And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

tirsdag 1. mars 2011

The Realm of Love Renews

The ioyous time now nighest fast,
That shall alegge this bitter blast,
And slake the winters sorowe.
- The Shepheardes Calender - March, Edmund Spenser

(...) the realm of love renews
The battle it was born to lose
- Venis Coronaberis, Geoffrey Hill

Woodcut illustration to the March eclogue of Spenser's innovative The Shepheardes Calender (1579), taken from the University of Oregon's splendid website. The third eclogue is dedicated to a debate on love and fits nicely with Geoffrey Hill's image of love's realm renewing.

The first day of spring appeared in all its sunlit splendour when I awoke. After having spent some time reading in William of Malmesbury's History of the English Kings I decided to make my errand to King's Manor a combination of pleasure and duty. Accordingly, between delivering a couple of books and reading an article on medieval romances, I roamed about York for about an hour, delighting in the sun's return after days of absence and in the city's many amusements big and small.
Due to the weather and the flowers of the Yorkshire Museum Garden I was reminded of Geoffrey Hill's beautiful poem Veni Coronaberis which suits a day like today perfectly. The poem, whose title translates roughly as "come and be garlanded", is an homage to the latinist Helen Waddell and I have quoted it below in its entirety, although not coherently.

Today was not an eventful day so I shall refrain from elaborating on what I did in too many words. Instead I present a selection of pictures that will illustrate the pleasant aspects of the day quite fittingly.

Flora now calleth forth eche flower,
And bids make ready Maias bowre,
That newe is vpryst from bedde.
- The Shepheardes Calender - March, Edmund Spenser

the fields of March will detonate the crocus
- North and South, Derek Walcott

What more felicitie can fall to creature

Than to enioy delight with libertie
- Muiopotmos or Fate of the Butterflie, Edmund Spenser

For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
-The Hound of Heaven, Francis Thompson

The crocus armies from the dead
Rise up; the realm of love renews
The battle it was born to lose,
Though for a time the snows have fled
- Veni Coronaberis, Geoffrey Hill

and old stones blossom in the south
with sculpted vine and psaltery
and half-effaced adultery
The bird-dung dribbling from its mouth;
- Veni Coronaberis, Geoffrey Hill

and abstinence crowns all our care
with martyr-laurels for this day.
Towers and steeples rise away
into the towering gulfs of air.
- Veni Coronaberis, Geoffrey Hill

 I stumbled upon these fellows during a photoshoot. At first I didn't understand the occasion...

...but then I remembered this poster, and considering they were accompanied by a mummy it seems like a probable conjecture linking these together.

She'll be ruling the bloody country next.

 Starlings are tough but the lions are made of stone
- Lions, Dire Straits

 Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
- The Hound of Heaven, Francis Thompson

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