G B Shaw – Man and Superman, 1902-03

Shaw

TANNER. Quite unscrupulous. The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art. To women he is half vivisector, half vampire. He gets into intimate relations with them to study them, to strip the mask of convention from them, to surprise their inmost se crets, knowing that they have the power to rouse his deepest creative energies, to rescue him from his cold reason, to make him see visions and dream dreams, to inspire him, as he calls it. He persuades women that they may do this for their own purpose whilst he really means them to do it for his. He steals the mother’s milk and blackens it to make printer’s ink to scoff at her and glorify ideal women with. He pretends to spare her the pangs of childbearing so that he may have for himself the tenderness and fostering that belong of right to her children. Since marriage began, the great artist has been known as a bad husband. But he is worse: he is a child-robber, a bloodsucker, a hypocrite and a cheat. Perish the race and wither a thousand women if only the sacrifice of them enable him to act Hamlet better, to paint a finer picture, to write a deeper poem, a greater play, a profounder philosophy! For mark you, Tavy, the artist’s work is to show us ourselves as we really are. Our minds are nothing but this knowledge of ourselves; and he who adds a jot to such knowledge creates new mind as surely as any woman creates new men. In the rage of that creation he is as ruthless as the woman, as dangerous to her as she to him, and as horribly fascinating. Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Which shall use up the other? that is the issue between them. And it is all the deadlier because, in your romanticist cant, they love one another.

OCTAVIUS. Even if it were so—and I don’t admit it for a moment—it is out of the deadliest struggles that we get the noblest characters.

TANNER. Remember that the next time you meet a grizzly bear or a Bengal tiger, Tavy.

George Bernard Shaw, 1956-1950

Man and Superman, 1902-03

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Edna St.Vincent Millay: Aria del Capo, A Play in one Act, 1919

 

Pierrot, Columbine, Cothurnus, Masque of Tragedy, Thyrsis -
 Shepherds
 – Corydon

Scene: A Stage – The curtain rises on a stage set for a Harlequinade, a merry
  black and white interior. Directly behind the footlights, and
  running parallel with them, is a long table, covered with a gay
  black and white cloth, on which is spread a banquet. At the
  opposite ends of this table, seated on delicate thin-legged
  chairs with high backs, are Pierrot and Columbine, dressed
  according to the tradition, excepting that Pierrot is in lilac,
 and Columbine in pink. They are dining.

COLUMBINE: Pierrot, a macaroon! I cannot _live_ without a macaroon!

PIERROT: My only love,
 you are _so_ intense! . . . Is it Tuesday, Columbine? — 
I’ll kiss you if it’s Tuesday.

COLUMBINE: It is Wednesday, iIf you must know . . . . Is this my artichoke,
 or yours?

PIERROT: Ah, Columbine, — as if it mattered!
 Wednesday . . . . Will it be Tuesday, then, to-morrow, by any chance?

COLUMBINE: To-morrow will be — Pierrot,
 that isn’t funny!

PIERROT: I thought it rather nice.
 Well, let us drink some wine and lose our heads 
and love each other.

COLUMBINE: Pierrot, don’t you love
 me now?

PIERROT: La, what a woman!–how should I know? 
Pour me some wine: I’ll tell you presently.

COLUMBINE: Pierrot, do you know, I think you drink too much.

PIERROT: Yes, I dare say I do. . . . or else too little. 
It’s hard to tell. You see, I am always wanting
 a little more than what I have, — or else 
a little less. There’s something wrong. My dear,
 how many fingers have you?

COLUMBINE: La, indeed, how should I know? — It always takes me one hand
 to count the other with. It’s too confusing.
 Why?

PIERROT: Why? — I am a student, Columbine;
 and search into all matters.

COLUMBINE: La, indeed?  –
 Count them yourself, then!

PIERROT: No. Or, rather, nay.
 ‘Tis of no consequence. . . . I am become
 a painter, suddenly, — and you impress me — 
Ah, yes! — six orange bull’s-eyes, four green pin-wheels, and one magenta jelly-roll, — the title 
as follows: Woman Taking in Cheese from Fire-Escape.

COLUMBINE: Well, I like that! So that is all I’ve meant
 to you!

PIERROT: Hush! All at once I am become
 a pianist. I will image you in sound. . . .
On a new scale. . . , Without tonality. . .
 Vivace senza tempo senza tutto. . . .
 Title: Uptown Express at Six O’Clock. 
Pour me a drink.Thomas

Edna St.Vincent Millay, 1892-1950

Title: Aria del Capo, A Play in one Act, 1919

Image:  Giovanni Domenico Ferretti, 1692-1768.  Arlecchino und Colombina