The Exasperation of Orpheus
Berend Ter Borg

A s, on the way from his most profound failure, Orpheus was leaving hell, he suddenly saw a man walking past him, whom he knew, only from catching a glimpse, to be his mirror image. He turned around to look at the man, who also had turned to see him. In the distance Orpheus could still see the retreating figure of Eurydice. They both knew it: they were each other's mirror image. And this brought Orpheus to the greatest stroke of anger in his existence. He started shouting at the top of his voice, and the top of his voice was quite something, as he was the greatest singer the world had ever known. All the demons in hell trembled when hearing it.

“What sort of a man are you, in name of the gods?" he shouted. “What is the name of the madness possessing you, what evil spirit has fared into you. I am a courageous man. I try to free my beloved one from the clutches of the afterlife, to bring her back to the life where she belongs. But you! You desire no such thing, rather you allow your deceased loved one to pull you in as well. You wish nothing but the end of your life, in emulation of your loved one."

”You can call me mad, if you want to," the man answered. “You are pagan, and of no interest to me. There is no hope for your salvation. My name is Dante Alighieri; the spirit that seduced me, Jesus Christ.”

First published: November 2001