(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 17

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17. When they returned, this was done; and from the city came men who had been called to entertain them with speech concerning the various joys of the society. After mutual greetings, they walked together, and the men from the city spoke courteously with them. Their angel guide then said: "These ten men were invited to this heaven that they might see its joys and might thereby gain a new conception of eternal happiness. Tell them, therefore, something about those of its joys which affect the senses of the body; later, wise men will come who will tell them of the things which render these joys auspicious and happy."
Hearing this, the men who had been invited from the city told them the following:
i. "There are here days of festivity appointed by the prince, that the mind may be relaxed from the weariness which desire of emulation brings upon some. On these days, in the public places are concerts of music and songs, and outside the city games and shows. At such times, stages are erected in the public places, surrounded by latticework woven of vines from which hang clusters of grapes, and behind which sit the musicians in three tiers, with string instruments and wind instruments of a high tone and a low, and of an energetic tone and a tranquil; and at the sides, singers, male and female. These entertain the citizens with the most delightful music and singing, both choral and solo, varying in kind at intervals. On these festive days, this continues from morning till noon, and afterwards until evening.
[2] ii. "Moreover, every morning, songs of the utmost sweetness sung by virgins and young girls are heard from houses around the public places, and the whole city resounds with them. Each morning, some special affection of spiritual love is sung, that is, is expressed in sound by modifications or modulations of the singing voice; and this affection is perceived in the song as though itself were the song. It flows into the souls of the listeners, stirring them into correspondence with itself. Such is heavenly song. The singers say that the sound of their song is self-inspired and animated as though from within, and is delightfully exalted of itself according as it is received by the listeners. This ended, the windows and also the doors of the houses on the public places and likewise of the houses on the streets are closed, and the whole city is still. Not a sound is heard anywhere and no loiterers are seen. All the citizens, girt for their work, then engage in the duties of their several occupations.
[3] iii. "But at noon, the doors are opened and, in the afternoon in some places, the windows also, and boys and girls are seen playing in the streets, under the charge of governesses and tutors sitting on the porches of the houses.
[4] iv. "In the outskirts of the city are various games for boys and young men, namely, races, ball games, games with balls driven back and forth called racket, and trials of skill among the boys as to which of them are more and which less ready in speech, action, and perception. To the more active are given some laurel leaves as a prize. There are also many other games calling forth the latent abilities of boys.
[5] v. "Moreover, outside the city there are also theatrical performances by players, representing the varieties of honorableness and virtue characteristic of the moral life; and among them, for the sake of relationship, are also actors."
Here one of the ten asked, "why for the sake of relationship?" They answered: "No one of the virtues with its display of honorableness and decorum can be presented in a living way except by things related thereto from the greatest of them to the least. The actors present the least of these up to the point of there being none. But it is established by law that nothing of the opposite, which is called dishonorable or unseemly, shall be exhibited except figuratively and, as it were, remotely. The reason why it is so decreed is because nothing honorable or good in any virtue ever passes over by successive progression to what is dishonorable and evil, but only to the least of that virtue until it disappears; and when it disappears, the opposite begins. Therefore, heaven, where all things are honorable and good, has nothing in common with hell where all things are dishonorable and evil."


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