All our thinking is bound to be in cliché; it could scarcely be other since our conditioning by education, education in it's broadest sense, from the moment we are conceived has to come from the external world which does so by laying patterns already determined. One of the major differences 'twixt the superior and inferior --- and here it may be needful to wearily iterate the sublime truth that Inferior is not used in a pejorative sense, even by Nietzsche at his most scornful: this is classification, not judgement --- is that the latter uses the latest fashionable cliches to hand, rather than through any process of selection.
Thus, a frequent attack in forums is to accuse people of passive-aggression, based on a misunderstanding of that term anyway: not being able to see that they are merely --- entirely rightly --- choosing to exercise insolence.
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear — fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants beyond everything else is safety.
A mongrel and inferior people, incapable of any spiritual aspiration above that of second-rate English colonials, we seek refuge inevitably in the one sort of superiority that the lower castes of men can authentically boast, to wit, superiority in docility, in credulity, in resignation, in morals. We are the most moral race in the world; there is not another that we do not look down upon in that department; our confessed aim and destiny as a nation is to inoculate them all with our incomparable rectitude. In the last analysis, all ideas are judged among us by moral standards; moral values are our only permanent tests of worth, whether in the arts, in politics, in philosophy or in life itself. Even the instincts of man, so intrinsically immoral, so innocent, are fitted with moral false-faces. That bedevilment by sex ideas which punishes continence, so abhorrent to nature, is converted into a moral frenzy, pathological in the end. The impulse to cavort and kick up one’s legs, so healthy, so universal, is hedged in by incomprehensible taboos; it becomes stealthy, dirty, degrading. The desire to create and linger over beauty, the sign and touchstone of man’s rise above the brute, is held down by doubts and hesitations; when it breaks through it must do so by orgy and explosion, half ludicrous and half pathetic. Our function, we choose to believe, is to teach and inspire the world. We are wrong. Our function is to amuse the world.
Democracy is based upon so childish a complex of fallacies that they must be protected by a rigid system of taboos, else even half-wits would argue it to pieces.
It is, for example, one of my firmest and most sacred beliefs, reached after an inquiry extending over a score of years and supported by incessant prayer and meditation, that the government of the United States, in both its legislative arm and its executive arm, is ignorant, incompetent, corrupt, and disgusting — and from this judgement I except no more than twenty living lawmakers and no more than twenty executioners of their laws. It is a belief no less piously cherished that the administration of justice in the Republic is stupid, dishonest, and against all reason and equity — and from this judgement I except no more than thirty judges, including two upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. It is another that the foreign policy of the United States — its habitual manner of dealing with other nations, whether friend or foe — is hypocritical, disingenuous, knavish, and dishonorable — and from this judgment I consent to no exceptions whatever, either recent or long past. And it is my fourth ( and, to avoid too depressing a bill, final ) conviction that the American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages, and that they grow more timorous, more sniveling, more poltroonish, more ignominious every day.
H. L. Mencken
The trouble with American character is that, en masse, they are fairly on the side of what they are taught is good in the sense of being well-meaning, and they have morals. Also, they are mostly physically brave, but mostly lack courage, and in particular moral courage.
They squirm away from necessary mental ruthlessness, whilst dumbly applauding brutish use of force. Undoubtedly the régime of Democracy has had a large part in ensuring the triumph of spinelessness, yet even under equally vile but different forms of mass democratic society, both the then Russians and then Germans retained the hard integrity in war sacrifice that the U.S. — no matter how exemplary their industry — has never come near to matching. Having two revealed religions, the constitution and some form of degenerate christianity, which are slowly diverging, not only accounts for this lack of rigour, both being fairly soft-headed as creeds, but leads to schizophrenia, which accounts for the fact that since Mencken’s diagnosis of the disease, it has increased and become mortal.
Sir Olaf he rideth west and east
To bid the folk to his bridal feast.
On the wold are dancing an elvish band,
And Erl-king's daughter proffers her hand.
"Now welcome, Sir Olaf: what haste's with thee ?
Step into our circle and dance with me."
"To dance I neither will nor may,
To-morrow's dawn is my bridal-day."
Nay, stay, Sir Olaf, and dance with me,
And golden spurs will I give to thee."
"To dance I neither will nor may,
To-morrow's dawn is my bridal-day."
"Nay, stay, Sir Olaf, and dance with me,
A heap of gold will I give to thee."
"For all thy gold I will not stay,
And dance I neither will nor may."
"Say that I hunt in the good greenwood,
With hound and horse as a good knight should."
When scarce the dawn in heaven shone red,
Came the train with the bride Sir Olaf should wed.
They sat at meat, they sat at wine;
"Now where is Sir Olaf, bridegroom of mine ?"
"Sir Olaf rode out to the greenwood free,
With horse and hound to the hunt rode he."
The bride she lifted a cloth of red:
Beneath, Sir Olaf was lying dead.
Johann Gottfried Herder : Sir Olaf
I'm fairly strong on the Nature side myself. At least 80%, and I rather suspect that even for the undeniable parts of Nurture, such as prior environment and influence, a case can be made that these too are determined by the nature of those who created the environment, no matter how unwilled that creation.
To which the answer is --- Spengler yawns ---
Earlier, he has an interesting piece on our robotic future as regards artificial sex.
Much has been written about the sexbot phenomenon, with the skeptics focusing on the technical limitations (men make this argument) and the insistence that sexbots would not satisfy male sexual desire like real women would (women make this argument). It’s possible the technical hurdles to creating a sexually pleasing mechanical woman that could compete with real women might be too high, but assuming those hurdles are jumped, I offer the following future scenario.
Although at least this might lead to less inane chatter from those advocates who make a wishful distinction betwixt 'sex' and 'gender', that might be balanced by an increase in geek chatter about hardware and programming.
Personally, although obviously much stronger on the realist wing than the romantic, I can't think of anything more dire. Life without passion is tawdry and arid foolishness. No doubt the geeks would insist on the validity of the personality of each machine --- where man's anthromorphological urgings, strong enough in normal life, meet with the insistent deconstructualisation of actual personhood and what it means to be human promulgated by atheist philosophers looking for excuses to be what they would want to be, but lack the courage to implement --- yet no matter how realistic these things could be, they would still be slaves and slaves aren't companions. Which exemplifies that if one creates a perfect world of artifice to merely surround oneself with heaven, one remains a slave oneself.
Authenticity is not just the finest achievement, it is the only prerequisite for a valid life. Which is not to say that it is necessarily nice or good, but that like oxygen to carbon-based beings, it is necessary. Personally I'll stick with girls.
Reading obituaries was the favoured pastime of elderly men seated in their clubs in the good old days —
Which, uh, reminds me of one of my favourite jokes, noted in Russia in the time of Comrade Stalin, and later revived in Britain for Lady Thatcher:
‘A man goes to a newsagent every day, buys a paper, glances at the front page, tears it in half and throws it to the ground; exiting the shop.
After some time the news-seller expostulates, and asks why he ruins each paper so ?
“I’m looking for an obituary.”
“Obituaries are at the back, not on the front page.” smugly points out the vendor.
“This one won’t be.“’
— Anyway… obits are not the sort of thing I would generally read much of, particularly about some uninteresting ambassador I had barely heard of during his period here, and who passed over five years back, yet this one has it’s own charm…
I’d prefer the headline, “Billionaire Son of Mobster, Enemy of Journalism, and Nixon Toady Exits for Hell — Forced To Leave Picassos and van Goghs at Metropolitan Museum.”
It’s a life that proves that you can earn polite notices in death no matter how you lived if you give away a billion dollars to the right places before you croak.
Walter Annenberg was born of a congenital criminal, a rascal who never saw a business proposition that he couldn’t improve with a bit of violence. Moses “Moe” Annenberg developed these talents in 1900 in Chicago when he worked as a circulation manager for the monstrous William Randolph Hearst, back when circulation wars were fought with clubs and torches. At Hearst’s behest, Moe and his gang cracked the heads of rival newsboys, burned uncooperative newsstands, and toppled competitors’ delivery vans. When Marshall Field’s department store canceled an ad in Hearst’s Evening American, Moe’s brother Max led 60 drivers and newsboys to the store, where they terrorized shoppers and employees by surrounding it and chanting, “Marshall Field’s closed! Marshall Field’s closed!” The store reordered its ad.
Annenberg also waged a smear campaign against Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp, using his two dailies, two radio stations, and three Pennsylvania TV stations. In one example, reported in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer obit, an Inquirer reporter got Shapp to deny that he’d ever been in a mental hospital and then printed the denial on Page One.
— He should have just said to the reporter: “Yep, the same one you were in.” instead of denying a nullity… —
P’raps worst of all, this ghastly fellow was friends with what the reporter rightly calls, ‘The detestable Frank Sinatra’. Maybe his chosen milieu — lying journalism, Hollywood ‘starlets’, jewish Mobsters, New York socialites, ‘philanthropic’ art foundations ( in itself a form of capitalist monopolization ), Cool music… — was merely practice for Hell.
Hither thou com’st; the busy wind all night
Blew through thy lodging, where thy own warm wing
Thy pillow was. Many a sullen storm
( For which course man seems much the fitter born )
Rained on thy bed
And harmless head.
And now as fresh and cheerful as the light,
Thy little heart in early hymns doth sing
Unto that providence, whose unseen arm
Curbed them, and clothed thee well and warm.
All things that be, praise him ; and had
Their lesson taught them, when first made.
So hills and valleys into singing break,
And though poor stones have neither speech nor tongue,
While active winds and streams both run and speak,
Yet stones are deep in admiratiòn.
Thus Praise and Prayer here beneath the sun
Make lesser mornings, when the great are done.
For each encolsèd spirit is a star
Inlighting his own little sphere,
Whose light, though fetched and borrowed from afar,
Both mornings makes and evenings there.
Henry Vaughan : The Bird
A gift for Lucy...
Juliette played through the day Wagner, Elgar, Kalman, Lehar, Millöcher; and often Haydn. This was when engaged upon work which need not be disturbed; and was produced from an mp3 player: if alone loud with a speaker; if in company with an ear-phone soft enough that none could guess, unless one indicated that they either wanted to hear or would not mind. She never assumed this though and such request had to be made afresh each time: she was literally terrified of giving people an excuse to play music of their own choosing without reference to her or others: nothing, certainly not her possibly non-existent conscience, tortured her more than the babbling of the open radio or endless pop, which in the factory where she also worked, her original number of hours, whatever Jimmie’s belief as to her being invaluable, having been cut down meaning she had to get more work, squalid as it was, particularly as she was ineligible for various benefits, was mandatory. Some others did as she did, and whatever they forsakenly heard was equally kept to themselves and thus harmony prevailed. When utterly alone she sometimes played black metal, loud enough to arouse other tenants of Hoggward House while left to hold the fort during the lunchhour. Possibly because the break was the same for all firms no complaints came along.
However, Lucy’s arrival meant she was less and less alone on any such occasion. Their hours roughly coincided, with the same days off, and since their tastes in music did as well, once Lucy had been introduced to such lighter stuff — her upbringing having been limited to the stricter classics, apart from Sullivan, and some pop, her mother preferring only Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven with an occasional excursion into Tchaikovsky country; dad liking Welsh folk, G&S and Jim Reeves along with various guys called Chet or Hank as well — they had it together. Some time later they were alone on such a lunchtime and Juli had put on a cassette of German sea shanties, and was meditating giving Lucy a tiny square of gilt embroidery, blocked on wood or something, which she had picked up because it was interesting, and for all she could guess 17th century, although it had cost a couple of pounds she could scarcely spare: having shown it desultorily to Lucy she went a trifle deranged. Although it was only a slight sacrifice, Juli liked to make her tiny friend happy, but apart from her own feelings of loss, feared her tender sanity might jump over the edge. No doubt there was some reason for people enjoying sewing, but whatever it was it escaped Juli: Lucy had broken off abruptly seeing how Juli’s eyes glazed over as she explained the difference in berry and cobnut stitch. Anyone who could take things that seriously had to be a little loopy, even if this too was delightful.
More from the Jamie book. A raven-headed little girl looks for work...
The next thing after settling in and adjusting, not as easily as her mother, to life alone ( she was after all excessively chatty and found no scope among her neighbours, either shy, of an emphasised different age-group, or unsympathetic in a number of ways — although none hostile, other than the lawyers and a couple from an apartment on the floor below, and a few transients, a number of whom had devoted the artistic side of their natures to the pursuit of an early death from combining drink and drugs: everyone has a masterpiece within them ) she began to search for work. The local newspapers had plenty within their supplements and linages. Virtually none suitable, desirable, or possible.
Although at the optimum age for her next decade to obtain employment, after which it would be downhill unless severely specialised or possessed of rigorous on-going training, it appeared there were jobs where she was too young. There were jobs that advertised themselves as meeting the minimum wage as if that was a sparkling virtue: she couldn’t manage alone on that rate. There were expensive training-courses implying they were positions. There were Agencies with toilsome ill-paid jobs written with demented surprise at the fun and loot promised. There were jobs which demanded experience or qualifications: the possession of which would exclude most of the other jobs. Being just 17 and having some A-levels, she couldn’t be expected to have much more: on the other hand, she knew being pretty and personable was worth a vast deal more: so she was not despondent and kept her hopes up.
Bought a book on wooden effigies a couple of days back --- 'Wooden Monumental Effigies in England and Wales', by Alfred C. Fryer, 1924. Apparently there were then left --- from a previous cast of thousands destroyed by: Time; parliamentary army cunts; reforming vicars; mad villagers, etc. etc. --- 96 of these curious sculptures on tombs.
Here's how to make one:
The medieval artist selected a piece of oak, sound at the heart, in good condition, and sufficiently wide for him to carve the figure of a knight in armour or a lady in kirtle and long mantle lying on a board or bed. The portion of the board with the effigy on it, as well as the cushions upon which the head rested, and the animal at the feet, were hollowed out and filled with charcoal to absorb moisture. Having carved the figure and fastened with wooden pins such parts as lay beyond the size of his block it was ready for decoration. The effigy would then be sized and pieces of linen would be glued over the cracks and other inequalities. The decorator would then give the figure a thin coat of so-called gesso, with a still thicker coating for those portions he desired to decorate in relief, such as the mail or surfaces afterwards to be gilded or silvered. Before the gesso hardened the decorator impressed it with various matrices or stamps of diverse patterns: some being for mail of various sizes and others for decorative purposes. Several processes were in use for gilding those surfaces required to be treated in this manner. To give depth or richness to the gold or silver leaf, they were first treated with bole Armenian applied with white of egg either left dead or burnished with an agate. All the painting on the effigy was done in distemper ( tempera ). Finally the figure was covered with a coat of plain or tinted oleaginous varnish, which was needful, but, alas ! it did not prove to be a sufficient protection.
Great care and thought was always bestowed on the decoration of medieval effigies so that they glowed in colour and gleamed with gold leaf. The tints adopted were of the purest and brightest obtainable; for example, coloured grounds would be powdered with gold or white devices, yet exceptions to the heraldic rule of placing colour on colour and metal on metal are occasionally met with. For example, black patterns are sometimes depicted on green or red grounds, and in a few instances gold devices are found on white surfaces. These are, however, rare exceptions against the well-known rule of heraldry which was adopted generally, and, of course, the armorial bearings are correctly displayed on shield and surcoat, jupon and tabard, and on the lady's heraldic mantle. Red, blue, green, and white, and a sparing use of black, are found most frequently in use, and they are arranged so that they never clash, and by the avoidance of large surfaces of any one tint a beautiful colour scheme is obtained which is always harmonious and never gaudy.
Personally, once I leave somewhere, or break with someone, I cut it or them entirely and never look back. I've never revisited any of the places I lived nor contacted people I rather despise. Which doesn't mean any hard feelings are evoked, merely that that period is over forever. And... failing the mawkish concepts of forgiveness any religion inculcates in direct contravention to divine justice, I feel wholly sure that eternity encompasses enough infinity to ensure perpetual avoidance of meeting people one doesn't care for.
On the other hand, as dear old Lev put it famously: 'War is interested in you' and occasionally one is pulled back by accident... A year back I left a singularly inept forum where I had been a steel-hardened cadre mod and which I have never seen since: the email auto-notification naturally dried up --- which was nice --- but suddenly within the last month I received two emails ( from different members ) of PMs to a place I had nearly forgotten.
1. For the sake of posterity now you are gone: fuck you.
2. I love you.
I don't know which is more gratifying.
Do you know the Night, descending on Earth,
With hollow wind and heavy deluge;
Thick Night, through which starshine is given no berth,
No eyes see through the weather's dense wall ?
Even if this Night is gloom, in morning there is refuge;
O lie down in rest and sleep without fear !
Do you know the Night, descending on Life,
When Death tracks you down in your last camp;
The call of eternity sounding close by,
And fear stops still your heart's pulsing call ?
Even if this Night is gloom, in morning there is a refuge;
O lie down in rest and sleep without fear !
Do you know the Night descending on your Mind,
Which cries in vain, Salvation !
Night's serpent slithers into memory
And a thousand demons spit in your brain ?
O keep away in sleepless consternation,
Because this is The Night that has no morning !
Count Richard, ruler of Normandie,
Never knew fear while on earth lived he.
He rode through the country by night and day,
And often spectres barred his way;
Yet never knew he a touch of fear,
Alike were the day and the midnight drear,
And so fearlessly he at night did ride,
That the rumour ran through the country-side:
"Count Richard sees in the blackest night
More clear than we in the dayshine bright."
And, as he wandered throughout the land,
If he saw a Minster nigh at hand,
He would enter in; or, if shut the gate,
He would kneel without though the night were late.
And once at night,—so runs the tale,—
He came to a church in a lonely vale.
He ordered his squires to ride before,
He tied his steed at the chapel-door.
He entered the aisle so dark and grey,—
Within, on the bier, a dead man lay !
He brushed close past the sweeping pall,
And knelt at the altar with candles tall.
On a seat he cast his iron glove,
He kissed the pavement in reverent love.
He had knelt in prayer but a little while,
When behind him something stirred in the aisle.
The corpse was moving each stiffened limb;
Count Richard looked round, and cried to him:
"Now whether thou art a saint or a knave,
Lie still, and wait for thy quiet grave !"
He still knelt on, and ended his prayer,
—I know not if short or long it were.—
But, for once, he said at the prayer's end :
"Into thy hands I my soul commend."
He buckled his sword, and turned to go ;—
Right in his path stood the spectre-foe !
It stretched towards him a threatening arm;
But the Count's stout heart knew no alarm.
It strove to clutch him in fingers cold,
To keep him for aye in the Minster old.
Count Richard had little time for thought,
But he bore himself as a brave man ought.
For straightway he struck at the ghostly shape;
He clove its head from the crown to the nape.
And the Fearless passed on with unchecked stride,
To where his steed at the gate was tied.
At the churchyard gate did that good knight find
His iron gauntlet was left behind.
And back he went for the glove to search,
Again he passed up the aisle of the church.
He lifted the glove from off the chair,
And out he strode to the open air.
He found the gauntlet that he did lack:
But few there be who would have gone back !
Ludwig Uhland : Richard The Fearless
From Christopher Duffy's magisterial Frederick The Great - A Military Life
Scenes of Rossbach:
Frederick left Gotha on 16 September, and the next day the allied commanders Soubise and Hildburghausen arrived there on a reconnaissance in force with nine or ten thousand men. Seydlitz arranged his 1,500 troopers outside in a thin but impressive-looking line, and sent a 'deserter' and some peasants into the town to announce that Frederick was on his way with the main army. The allies evacuated Gotha in some alarm. Eighty soldiers were captured by the Prussian hussars, together with a huge booty of clerks, lackeys, cooks, ladies, perfumes, dressing gowns and parrots.
Frederick's outward cheerfulness, and the army's enjoyment of the comedy at Gotha, gave no hint of the disintegration in Prussia's wider strategic affairs.
Once aroused, Frederick acted with all possible vigour to head off the advance of the allies and attack them on the march. He immediately seized on the potential of the long, low ridge of the Janus Hill for screening a clockwise movement of the army out to the north-east, and on by a broad sweep south and west to embrace the allied columns. The cavalry had the furthest to go, and Frederick gave the newly promoted Major-General Seydlitz full authority over the disposable thirty-eight squadrons. Seydlitz duly rode up to the cavalry generals and announced: 'Gentlemen, I obey the king, and you will obey me !'
Seydlitz now committed the eighteen squadrons of the second line in a double flanking attack which embraced not only the Austrian and German cavalry but the twenty-four squadrons of French which now arrived the scene. The Low German cry of 'Gah to !" burst from the Brandenburgers and Pomeranians of the cuirassiers, giving one of the French officers occasion to wonder what kind of men were these who went into battle crying 'Cake !"
Few details have been transmitted of the ensuing infantry battle, which lasted a matter of minutes and involved only seven of the Prussian battalions. The leading French infantry regiments of Piemont and Mailly braved the fire of the artillery and approached to within forty paces of the Prussian line before being shredded by the salvoes of Kleist and Alt-Braunschweig . It was then or shortly afterwards that Frederick strayed in front of the muskets, and the Magdeburgers of Alt-Braunschweig called out: 'Father, please get out of the way, we want to shoot !'
The battle ended in scrappy fighting west of Pettstadt, when the light detachments of Saint-Germain and Loudon came south to cover the retreat. A French soldier approached the plainly dressed Frederick and declared: "Corporal, I want permission to go back to Auvergne. That's where I come from" . . . 'While we were chatting he espied one of our NCOs gathering all the prisoners and arranging them in three ranks. "Hey, corporal, look at that bugger over there. He wants to line us up like Prussians, and we've only been here a couple of minutes !" '
By 5 p.m. the field was shrouded in darkness. Frederick had intended to lodge for the night in the castle of Burgwerben, but he found all the rooms full of wounded French officers. Rather than disturb these gentlemen, he established himself in a servant's room in a nearby house.
“I’m Not Sleeping With A Jr. High Schooler ! I Have A Life Sized Doll That Looks Like One !”">“I’m Not Sleeping With A Jr. High Schooler ! I Have A Life Sized Doll That Looks Like One !”at 10:58 pm (Art, Generalia, Literature)
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I love thee and I love thee not,
I love thee, yet I'd rather not,
All of thee, yet I know not what.
A flowery eye as tender,
A swan-like neck as slender,
And on it a brown little spot
For tears to fall afraid on,
And kisses to be paid on,
Have other maidens too.
Then why love I, love, none but you ?
If I could find the reason why,
Methinks my love would quickly die.
Ay, knew I how to hate thee, maid,
I'd hate thee for I knew not what,
Excepting that I'd rather not
Be thy friend or foeman;
For thou'rt the only woman,
On whom to think my heart's afraid;
For, if I would abhor thee,
The more must I long for thee.
What others force me to,
I turn me from; why not from you ?
If I could find the reason why,
Methinks my love would quickly die.
Yet should'st thou cease my heart to move
To longings, that I'd rather not,
And tried I hate, I know not what
My heart would do for mourning;
Love I, --- it bursts, love scorning.
O loveliest hate, most hateful love,
This combat and endeavour
Is what enslaves me ever.
I'll neither of the two,
Or hate or love the love of you.
And now I've found the reason why,
I know my love can never die.
Thomas Lovell Beddoes : The Reason Why
The minority of my immediate forebears who were not born in London are the ones who moved there asap and stayed the rest of their lives, so though not a resident, it has no mystery, or even much interest, to me; plus most cities now appear to be disintegrating even whilst expanding --- however, it is a necessity just to recharge there occasionally. Yesterday I went to London on the spur of the moment. There are really only three things to do in a city in the daytime, excluding shopping: wander around looking at buildings and stuff, yet there are too many people about to make this fun --- which up to, say 1950, was in most cities ( ignoring the massive poverty areas which continue in the Third World, but have now in western societies have a just-as-good substitute in wantonly appalling concrete housing blocks which lack the picaresque interest of the dire areas of the past, but smell better ) a major pleasure for the curious idler; spectacle entertainment; museums or galleries.
Tate Britain ( the old Tate ) was light and airy; whereas the Wallace Collection is dark victoriana, which was a nice contrast. In the Tate I just looked at the regular sequence up to the excellent pre-raphaelites --- which affirmed my uninterest in most 18th century painting --- and the Turner exhibition. At the Wallace, a surfeit of armour with some beautiful daggers, although the western arms were cruder than the asiatic, they had more elegant vigour... and renaissance plates, and the Schroder Collection of silver. Of the paintings there, I rather liked Delacroix's Execution of the Doge Marino Faliero, partly because I had only read of this in de Sismondi a few weeks back. Owing to the angle I couldn't quite work out what had happened to the head, but souvenir hunters will take practically anything...
'Sidonia von Bork is the central character in Wilhelm Meinhold's gothic romance 'Sidonia the Sorceress'. The novel is set in sixteenth-century Pomerania and chronicles the crimes of the evil Sidonia, whose beauty captivates all who see her.'
Unfortunately, I missed this...
A letter from my love today !
Oh, unexpected, dear appeal !
She struck a happy tear away,
And broke the crimson seal.
My Love, there is no help on earth,
No help in heaven; the dead-man's bell
Must toll our wedding; our first hearth
Must be the well-paved floor of hell.
The colour died from out her face,
Her eyes like ghostly candles shone;
She cast dread looks about the place,
Then clenched her teeth and read right on.
I may not pass the prison door;
Here must I rot from day to day,
Unless I wed whom I abhor,
My cousin, Blanch of Valencay.
At midnight with my dagger keen,
I'll take my life; it must be so.
Meet me in hell to-night, my queen,
For weal and woe.
She laughed although her face was wan,
She girded on her golden belt,
She took her jeweled ivory fan,
And at her glowing missal knelt.
Then rose, And am I mad ? she said.
She broke her fan, her belt untied;
With leather girt herself instead,
And stuck a dagger at her side.
She waited, shuddering in her room
Till sleep had fallen on all the house.
She never flinched; she faced her doom:
They two must sin to keep their vows.
Then out into the night she went,
And, stooping, crept by hedge and tree;
Her rosebush flung a snare of scent,
And caught a happy memory.
She fell, and lay a minute's space;
She tore the sward in her distress;
The dewy grass refreshed her face;
She rose and ran with lifted dress.
She started like a morn-caught ghost
Once when the moon came out and stood
To watch; the naked road she crossed,
And dived into the murmuring wood.
The branches snatched her streaming cloak;
A live thing shrieked; she made no stay !
She hurried to the trysting-oak ----
Right well she knew the way.
Without a pause she bared her breast,
And drove the dagger home and fell,
And lay like one that takes her rest,
And died and wakened up in hell.
She bathed her spirit in the flame,
And near the center took her post;
From all sides to her ears there came
The dreary anguish of the lost.
The devil started at her side,
Comely, and tall, and black as jet.
I am young Malespina's bride;
Has he come hither yet ?
My poppet welcome to your bed.
Is Malespina here ?
Not he ! Tomorrow he must wed
His cousin Blanche, my dear !
You lie, he died with me tonight.
Not he ! It was a plot. . . . You lie.
My dear, I never lie outright.
We died at midnight, he and I.
The devil went. Without a groan
She, gathered up in one fierce prayer,
Took root in hell's midst all alone,
And waited for him there.
She dared to make herself at home
Amidst the wail, the uneasy stir.
The blood-stained flame that filled the dome,
Scentless and silent, shrouded her.
How long she stayed I cannot tell;
But when she felt his perfidy,
She marched across the floor of hell;
And all the damned stood up to see.
The devil stopped her at the brink.
She shook him off; she cried, Away !
My dear, you have gone mad, I think.
I was betrayed: I will not stay.
Across the weltering deep she ran;
A stranger thing was never seen:
The damned stood silent to a man;
They saw the great gulf set between.
To her it seemed a meadow fair;
And flowers sprang up about her feet.
She entered heaven; she climbed the stair
And knelt down at the mercy-seat.
Seraphs and saints with one great voice
Welcomed that soul that knew not fear.
Amazed to find it could rejoice,
Hell raised a hoarse, half-human cheer.
John Davidson : A Ballad of Hell
The recent absence was due to unavoidable circumstances, and will occur any time the Goldberg scale rises above 65 degrees. To cheer up the numerous devotees of Google who come here looking for art-works rather than ethical considerations on suicide — which latter search would be useless since I have no regard for ethics whatsoever — here’s another few Grandvilles.
I generally agree with loosening copyright laws, particularly when the originator has no chance of profiting from their genius, having been dead these few hundred years and some little punk is claiming the rights, but never for altering the artist's intentions...
This site, Death By Copyright devoted to that cause, states that the law was wrong to protect this artist, Michael Snow, from the desecration of his sold art by the purchasers:
Michael Snow was commissioned to do a sculpture called "flight stop" consisting of a number of geese in flight in the atrium of the Toronto Eaton Centre. During christmas of 1981 the Eaton Centre placed red ribbons around the necks of the geese. Snow brought an action against the Centre to get an injunction in order have the ribbons removed.
I know there are valid arguments against the death penalty: but it sure comes in useful if correctly applied. Beuys would have set coyotes on them...
TWIXT devil and deep sea, man hacks his caves;
Birth, death; one, many; what is true, and seems;
Earth's vast hot iron, cold space's empty waves:
King spider, walks the velvet roof of streams:
Must bird and fish, must god and beast avoid:
Dance, like nine angels, on pin-point extremes.
His gleaming bubble between void and void,
Tribe-membrane, that by mutual tension stands,
Earth's surface film, is at a breath destroyed.
Bubbles gleam brightest with least depth of lands
But two is least can with full tension strain,
Two molecules; one, and the film disbands.
We two suffice. But oh beware, whose vain
Hydroptic soap my meagre water saves.
Male spiders must not be too early slain.
William Empson : Arachne