#46 – Jorge Ben – O homem da gravata florida

from A Tábua de Esmeralda (Philips, 1974)

Original lyrics:

Lá vem o homem da gravata florida
Meu deus do céu… que gravata mais linda
Que gravata sensacional
Olha os detalhes da gravata…
Que combinação de côres
Que perfeição tropical
Olha que rosa lindo
Azul turquesa se desfolhando
Sob os singelos cravos

E as margaridas, margaridas
De amores com jasmim
Isso não é só uma gravata
Essa gravata é o relatório
De harmonia de coisas belas
É um jardim suspenso
Dependurado no pescoço
De um homem simpático e feliz
Feliz, feliz porque… com aquela gravata

Qualquer homem feio, qualquer homem feio
Vira príncipe, simpático, simpático, simpático
Porque… com aquela gravata
Êle é esperado e bem chegado
É adorado em qualquer lugar
Por onde ele passa nascem flores e amores
Com uma gravata florida singela
Como essa, linda de viver
Até eu, até eu, até eu, até eu, até eu…

Translated lyrics:

There comes the man with the floral tie
Oh my God what a beautiful tie
What marvelous tie
Look at its details
How the colors combine
What tropical perfection
Look at this beautiful pink
This turquoise blue leaving its leaves
Under the simple cloves

And the daisies, the daisies
In love with the jasmin
That’s not only a tie
This is a report on the harmony
Of beautiful things
It’s a hanging garden
Suspended on the neck
Of a joyful and good-natured guy
Happy, and happy because…

With that tie any ugly man, any ugly man
Becomes a prince, is charming, friendly, and pleasant
Because…with that tie
He is awaited for and welcome
And worshipped anywhere
And wherever he goes flowers and lovers bloom
With a simple floral tie like this
Like this, deadly beautiful
Even myself, even myself, even myself

This is one of the craziest lyrics I know. I mean, how come one could have such an epiphany just looking at the floral tie someone was wearing? Those guys were crazy on acid by that time for sure.

I think there isn’t much to talk about the lyrics. They are kinda simple, as they describe the colors, the types of flower, and the general effect the referred tie has on the narrator. Whenever I think about the song one image that comes to mind is some of Romero Britto’s shameful works, but it is kind of sacrilegious to compare Romero Britto and Jorge Ben.

According to one brief interview I read, the man with the floral tie actually is the German physician, botanist, and alchemist Paracelsus. According to Wikipedia, Paracelsus rejected the ancient theory of the four humors (melancholy, cholera, phlegm, and sanguineous) in favor of a tripartite explanation of the world and the diseases affecting the body which comprised an combustible element (sulphur), a changing element (mercury) and a solid element (salt). The different combination of these three elements explained differences in behavior, alterations in humor etc.

In some way, maybe, the floral pattern of the tie reflects this general Parecelsus philosophy. One should note, however, that even though he rejected the earlier theory of four humors and was considered later an exponent of scientific thinking, because of all the experimental approach he had to biology and medicine, Parecelsus maintains the overall scheme of a correspondence between what is located higher and what is below. After all, the three elements are both in the world and within the human body.

This is the general thought scheme from alchemy, as we shall see later, and it was also a feature of ancient medicine and astrology. It is a principle that continued during the Middle Ages, as one can see in the famous Zodiacal Man from Les Très riches heures du Duc de Berry, an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript. One of the masterpieces of its era. In the picture, the Zodiacal signs are located both in the Sky and in the human body, corresponding to specific places and, even further, specific organs.

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda

Cosmological correspondences aside, you can see a picture of the floral-tied man Jorge Ben himself below and here’s a link to that interview from where I got some of the information and the picture.

jorge-ben-trip