I found Percy Bysshe Shelley’s epic “Poem of Mab, Queen of the Faeries” on a scribd site for editors, a translation. Along with the poem I found the associated commentary. The poem is lengthy and I am practicing the phrasing in order to recite it in an audio/video recording I plan to upload on my youtube channel. I printed out the text of the poem double columns per page single space. It came out to 22 pages. As I have been making my way through it, I have had to stop at least once per page and using my French-English and old Webster’s Dictionaries, try to figure out what these ancient usages originally meant. Basically, I’m on page 5 and have been working on it for at least 3 weeks! This is definitely taking longer than I anticipated. I am learning a lot, however, and the things I am learning are so profound, who woulda thought? I certainly didn’t know I would discover what a human soul is, what wealth is, what a monarch really is, where penury aka destitution comes from and so on. The names that have emerged as well, they are historical in some context and for me to understand what I am saying, I have to dig into the etymology (my favorite topic!) joyfully and get to know some interesting characters. One of them popped up while I was skimming to the end of the document (finally) just to see what was upcoming. The name Ahasuerus was introduced when Queen Mab, who is called “Fairy” is asked by the spirit of Ianthe, called “Spirit” if there is a God. Fairy’s response is to summon Ahasuerus to the stage so Spirit can ask him that question. He is described by Fairy as such:
“Therefore a wondrous phantom, from the dreams
Of human errors dense and purblind faith,
I will evoke, to meet thy questioning.
A strange and woe-worn wight (living being)
Arose beside the battlement,
And stood unmoving there.
His inessential figure cast no shade
Upon the golden floor;
His port and mien bore mark of many years,
And chronicles of untold ancientness
Were legible within his beamless eye:
Yet his cheek bore the mark of youth;
Freshness and vigour knit his manly frame;
The wisdom of old age was mingled there
With youth’s primæval dauntlessness;
And inexpressible woe,
Chastened by fearless resignation, gave
An awful grace to his all-speaking brow.
I really can’t reference any more here, this is just one stanza so you can see I have my work cut out for me. The following comments about Ahasuerus are but a fraction of what is published since this poem was one of many during the early 1800’s that was brought forth from earlier ancient works about the wandering Jew, which a volume was penned by Moncure Daniel Conway. Verbose as they are, Jews have a lot to say. This is but one version of a myth that I suspect, from my other research, is really about a North American Indian. But, that’s another story.
‘Ahasuerus the Jew crept forth from the dark cave of Mount Carmel. Near two thousand years have elapsed since he was first goaded by never-ending restlessness to rove the globe from pole to pole. When our Lord was wearied with the burthen of His ponderous cross, and wanted to rest before the door of Ahasuerus, the unfeeling wretch drove Him away with brutality. The Saviour of mankind staggered, sinking under the heavy load, but uttered no complaint. An angel of death appeared before Ahasuerus, and exclaimed indignantly, “Barbarian! thou hast denied rest to the Son of man: be it denied thee also, until He comes to judge the world.”
‘A black demon, let loose from hell upon Ahasuerus, goads him now from country to country; he is denied the consolation which death affords, and precluded from the rest of the peaceful grave.
‘Ahasuerus crept forth from the dark cave of Mount Carmel — he shook the dust from his beard — and taking up one of the skulls heaped there, hurled it down the eminence: it rebounded from the earth in shivered atoms. “This was my father!” roared Ahasuerus. Seven more skulls rolled down from rock to rock; while the infuriate Jew, following them with ghastly looks, exclaimed — “And these were my wives!” He still continued to hurl down skull after skull, roaring in dreadful accents — “And these, and these, and these were my children! They could die; but I! reprobate wretch! alas! I cannot die! Dreadful beyond conception is the judgement that hangs over me. Jerusalem fell — I crushed the sucking babe, and precipitated myself into the destructive flames. I cursed the Romans — but, alas! alas! the restless curse held me by the hair, — and I could not die!
‘”Rome the giantess fell — I placed myself before the falling statue — she fell and did not crush me. Nations sprang up and disappeared before me; — but I remained and did not die. From cloud-encircled cliffs did I precipitate myself into the ocean; but the foaming billows cast me upon the shore, and the burning arrow of existence pierced my cold heart again. I leaped into Etna’s flaming abyss, and roared with the giants for ten long months, polluting with my groans the Mount’s sulphureous mouth — ah! ten long months. The volcano fermented, and in a fiery stream of lava cast me up. I lay torn by the torture-snakes of hell amid the glowing cinders, and yet continued to exist. — A forest was on fire: I darted on wings of fury and despair into the crackling wood. Fire dropped upon me from the trees, but the flames only singed my limbs; alas! it could not consume them. — I now mixed with the butchers of mankind, and plunged in the tempest of the raging battle. I roared defiance to the infuriate Gaul, defiance to the victorious German; but arrows and spears rebounded in shivers from my body. The Saracen’s flaming sword broke upon my skull: balls in vain hissed upon me: the lightnings of battle glared harmless around my loins: in vain did the elephant trample on me, in vain the iron hoof of the wrathful steed! The mine, big with destructive power, burst under me, and hurled me high in the air — I fell on heaps of smoking limbs, but was only singed. The giant’s steel club rebounded from my body; the executioner’s hand could not strangle me, the tiger’s tooth could not pierce me, nor would the hungry lion in the circus devour me. I cohabited with poisonous snakes, and pinched the red crest of the dragon. — The serpent stung, but could not destroy me. The dragon tormented, but dared not to devour me. — I now provoked the fury of tyrants: I said to Nero, ‘Thou art a bloodhound!’ I said to Christian, ‘Thou art a bloodhound!’ I said to Muley Ismail, ‘Thou art a bloodhound !’ — The tyrants invented cruel torments, but did not kill me. Ha! not to be able to die — not to be able to die — not to be permitted to rest after the toils of life — to be doomed to be imprisoned for ever in the clay-formed dungeon — to be for ever clogged with this worthless body, its load of diseases and infirmities — to be condemned to [be]hold for millenniums that yawning monster Sameness, and Time, that hungry hyaena, ever bearing children, and ever devouring again her offspring! — Ha! not to be permitted to die! Awful Avenger in Heaven, hast Thou in Thine armoury of wrath a punishment more dreadful? then let it thunder upon me, command a hurricane to sweep me down to the foot of Carmel, that I there may lie extended; may pant, and writhe, and die!”‘
Basically, he is being punished by not being able to die. So, in his effort to relieve his suffering, he is trying to kill everything! He just wants relief! I don’t blame him. In my efforts to find out the back story I ventured into a rabbit hole, which, it turns out, is very deep and I am not fit for the climb-down just yet. This is already way longer than I planned. So, he’s tired, he wants to rest but he cannot. His punishment was supposedly assessed by Jove, or Jehovah for denying Christ. This is the crime the Jews say they are being eternally punished for. This part I think is made up, reason being, they say they want to repent for it but the Catholic Church won’t let them and stands firm in laying his crucifixion upon them. The reality is it appears in other legends, much older; that of German, Finnish and Native American (which is where I think the Jews stole it from). There was an earlier indiscretion in which he summoned daemonic spirits of magic so he could have wealth! The price for this favor from the daemon was he could never die and would wander the earth forever. There is always a price, right? In other words…be careful what you ask for and who you bargain with. There are no short cuts and if you take them and get to time-travel artificially, you may end up like this miserable sucker who is now in a position to have to kill everybody!
This is speculative and I am not the first to travel this road, but my imagination is healthy and it has taken me to writing this article. Maybe you can get some ideas of your own out of it. Thanks for reading…