User:Jahsonic/AHE/France/Philis, everything is f..ed up
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In the fight against syphilis, many sensuous persons have lost the battle. Renaissance man brings the condition from South America, the New World, and the disease continues to plague humanity until 1927, when finally a drug for the fatal disease is found. Syphilis leads to a slow and painful death. It is the AIDS of its time. Where Rabelais dedicates one of his books to sufferers of syphilis, the French writer Theophile de Viau writes a poem about it. It is entitled "Philis, everything is f..ed up", and it appears in the poetry collection Parnasse satyrique.
It earns Viau the death sentence, but most likely the poem is a mere pretext. It is generally accepted that it is Viau's homosexuality and militant atheism which gets him into trouble, rather than the "obscene" content of his poems. At that time, there isn't even a word for obscenity - the French use the term folastrie, which means tomfoolery.
- “Philis, everything is f..ed up; I’m dying of the pox
- which has me strictly bound in the last throes;
- My D..k hangs its head, is on the rocks
- and a stinking sore spoils my attempts at prose. --Limited, Inc.
Revolutionary is Viau's use of the ellipsis - the three dots "..." - which he uses as a sculptor uses fig leaves or as television and radio producers use censor bars and beep sounds. He must have thought that these would safeguard him from prosecution. Not so. To spell A foutre as a ...tre can of course not appease the censors. At the very end of his poem he adds oil to the fire and practically moons the censor by saying to Philis: 'Je fais voeu desormais de ne foutre qu'un cul,' 'I swear to only f... asses from now on.'
After his conviction Viau goes into hiding and instead of being lit on the pile, his effigy is burned. He tries to flee to England, but is caught by the collar and is locked up for a period of almost two years in La Conciergerie, the prison of Paris. His trial does not go unnoticed: more than fifty pamphlets appear, both for and against Viau. His punishment is eventually converted into perpetual exile, and Viau, who is to die young, spends his last months under the protection of the patron Duke of Montmorency. In 1626, barely 36-years old, he moves from the temporary to the eternal.