Malapert Minx

The discombobulate warbling of a malapert minx interspersed with reverential impartations of beauty and greatness.

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Location: London, United Kingdom
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06 January, 2006

18th: Milton


Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the Lantskip round it measures,
Russet Lawns, and Fallows Gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray,
Mountains on whose barren breast
The labouring clouds do often rest:
Meadows trim with Daisies pied,
Shallow Brooks, and Rivers wide.
Towers, and Battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted Trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a Cottage chimney smokes,
From betwixt two aged Oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of Herbs, and other Country Messes,
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses;
And then in haste her Bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the Sheaves;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tann'd Haycock in the Mead,
Some times with secure delight
The up-land Hamlets will invite,
When the merry Bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the Chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a Sunshine Holyday,
Till the live-long day-light fail,
Then to the Spicy Nut-brown Ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How Faery Mab the junkets eat,
She was pinch'd, and pull'd she said,
And by the Friar's Lantern led
Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat,
To earn his Cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy Flail hath thresh'd the Corn,
That ten day-labourers could not end,
Then lies him down the Lubber Fiend.
And stretch'd out all the Chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And Crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first Cock his Mattin rings,
Thus done the Tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering Winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd Cites please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of Knights and Barons bold,
In weeds of Peace high triumphs hold,
With store of Ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize,
Of Wit, or Arms, while both contend
To win her Grace, whom all commend,
There let Hymen oft appear
In Saffron robe, with Taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique Pageantry,
On Summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonsons learned Sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, fancy's child,
Warble his native Wood-notes wild,
And ever against eating Cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian Airs,
Married to immortal verse
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running;
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony.
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half regain'd Eurydice.
These delights, if thou canst give,
Mirth with thee, I mean to live.
John Milton

30 December, 2005

19th: Rumi

Blessed time! when we are sitting,
I and thou,
With two forms and only one soul,
I and thou.
Fragrance, song of birds, they quicken ev'rything
When we come into the garden,
I and thou.
All the stars of heaven hurry
to see us,
And we show them our own moon,
I and thou-
I and thou without words, without
I and thou-
In delight we are united,
I and thou.
Sugar chew the heaven's parrots
in that place
Where we're sitting, laughing sweetly,
I and thou.
Strange that I and thou together
in this nook
Are apart a thousand miles, see-
I and thou.
One form in this dust, the other
in that land.
Sweet eternal Paradise there...
I and thou.

17 December, 2005

17th: John Donne

by John Donne

I WONDER by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean'd till then ?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be ;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone ;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown ;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest ;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally ;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.
Picture: Thatched Cottages in Sunshine - Vincent Van Gogh
Music: Syrinx - Debussy

10 December, 2005

16th: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

(Lines 1 – 19)

Reading by Marie Borroff

Passus I

SIÞEN þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye,
Þe bor brittened and brent to bronde and askez,
Þe tulk þat þe trammes of tresoun þer wrot
Watz tried for his tricherie, þe trewest on erthe:
Hit watz Ennias þe athel, and his highe kynde,
Þat siþen depreced prouinces, and patrounes bicome
Welnee of al þe wele in þe west iles.
Fro riche Romulus to Rome ricchis hym swyþe,
With gret bobbaunce þat bure he biges vpon fyrst,
And neuenes hit his aune nome, as hit now hat;
Tirius to Tuskan and teldes bigynnes,
Langaberde in Lumbardie lyftes vp homes,
And fer ouer þe French flod Felix Brutus
On mony bonkkes ful brode Bretayn he settez
wyth wynne,
Where werre and wrake and wonder
Bi syþez hatz wont þerinne,
And oft boþe blysse and blunder
Ful skete hatz skyfted synne.

Modern Translation

Historical Prologue (1)

The siege and assault having ceased at Troy
as its blazing battlements blackened to ash,
the man who had planned and plotted that treason
had trial enough for the truest traitor!
Then Aeneas the prince and his honored line
plundered provinces and held in their power
nearly all the wealth of the western isles.
Thus Romulus swiftly arriving at Rome
sets up that city and in swelling pride
gives it his name, the name it now bears;
and in Tuscany Tirius raises up towns,
and in Lombardy Langoberde settles the land,
and far past the French coast Felix Brutus
founds Britain on broad hills, and so bright hopes
where wonders, wars, misfortune
and troubled times have been,
where bliss and blind confusion
have come and gone again.

08 December, 2005

15th: Baudelaire

De Profundis Clamavi

Have pity, You alone whom I adore
From down this black pit where my heart is sped,
A sombre universe ringed round with lead
Where fear and curses the long night explore.

Six months a cold sun hovers overhead;
The other six is night upon this land.
No beast; no stream; no wood; no leaves expand.
The desert Pole is not a waste so dead.

Now in the whole world there's no horror quite
so cold and cruel as this glacial sun,
So like old Chaos as this boundless night;

I envy the least animals that run,
Which can find respite in brute slumber drowned,
So slowly is the skein of time unwound.

Charles Baudelaire

04 December, 2005

14th: La Wally - Catalani

Ebbene? ... N'andrò lontana
An Aria
If the music is working you
may hear this being sung by
Maria Callas
Ebbene? ... N'andrò lontana,
come va l'eco della pia campana,
là, fra la neve bianca;
là, fra le nubi d'or;
là, dov'è la speranza, la speranza
il rimpianto, il rimpianto, e il dolor!

O della madre mia casa gioconda,
la Wally n'andrà da te,
da te lontana assai,
e forse a te, e forse a te,
non farà mai più ritorno,
nè più la rivedrai!
mai più, mai più!

N'andrò sola e lontana,
come l'eco è della pia campana,
là, fra la neve bianca;
n'andrò, n'andrò sola e lontana!
e fra le nubi d'or!
'Tis well! my way lies yonder!
I hear afar the snowy mountains calling;
Forth to their heights I wander,
Forth to the sunset glow;
'Tis they shall calm the sorrow, calm the sorrow,
This heart alone, this heart alone may know.

Oh! peaceful cottage,
Dear home of my childhood,
The mountains are calling me!
Alas! I now must leave thee!
And nevermore,
And nevermore shall mine eyes fondly behold thee!
Home that I love so dearly.
Farewell! farewell!

'Tis well! my way lies yonder;
I can hear the snowy mountains calling;
Forth to their heights I wander;
Farewell! farewell! home of my childhood!
Farewell for evermore!

Librettist: Luigi Illica
Composer: Alfredo Catalani
Sung By: Maria Callas, recorded 1955
Possibly remembered from the film “Diva”

Post script
And then the lovers die in an avalanche…
Well, what did you expect, this is an opera.

03 December, 2005

13th: Shakespeare

Sonnet LX

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith, being crowned,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight
And Time that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of natures truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow;
And yet, to times, in hope, my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

William Shakespeare