"Daughters of Decay"

[Hans Baldung Grien's Eve, The Serpent, and Death]


By way of a small collection of stories and essays by John Berger (Sense of Sight), I found the following passage in the essay "Leopardi." The text is taken from Leopardi's Moral Tales, as translated by Patrick Creagh, a book I'm now frantically trying to track down. I think it's fitting for fashion week, especially considering the drama surrounding fashion's influence on young, impressionable minds.

FASHION. Madame Death!
DEATH. Go to the devil. I'll come when you don't want me.
FASHION. As if I weren't immortal!
DEATH. Immortal? Already now the thousandth year hath passed since the times of the immortals.
FASHION. So even Madame can quote Petrarch like an Italian poet of the sixteenth or the nineteenth century.
DEATH. I like Petrarch's poems, because among them I find my Triumph, and because nearly all of them talk about me. But anyway, be off with you.
FASHION. Come on, by the love you bear the Seven Deadly Sins,
stand still for once and look at me.
DEATH. Well? I'm looking.
FASHION. Don't you recognize me?
DEATH. You must know I'm short-sighted, and that I can't use spectacles because the English don't make any that suit me, and even if they did, I haven't got a nose to stick them on.
FASHION. I am Fashion, your sister.
DEATH. My sister?
FASHION. Yes, don't you remember that both of us are daughters of Decay?
DEATH. What do you expect me to remember, I who am the mortal foe of memory?
FASHION. But I remember it well; and I know that both of us equally aim continually to destroy and change all things here below, although you achieve this by one road and I by another.