‘Thou retir’est to endless Rest’. Abraham Cowley’s ‘Wise’ and ‘Epicuræan’ Grassehopper

Milena Romero Allué (Università di Udine)

Abstract

La lirica The Grassehopper di Abraham Cowley esemplifica magistralmente l’atteggiamento reverente e quasi animisticonei confronti della dimensione naturale che caratterizza la prima metà del diciassettesimo secolo: accanto al vasto processo di democratizzazione e all’interesse sempre più crescente per la scienza, un rinnovato entusiasmo per i classiciapre la strada a una nuova sensibilità nei confronti del mondo animale. Accostandosi a Pitagora, Platone, Teofrasto, Ovidio, Plutarco, Porfirio e, tra i suoi illustri contemporanei, a Gassendi, Galileo e Montaigne, Cowley viene a negareindirettamente le teorie antropocentriche per sostenere che la natura esiste tanto per gli uomini quanto per le piante e glianimali. Cowley dedica numerosi saggi e poesie a piante e animali che non fanno parte del repertorio letterario classico e giunge a teorizzare e formulare un sistema educativo che include l’agricoltura, il giardinaggio e la zoologia. Nella lirica inquestione egli associa obliquamente la cavalletta eponima, un insetto tradizionalmente assimilato alla cicala in ambitoinglese, alle Muse, Apollo, Titono, Epicuro e alla figura del poeta: Cowley attribuisce all’“Insetto felice” tratti sia umani che divini e si identifica con esso per potersi ritirare, come fa il grassehopper, “in un riposo eterno”, metafora delladimensione paradisiaca e immortale cui aspirano molti pensatori inglesi di questo periodo.

DOI: 10.17456/SIMPLE-67

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