There are a lot of epic love stories from Antiquity that live forth: Helen and Paris; Aeneas and Dido; Hadrian and Antinous. This is a humbler story, yet it still stretches out to us through the aeons. A fragment of staunched, broken Love. It has probably crossed the path of medieval Dante, whose Francesca da Rimini tells of her paramour, their jealous murder, and the perils of romantic literature:
"Love...has seized me with such a delight that,And,
as you see, it has never abandoned me.
Love led us both to a single death!
Hell's torment awaits who snuffed us of our life"
"this one, who has never left my side,Here in the indifferent shadows of the cloister ambulatory of the Cathedral of Rome —a sort of marshaling yard for the grave and pious on the mainline of church history— we have a less celebrated story: it's a mystery without a poet. But it's a sentiment nevertheless that has crossed biblical eons of calamity and oblivion, intact and crystalline. A caress on the cheek for all apparent eternity.
kissed my mouth, all atremble!
A romance and its author led us astray.
For that day we read no further" *
*apologies to real translators