Friday, January 28, 2011

A few things.

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
but sad mortality o'ersways their power
how with this rage shall beauty hold a plea
whose action is no stronger than a flower?

O, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
against the wreckful siege of batt'ring days
when rocks impregnable are not so stout
nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?

O fearful meditation! Where, alack
shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?

O, none, unless this miracle have might,
that in black ink, my love may still shine bright.

This is, I think, the first time that I have ever noticed that in line six, the word is "wreckful"--not "wrackful." Wow. Anyway, I memorized this in 11th grade. I love it even more now. I did pieces of the Crispin's Day speech, too, but I'm not sure how much I can remember. There are always a few places in any memorized piece that tend to slip through the cracks. In the above, sonnet number God-knows-what, it's line nine.

What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland?
[No, my fair cousin, if we are marked to die, we are enow
to do our country loss; and if to live,
the fewer men, the greater share of honor.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
it yearns me not if men my garments wear;
such outward things dwell not on my desires:
but if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honor
as one man more, methinks, would share from me.]

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host
that he that hath no stomach for this fight,
let him depart, his passport shall be made
and crowns for convoy put into his purse.
We would not die in that man's company
that fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
will stand a-tip-toe when the day is named,
and rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
shall yearly at the vigil feast his neighbors,
and say, "To-morrow is St Crispian."
Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars
and say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's Day."
Old men forget, yet all shall be forgot,
but he'll remember with advantages
what feats he did that day. Then shall our names
familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd;
This story shall the good man teach his son,
and Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
from this day to the ending of the world,
but we, in it, shall be remember'd.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
for he today that sheds his blood with me
shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile:
this day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England now abed
shall think themselves accursed they were not here
and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
that fought with us upon St. Crispin's day.

Lastly, here is a quote, and then a thought.

All things are shadows of the shining True:
Sun, sea, and air...
Every thing holds a slender guiding clue
Back to the mighty oneness.

-George Macdonald.

I have no idea whether this is a full quote or some kind of butchered excerpt, but I like it. It is posted on one of the blogs of David's sister-in-law. I would link you, but I forgot to get the url before closing the window.

Another of her blogs mentioned feeling wonder at the snow, and at most things, during the lifting of an illness. I left a note ("The best, most wonderful, most glorious thing about deep illness is the euphoric moment when it lifts"), and then realized how true it was. That many of the most poignant moments of my life have occurred right at the moment when illness (I use the term loosely here; illness ~ misery) suddenly lifted. The moment Chloe gave me a cup of unsweetened black tea, and my migraine dissipated into nothing. I had always disliked that mug before, but it's been one of my favorites ever since. The moment I awoke from my first (and only, thankyouverymuch) post-alchohol-poisoning sleep. The moment I awoke from my first hours of real sleep in weeks. I felt like a desert, and like a rainstorm had just begun in me. There was air.

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