(112) Miraculous properties were associated with the image of the emperor, as in the case of story told by John the Stylite
about the miracle associated with the statue of the emperor at Edessa in 496.
Indeed, Beddoes ought to have been 'aware' that poems such as 'Porphyria's Lover', 'My Last Duchess', 'St Simeon Stylites
', and 'The Lady of Shalott' were imbued with his spirit, sometimes to an uncanny extent, as though Browning and Tennyson had been given an occult glimpse of Death's Jest-Book.
The encounters with these ascetic latter day stylites
on [heir summits can feel slightly repetitive (at times one wonders whether everyone in northern Ethiopia is a priest or monk) but they are always worth it, offering another insight into the "myth driven zeal" that animates the Ethiopian soul.
The big statue alone must have been huge because he had, by preaching many times (perched atop a column like Simeon Stylites
), to win the assistance of a large number of men with ropes.
Other devotees, such as the stylites
, climbed up a pole and never left.
St Symeon Stylites
left his monastery in 423 and spent the remainder of his life atop a series of increasingly high columns, on the last of which, 60 feet high, he remained for twenty years, absorbed in prayer, until his death in 459.
, standing bareheaded in the downpour on the guilty spot (which he remembered fifty years later) as the astonished townsmen glanced at the madman and hurried on to find shelter.
" admirably works through recent scholarship on the pillar saint and with some judicious reading of the primary sources provides a comparison with imperial pillars that explores the complexity of sacred and secular power intermingled.
Indeed, Simon Stylites
himself might well have been induced to come down off his pillar and sidle sheepishly up to the ring.
As a result, we live with an honor roll of saints in our minds who punished themselves to control themselves: desert monastics who lived on locusts and wild honey and fasted even from those for days, Simon Stylites
who lived on top of a pole for years, women who mutilated themselves to preserve their chastity, men who beat themselves with whips to subdue the impulses of the body.
There is an element of insanity in Timon's withdrawal from society to his desert pit and we might compare his self-realisation half naked and in gritty solitude to Simeon Stylites
on his desert pillar.
Moreover, despite Tennyson's masterly employment of the dramatic monologue techniques in "Ulysses" or "Saint Symeon Stylites
", the sudden thematic and tonal shifts in Maud bring about the disintegration of the identity of the character who speaks through the different parts and sections of the poem.