Hello dear reader, and if you don't mind here is a question: have you ever heard of a philosopher by the name of Virgil?
If you have, well done! I assume you are one of those clever people who like to pester teachers and annoy classmates by asking questions like you are auditioning for Who wants to be a millionaire? (which you may well do, annoying classmates even more by winning tons of cash for what is essentially a load of trivial piffle). If you have not, join the club. In all honesty, I thought virgil was a sort of verb (virgil: v. constant vigilance of thought and deed. Hmmm :-O) until a couple of weeks ago when I found out that he was the author of the oft quoted phrase "love conquers all". And then I read the thoughts of a man trying to interpret this.
I am of course referring to the little known author Leontyne Bennett in his book The Commonwealth of Lost Vanities. Obviously.
(It's very difficult to write sarcastically. So just use your imagination, think sarcasm sundae with quirk and humour sauce with maybe a dollop of irony).
Anyway, time to cut the cake :-D. Leontyne's book manages to masterfully dissect a phrase that is prized by many aficianados and romanticised by teenage girls (read twilight-enthusiasts) the world over. It's actually quite sinister, Leontyne points out that virgil never said love frees all, or love accommodates all. No it's love conquers all: "conquer-vb 1 To overcome. 2 To defeat. 3 To gain possession or control of by means of force or war. 4 To enslave." (Collins english Dictionary; 2000). Love conquers all, the bad and the good. Love will take you over completeley and enslave your life, is the gist of Leontyne's words and that Virgil's words were not a cute announcement but a warning to evade this feeling at all costs!
Leontyne died alone in 1984 from cirrhosis of the liver, no-one attended his funeral but his housekeeper and his Editor from Tyrolian press, so we can safely assume that he followed his own miserable advice. But it is worth heed. Sometimes love hits us like a bolt from the blue, it's beautiful and we cannot but live with it, it would be a crime not to. But if the rose tint on your glasses is turned up too high one can miss nasty character traits and mistake someone for being perfect; true love is still loving someone once your realise that they are not.
So that's my message; it probably doesn't help your teenage angst at all, but please don't forget to tip when you win a Million dollars.