Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Snippets

Semana Santa:
  • The rain was forecast for Saturday and Sunday but arrived on Friday, along with high winds. So, once again, the processions were cancelled. You'd think an omniscient, omnipotent God would do a better job of managing the weather at times when people are planning to glorify Him/Her. So, one wonders why not.
  • Apart from not being able to get into the Post Office, I realised yesterday there'd be no letters or even a sight of the postman all week. So, worse than the summer months, when at least some staff are working.
  • As ever on a public holiday, Pontevedra was dead from the cake shops down when I walked into the centre yesterday. But for the rain, I guess people would have emerged, for one thing and another, during the evening. But I'm not sure they did.
Gypsies: The Spanish are not fond of their own gypsies, the standard phrase being: I'm not racist but . . . How, then, must they view the Rumanian Roma couple arrested in Malaga for trying to sell their 15 year old daughter for €3,500 in cash, 100 bottles of whisky, two sheep and a pig? How honest Rumanians – Spain's 2nd most numerous foreign residents – must despair of the image this sort of thing gives them.

The Great EU Committee: The President, the ineffable Mr Juncker, has criticised national leaders for what they are or aren't doing about the vast refugee problem. He seems to me to be a man who can be relied to have his finger on no pulse whatsoever. And would probably merit execution in a properly functioning society.

The British Press: Citing - would you believe? - a right-wing German politician, the Daily Mirror has repeated the view that Mrs Merkel was the worst Chancellor in German history. Yes, indeed; much worse than that little Hitler chappie.

Yoko Ono: To be honest, I hate her. And, after hearing this yesterday, I now I detest her. For a laugh, click at minute 3.02. For an even bigger laugh, contemplate the fact that her CD will cost you 23 dollars and the vinyl version a mere 230 dollars. Don't all rush but there's only one left. Which is one too many, of course.

The 620s BC: How many people knew that this decade was one of the most important in history? I certainly didn't. But historian Robin Lane Fox tells us – in 'The Unauthorised Version' – that, from Israel to Athens, it was one of the world's vital eras of written law. Lane Fox's book, by the way, is sub-titled Truth and Fiction in the Bible and is a fascinating read. Especially for an atheist.

Daughters: Needless to say, I'm very proud of mine. And I'm almost as proud that they share 10 and 12% of their friends with me.

Finally . . . I wonder how many people know that the famous mariner Walter Raleigh was also a decent poet. I certainly didn't. Having fallen out with Liz I, he was jailed and later executed by her successor, James I. Before this [when else?] Raleigh wrote this contemptuous dismissal of just about everyone in any position of power. Something more characteristic of the Middle Ages than of the dawning era of humanistic optimism, it says here.

The Soul's Errand

O, Soul, the body's guest,
Upon a thankless errand!
Fear not to touch the best;
The truth shall be thy warrant:
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.

Say to the court it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the church it shows
What's good, and doth no good:
If court and church reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates they live
Acting by others' action,
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by a faction.
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition
That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate:
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing but commending:
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;
Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it is but motion;
Tell flesh it is but dust:
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;
Tell honor how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
Tell favor how she falters:
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
Herself in over-wiseness:
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;
Tell skill it is pretension;
Tell charity of coldness;
Tell law it is contention:
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;
Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
Tell justice of delay:
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming:
If arts and school reply,
Give arts and school the lie.

Tell faith it fled the city;
Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood shakes off pity;
Tell virtue least preferreth:
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing,--
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing,--
Stab at thee, he that will,
No stab the soul can kill.

In conclusion . . . My jasmine first came out in December but is now heading towards full bloom. A lovely, odiferous time of the year.

Next, my plum cherry tree, assuming it isn't deflowered by the storms . . .

P. S. God got the weather right for today, Easter Sunday. The sun scheduled for Monday has been brought forward.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Who is Liz I, pray tell?


Maria said...

Er...Liz never had any children. James was her cousin.

Colin Davies said...

Who do you bloody think, Mr HistoricAL?

Colin Davies said...

Or, in your case, "Whom . . . "

Colin Davies said...

Maria: Don't believe all those virgin myths! But, anyway, I'll change it so that no one blows a gasket.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Well… You'll be surprised to hear that HistocirAl wanted to make the same little point. As the Virgin Queen did not have any children, she could not be meant by 'Liz I' whose 'son' killed poor old Raleigh…

Some people are fast to sneer, and slow to study the mirror...


Maria said...

Oh, I know she wasn't any "Virgin Mary". But if she had had a child, even if a bastard, it probably would have been chosen to reign after she died. It would have been seen as preferable to the Scottish king inheriting the throne, especially since his mother had been beheaded years before to avoid just that.

Colin Davies said...

No need to whip yourself.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Were you perhaps rather thinking of Pope Joan, dear Colin? She did give birth, after all, in a Roman alleyway; and rumor has it Pope John XXIII (the first of that name, anti-pope of the early 15th C) was that son...


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