to the position of an omega rank in a wolf pack. With its ears pulled back and body crouched to appear smaller than the other, the photograph first, captured by Cynthia, accurately define the role of the Omega. They are frequently targeted for wrongdoings or picked on with insufficient support, at the very bottom of the social scale. As expressed in poem 116 "Tela infesta <meum> mittere in usque caput" (line 4), Gellius was socially - and possibly politically - superior to Catullus, often offensive and rude. As the target to his insults, he tried to soften Gellius' opinion to no avail. Childish and avoidant of leaders, omega wolves try to please higher ranks. One can see Catullus as a pleaser by sending Gellius works of poetry, and in his immature claims in other poems. Despite attempts to appeal to others, unless the omega were to leave the pack itself, or the pack were to experience a death or new addition to it, a promotion to a new position in the pack (or social/work ladder, in the case of Catullus) is not common. Toward the end of the poem, Catullus gives up on his attempts to please Gellius, stating "I now see that this work was taken on in vain" (line 5). The second of the pair of photographs (by Mike Dukes) captures another wolf, in a submissive position (belly up and above a more dominant wolf), snarling at the other. This is a display of rebellion or reluctance to submit to the others' superiority. Catullus' resolve implied his ' disinterest in acknowledging Gellius' higher status, and that he would pay for his treatment of Catullus.

Additional Credit
Mike Dukes -- photography website
Cynthia --- photography website