The Fuchsiad. A Heroic, Erotic And Musical Poem In Prose

I Fuchs was not born by his real mother… At the beginning, when he came into being, he was not even seen, but only heard, because when Fuchs was born he preferred coming out through one of his grandmother's ears, as his own mother did not have an ear for music… Then Fuchs immediately went to the Conservatoire… There he assumed the shape of a perfect concord, and after that, out of an artist's modesty, he first spent three years hidden inside a piano without anybody knowing he was there, he finally resurfaced and in a couple of minutes he finished studying harmony and counterpoint and graduated the piano lessons… Then he came down, but he regretfully noticed that two of the sounds he was made up of had been altered by the passage of time, and had degenerated: one of them into a pair of moustaches, wearing a pair of earpieced glasses, the other one into an umbrella – which, together with a G sharp that was left gave Fuchs his precise, allegorical and final shape… Later, when he reached the age of puberty – they say – Fuchs developed some sort of genital organs, which were in fact just a young and luxurious vine leaf, as Fuchs was by nature excessively shy and would not have accepted, for anything in the world, but a leaf or a flower at the most. He also uses this leaf – it is believed – as daily nourishment. The artist sucks it in every night, then he calmly gets to the bottom of his umbrella, and after locking himself in using two musical keys, he falls into a deep sleep on the staves, rocked on the wings of angelic harmonies and absorbed into sonorous dreams; until the next day, when – shy as he is – he will not come out of his umbrella before a new leaf is grown instead. II One day, as Fuchs had sent his umbrella to be fixed, he was forced to spend the night in the open. The mysterious charm of the night with its harmonies, with those whispers that seem to come from another world, which make one dreamy and melancholy, made such an impression on Fuchs that – deep in ecstasy – after pedaling the piano for three hours, without playing it, however, for fear of not disturbing the peace of the night, he got, by this bizarre means of transport, into a dark neighbourhood, to which he was drawn, in spite of himself, by a hidden power – gossip will have it that it was that very famous street that the good emperor Trajan, following the advice of his father, Nerva, had recommended to that simpleton of a shepherd, Bucur, to set up first, when the latter founded the city that bears his name. All of a sudden, several earthly female subjects of Venus, humble servants to the shrine of love, dressed in transparent white clothes, with scarlet lips and shady eyes, surrounded Fuchs from all sides. It was a splendid summer night. All around, there was only harmony, as you could hear joyful songs, and sweet whispers… The vestals of lust welcomed the artist with flowers, with beautifully embroidered table napkins and with very interesting coffee pots and ancient bronze basins full of embalmed water. All of them cried, trying to cover the others' voices "Dear Fuchs, give me your immaterial love!," "Oh, Fuchs, you are the only one who can love us purely!"; and as if prompted by the same thought, they ended in one voice: "Dear Fuchs, play a sonata!"… Fuchs modestly stole into the piano. Vain were all attempts to make him get out. The artist reluctantly practised scales and all kinds of consented to allow his hands to be dragged out and he masterfully played a dozen concertos, fantasies, etudes and sonatas, and then, for three hours on end he practiced all sorts of legato and staccato exercises as well as "Schule der Geläufigkeit"… But as the goddess Venus, Aphrodite herself, born from the white foam of the sea, was charmed – maybe by the "legato" studies in particular, whose ethereal sonorities had reached even her home on Mount Olympus – disturbed as she was in her divine peace, the same Venus who had not given herself to anyone since Vulcan and Adonis, sinned in her spirit and, conquered by passion, unable to resist temptation after the audition of Fuchs's performance, decided to have him in her bed for one night. To this purpose, she first sent Cupid to shoot an arrow into Fuchs's heart; she had placed a note on the point of the arrow by which Fuchs was invited to Olympus. III At the appointed hour "The three graces" showed up… They took Fuchs and gently carried him on their soft and voluptuous arms, to the end of a silk ladder, made up of staves, a ladder hanging down from the balcony of Olympus, where Venus was waiting for him… Chance had it that Vulcan – Hephaistos learn about this and, full of jealousy, he vengefully started a heavy rain on earth, with the help of Zeus himself… Fuchs, however, though deprived of his umbrella that he had sent to be fixed, did not give up and, as he was only too familiar with handling the staves, with the additional help of the strong wings of his composer's inspiration, soared higher and higher, defying the elements. He finally got to Olympus all soaked. Aphrodite welcomed him as a hero. She hugged him, kissed him passionately and then she sent him to a systematic drying room for plums. At night, Fuchs was taken to the goddess's bed. All around him, there were only songs and flowers. The Graces and the other servants of the goddess in Olympus covered him with flowers and sprinkled ravishing perfumes on him, while in the distance countless invisible Cupids sang love-praising songs under the direction of Orpheus's magic wand… After a short while, "the nine Muses" appeared. Through Euterpe's singing voice, this way they spake to welcome valiant Fuchs:"Welcome, thou, chosen among mortals, thou whose divine craft likens men to gods! Venus thee waits! May Jove make your art and love worthy of the Goddess – our mistress – and may he have a new race born out of the love that you two links, a race meant to populate from now on not just the earth, which is unable to aspire to anything else but Olympus, but Olympus itself – subjected as it is, alas, to decadence, just like the earth." Quoth they and the choruses of invisible Cupids once again sang love-praising songs, while the bards of Olympus, tuning their lyres, rose their voices in praise of this immortal moment. Shortly, however, everything relapsed into silence… There was nobody left around… A bluish dimness descended over the alcove. Venus was naked. White, her hands joined behind her head, under her golden, unbraided hair, she lay down onto the soft cushions and flowers of her bed in a gesture of ultimate voluptuousness and delightful abandon of her superb, milky body. Enticing perfumes floated in the hot air. Fuchs, panicked and ashamed, would have liked to hide himself into a hole. As there is no hole in the Olympus, however, he had to brace himself for the encounter. He would have rather run about the room a little first, but Aphrodite, with her delicate hand and her rosy, perfumed fingers, got him out of this awkward position… she picked him up from the floor, caressed him, lifted him up to the ceiling a couple of times and, casting a long glance at him, kissed him passionately. Then he fondled him again, kissed him a thousand more times and gently placed him between her breasts… Fuchs started trembling with joy; frightened as he was, he would have liked to jump down from there, like a flea. However, as those warm and perfumed breasts had dazed him, making him lose his head, he started running in all directions as a maddened tadpole, zigzagging on the goddess's body, quickly and nervously, racing madly over the pink nipples of her breasts, over her silky hips, slipping in between her hot, round thighs... Fuchs was changed beyond recognition. His glasses now twinkled with a perverse glitter, his moustache had become lubricious and lecherous. Some pretty long while thus passed, but the artist was, after all, somehow ignorant of what else he was supposed to do, while the Goddess, on her part, could not wait for too much longer, either. He had once heard, somewhere, that: "In love, unlike in music, everything must end up through an overture." Well, Fuchs was unable to find it, he couldn't… hear it anywhere… Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. He said to himself that, as the Overture in music can only be related to the ear and as the ear is the most noble Overture of our body (of those known to Fuchs) – the organ of divine music, the one through which he himself, when entering this world, had first seen the light of the day – then, the ultimate bliss can only be found there, in the ear. Much enlivened now, Fuchs collected himself, exerted himself and from the tiptoes of the Goddess, in an unspeakable frenzy, he dashed through a "sforzando" into the little hole of the Goddess's right ear lobe, where she usually inserted her earrings, and he completely disappeared inside. Once again, in the distance, the choruses of invisible Cupids and Muses sang love-praising songs and once again the bards of Olympus, tuning their lyres, rose their voices in praise of this immortal moment… But after spending one hour in there, during which he checked his vine leaf and sketched a romance for piano, Fuchs finally got out onto the lobe of the ear, wearing tails and a white tie, satisfied and radiant, thanking and nodding his head in acknowledgement of the cheers of the crowd, that had been waiting for him anxiously, just as he would do on the earth, when he had a gala concert. He stepped forward and graciously offered Venus the romance with a dedication. However, it was with surprise and bitterness that the artist became aware of the fact that no cheers came from anywhere. Indeed, all the inhabitants of Olympus looked at one another in confusion. The Goddess was first astonished, then nonplussed and seriously affronted as she understood that Fuchs considered his mission utterly completed. Not even the Gods had ever dared to give her such offense. Therefore she stood up and, red with spite as a poppy flower, she gracefully, but energetically, shook her head once, thus throwing Fuchs to the ground. Suddenly, as at an unseen sign, the entire Olympus were on their feet… They rained threats and curses from all directions. They were all driven mad by the offense that Olympus had been given by an incompetent mortal… On Mars and Apollo's orders, a vigorous hand snatched Fuchs's vine leaf, annexing instead the tools he was entitled to. A severe order was given that in future the leaf should only be granted to statues… while a gracious hand, the very rosy hand of the Goddess picked the artist up by an ear and with a noble, but vigorous gesture, threw him into Chaos. IV A shower of threats and curses. A shower of dissonance, of upside down , unsolved concords, of avoided cadence, of false links, of trills and especially pauses fell from everywhere. on the chased away artist. A hail of pointed sharps and flats continuously hit his back, a longer pause broke his glasses… Some more wicked gods threw at him shin bones, Aeolian harps, lyres and cymbals, and, supreme revenge, "Acteon," "Polyeucte" and Enescu's Third Symphony, whose inspired music, did come, this time, from Olympus itself. In a word, Fuchs's fate was sealed. He was to wander, at first about the Chaos, at a staggering speed, then to revolve around the planet Venus in five-minute revolutions, and then, in order to fully expiate the offense he had given to the Goddess, he was to be exiled, alone, on the uninhabited planet, under the obligation to there discharge only of himself and by himself that superior race of artists that should have been born in Olympus out of his love affair with Venus. Fuchs had just begun serving his sentence when Pallas-Athena mercifully (and unexpectedly) interceded for him… He was allowed to fall back on earth, on one condition only: there was, indeed, so much useless artistic and non-artistic offspring there, that there was no need to beget more… The obligation was imposed on Fuchs, however, to eradicate from the terrestrial lands both snobbery and cowardice in art evaluation. Confronted with such a terrible dilemma, the artist, after prolonged and mature consideration, finally deemed the latter condition more difficult to comply with than even that of discharging his offspring on the planet Venus… A heroic decision was then made by our hero, while he was wandering about the Chaos. He said he accepted Athena's favour, as well as the condition attached to it; but when he felt he was close to the earth, he moved a little to the right and somehow managed to fall back in that kind of ill-famed neighbourhood, where he had started from, which particularly attracted him. As he knew he was now well prepared he would have liked to learn and put into practice here what he had been ignorant of so far, and then, after being fully initiated to ask for an appointment with Venus and try to make up as best he could for everything he had come short of, leaving so much to be desired. This way, he believed, the begetting of the new race of supermen would be possible, and he will be exempt of accomplishing on earth the impossible and irksome task he had been given. But the servants of lust, who met him laughing, finding out what his intentions were now that he had came back to them, surrounded him all from all sides and suddenly stopped his advance. Nonplussed and afflicted, waving their arms in protest in the air, excommunicated him from the neighbourhood, exclaiming in one voice: "Woe to you, Fuchs, we've lost you and we repudiate you , as you once were the only man since Plato who could love purely… With what intentions do you come and mingle your steps with ours? Woe to us from now on, as we will be deprived of the aesthetics of your sonatas; woe to you as you will be deprived of the inspiration of our lofty love! Shame on she who, though she is the mistress of us, of Olympus, and, indeed, of the entire world, was unable to understand you and, rejecting your love and art, made you fall so high!…Run away, Fuchs, as you are now unworthy of us!… "Run away, Fuchs, you dirty satyr! How could you not respect the ear, the noblest organ we possess?! Run away, Fuchs, you are discrediting our neighbourhood. Run away, Fuchs and may the gods protect you!" Now that he was excommunicated and as he feared they might give vent to their liquid indignation, Fuchs hurriedly sat at his piano and, pedaling vigorously and incessantly, he finally got to his peaceful home, dispirited, disconcerted, disgusted with both people and gods, with love as well as with the Muses… He ran and took back the umbrella he had sent to be fixed and, taking his piano with him, he disappeared together with them for ever, amidst the boundless and magnificent nature… From there, his music radiates with equal force in all directions, thus making the word of grateful Fate come true, which had given him as a lot to take this word far away through his scales, concertos and staccato etudes and, thanks to them, through the power of education, to make a better, superior race of humans emerge on this planet, in time, to his glory and that of the piano and Eternity. English version by Dan MATEESCU

by Urmuz (Dem. Dumitrescu-Buzău) (1883-1923)