We are blessed with a thalassogen on this good Earth
that knows not our rules, or has forgot ‘em
when most liquids get hot they rise to the top
when they cool they sink fast to the bottom
Sorry Comrade, but we refuse to move further to your right.
You May (Huh?) have been wondering where Nicholas Breton’s portrait is, since it’s now the second of the month.
Nicholas Breton expected dripping clouds in May
Well, here it is, copied from his Fantasticks, published in 1626 and now out of print.
It is now May, and the sweetnesse of the Aire refresheth every spirit: the sunny beames bring forth faire Blossomes, and the dripping Clouds water Floraes great garden: the male Deere puts out the velvet head, and the pagged Doe is neere her fawning: The Sparhawke now is drawne out of the mew, and the Fowler makes ready his whistle for the Quaile: the Larke sets the morning watch, and the evening the Nightingale: the Barges like Bowers keep the streames of the sweet Rivers, and the Mackrell with the Shad are taken prisoners in the Sea: the tall young Oke is cut downe for the Maypole: the Sithe and the Sickle are the Mowers furniture, and Fayre weather make the Labourer merry: the Physitian now prescribes the cold Whey, and the Apothecary gathers the dew for a medecine: Butter & Sage make the wholsome breakfast, but fresh cheese and creame are meat for a dainty mouth: and the Strawbery and the Pescod want no price in the market: the Chicken and the Ducke are fatned for the market, and many a Goslin never lives to be Goose. It is the moneth wherein Nature hath her full of mirth, and the Senses are filled with delights. I conclude, It is from the Heavens a Grace, & to the Earth a Gladnesse.
A few learned observations:
Pagged means pregnant.
Sparhwake is sparrow-hawk.
Sithe is a scythe.
Nor was it usual in his time to use apostrophes with nouns in the genitive. (kindly remember you heard that here first)
Both Shad and Strawberry seasons are in full swing here, (Asparagus too), no sign of fresh peas yet.
…made glorious Summer by this son of York.
One of the best first lines ever written IMO.
I always thought the last Plantagenet had suffered from a bad press, although by heritage I had to support his nemesis Henry Tudr (it is so, how it is spelled, only the English need extra vowels).
Well, just to show I’m not totally prejudiced, I joined the Richard 111 society (American Branch) this year and now get access to all the latest goings-on around the car park.
Where was I? Yes, discontent, well there must be some as a result of the April Poetry Competition, which unlike modern playground games will only have one winner. A fine crop of entries from many of the usual suspects plus a few from some expert prevaricators. I liked them all, especially Soutie’s pairing of poem and picture, but most of all I liked this little gem from Bilby:
It’s finally arrived here, sunshine that is. Leaped from the low 40′s (5C) to the high 80′s (30C) in the space of two days, no Spring, one day Winter, next day Summer. Actually it’s 91 (33C) as we speak.
So the theme for the April Poetry comp. must be SUNSHINE. Any form and length, what a blessing it is to have sunshine again , it’s been a long winter.
Closing date? Let’s say April 30, midnight somewhere.
Commissioning the boat so I’m off back to the bilges for a while.
Let’s see what Nicholas Breton has to say for April.
He, if you are new round here, was the author of Fantasticks, a weird collection of strangely spelled observation published in 1626.
It is now April, and the Nightingale begins to tune her throat against May: the Sunny showers perfume the aire, and the Bees begin to goe abroad for honey: the Dewe, as in Pearles, hangs upon the tops of the grasse, while the Turtles sit billing upon the little greene boughes: the Trowt begins to play in the Brookes, and the Sammon leaves the Sea, to play in the fresh waters: The Garden bankes are full of gay flowers, and the Thorne and the Plumme send forth their faire Blossomes: the March Colt begins to play, and the Cosset Lamb is learned to butt.
The Poets now make their studies in the woods, & the Youth of the Country make ready for the Morris-dance; the little Fishes lye nibling at a bait, and the Porpas playes in the pride of the tide: the Shepheardes pipe entertaines the Princesse of Arcadia, and the healthfull Souldier hath a pleasant march. The Larke and the Lambe looke up at the Sun, and the labourer is abroad by the dawning of the day: Sheepes eyes in Lambs heads, tell kind hearts strange tales, while faith and troth make the true Lovers knot: the aged haires find a fresh life, and the youthfull cheeks are as red as a cherry: It were a world to set downe the worth of this moneth: But in summe, I thus conclude, I hold it the Heavens blessing, and the Earths comfort.
Turtles are Turtle Doves I would imagine.
Not much Heaven’s blessing or Earth’s comfort around this neck of the woods yet (perhaps in Washington State?) but it’s a goodly way to go ’til May.
Since it’s Easter I can give you a bonus installment from Fantasticks, the peculiar book by Nicholas Breton (1554-1626), a series of sketches, of hours, season and months. Breton’s take on Easter is a little different from mine, but times do change.
It is now Easter, and Jacke of Lent is turned out of doores: the Fishermen now hang up their nets to dry, while the Calfe and the Lambe walke toward the Kitchin and the Pastry: the velvet heads of the Forrests fall at the loose of the Crosse-bow: the Sammon Trowt playes with the Fly, and the March Rabbit runnes dead into the dish: the Indian Commodities pay the Merchants adventure: and Barbary Sugar puts Honey out of countenance: the holy feast is kept for the faithfull, and a knowne Jew hath no place among Christians: the Earth now beginnes to paint her upper garment, and the trees put out their young buds, the little Kids chew their Cuds, and the Swallow feeds on the Flyes in the Ayre: the Storke clenseth the Brookes of the Frogges, and the Sparhawke prepares her wing for the Partridge: the little Fawne is stolne from the Doe, and the male Deere beginne to be hearde: the spirit of Youth is inclined to mirth, and the conscionable Scholler wil not breake a holy-day: the Minstrell cals the Maid from her dinner, and the Lovers eyes do troule like Tennis balls. There is mirth and joy, when there is health and liberty: and he that hath money, will be no meane man in his mansion: the Ayre is wholesome, and the Skye comfortable, the Flowers odiferous, and the Fruits pleasant: I conclude, it is a day of much delightfulnesse: the Sunnes dancing day, and the Earths Holy-day.
I think Easter is all about women
not all that religion and stuff
It’s spring and their hormones are stirring
to me it is all clear enough
It started back in them Dark Ages
With Eostre, a Godesss, who then
blessed the ladies with something
that makes them so different from men
They don’t like the menfolk to know it
so dress it all up rather well
with eggs, and most of all bunnies
which each have their stories to tell
The eggs women keep very private
in wait for some fellow to call
they only need us for a minute
the rest, they handle it all.
The bunnies, we all know what they’re at
whenever they are given a chance
it’s all really about procreation
and nothing to do with romance
To the poor men I offer this moral
enjoy the weekend of bunny and egg.
The rest of the year could be lonely
unless you are willing to beg.
PS I’ll find my own way out.
This stared out as a comment on Christopher’s post about his recent visit to La Belle Province, but it got so long and convoluted I decided not to clutter the comments there with its length.
I worked in Canada from mid 1969 to late 1978 living first in Ottawa then nearby across the Ottawa River in the Province of Quebec. I worked for a subsidiary of Bell Canada (the telephone company) and my wife worked, first in the public service (Department of Finance) then on Parliament Hill for a couple of MP’s.
There had been festering discontent in Quebec regarding separation for years, probably ever since Confederation (1867) even the choice of Ottawa as the capital (1857) was flavored by the divide and was one of those many English compromises that almost worked. Choosing Toronto (the largest and a very English city) would have put the capital too close to the US border and memories of “Manifest Destiny” and the unpleasantness of 1812 were still a factor, choosing Montreal would seem to be giving control to the French, also remembered for their recent aggression in Europe, so Queen Victoria herself announced that the capital would henceforth be Ottawa (formerly Bytown, named after Colonel John By who built the Rideau canal system as a defense against the US in 1812). Ottawa was conveniently located almost exactly halfway between Toronto and Montreal and as a wag of the day reported was “a slumbering sub-arctic lumber village”.
I’m back from another place and have queued a lot in the process of going and coming. Departure tax payment, airport check in, bag drop, passport examination, security check, flight boarding to name just those involving departure and with two changes (one involving a US border entry) and a final wait for my checked bags. I lost the will to count them all.
They have taken all the fun out of queueing. In the old days one would arrive at the queues, (and there were always as many queues as there were servers), and with a practiced eye one could quickly evaluate the options, length of queue, number of families in each line, number of bags per person in line, gender and age of those in line, estimated nationality of those in line and finally, and most importantly, the gender and estimated national origin of the servers. The fastest service could be almost guaranteed by choosing that queue of bored, sober-suited, middle-aged, white gents with small carry-on bags waiting, with paperwork in hand, for the highly efficient oriental lady server with the indestructible work ethic. You could be through and out in seconds, step forward, slap down your docs., two questions, “Did you pack…?” “Did anyone give…?” Machine spits out boarding card and you’re gone. She would be pushing them through about two per minute, easy.