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As High As Haman — Srsly

Fol­low­ing all the ver­sions of the Bib­le, ran­ging from King James to the New Eng­lish, the Rheims-Douai to the Revised Stand­ard, etc., and their trans­la­tions into dif­fer­ent ver­nacu­lars, an import­ant gap is being filled by an ongo­ing inter­net pro­ject into Lolcat, Teh Holiez Bib­ul, from The Lolcat Church.

This retains all the gen­er­ous human­ity and love­li­ness of the ori­gin­al jew­ish screeds.

1 so king n ham­an n esther b hav­in tasty foodz.2 tasty foodz wuz gud so king ask esther “wot u want dis time?”

3 esther sez “i can haz life n mi ppl can haz life?4 cuz mi ppl haz been sol­ded into non­livng n dat not gud. not mind beeng sol­ded 4 work, but not liv­ing v bad.”

5 so king askz “hoo wud mayke u ded?6 n esther sez “lol ham­an” n ham­an wuz scarded7 king went 4 walk­ies so ham­an ask­ded esther for mer­ci

8 but king not hap­pi 2 cum bak n find ham­an on esth­ers bed. king ask “u try­ing to SURPRIZE BUTTSECKS mi wife?” so ser­vents cum 2 tell ham­an to stfu noob and tuk him awai.9 n one gai sez 2 king “luk at v big rope swing ham­an buil­ded 4 mor­de­cai” n king sez “lol neck swing 4 ham­an insted“10 n wen ham­an wuz swinging from big rpe swing, king b happy agin.
Esther 7


1 iff i talkd wif teh tun­gz of manz n angylz, n duzzn haz luff, i are becom liek teh human, knock­in down all teh potz n panz frm teh shelf, srsly.2 iff i haz powarz of liek tellin the futurez an, an i gotz all teh mis­s­ter­iez an all teh know­ingz an all teh faithz, enuff 2 taek all teh mowntanz awayz, an i duzzn haz luff, i gotz nuffink.3 an evn iff i givez all mai stuffz awai, n iff i delivur mai bod­iz to b burnded up, and i duzzn haz luff, i gotz nuffink.

4 luv is pashi­ent n kind, luv haz no jelusn­iss or show­in offz, luv no is stuck-up5 or r00dz. Luv no insistzes on doin it rite, itz not pisst off alla tiem or rezentfluffle.6 luv izzn all hap­piez about doin it wrong, but is hap­piez about teh truthz.7 luv putz up wiht all teh stuffz, bee­livez all teh stuffz, hoepz for all teh stuffz. Luv putz up wiht all teh stuffz. i sed that areddy.

8 luv no haz end­ingz. Tellin the futurez, tun­gz, an alla stuffz u know wil die.9 we haz know­ingz a bit, an we haz pro­facy a bit. We no haz 2 much tho.10 o, wait. wen teh per­fict coemz, teh not per­fict will dyez, lolol.11 wen i wuz a kit­ten, i meweded leik a kit­ten, think­ded liek a kit­tenz, an I chazed strings liek a kit­tenz. wen i wuz becomez a cat, i NOT WANT kit­ten waiz né moar.12 for nao we see in teh foggy mirorr like when teh human gets out of teh shower, but tehn we see faec tow faec. Nao i haz know­ingz just a bit, tehn i will haz all teh know­ingz, as i haz been knownz.

13 nao faithz an hoepz an luvs r hear, theses threes, but teh best­est iz teh luvs, srsly.
1 Cor­inthi­ans 13

Burning Bush



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This, Too, Was Needed

at 1:00 pmconditions (Literature, Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry)

Three from Fig­ures of Earth by Cabell:

“There is much loss in the world, where men war cease­lessly with sor­row, and time like a strong thief strips all men of all they prize. Yet when the emper­or is beaten in battle and his broad lands are lost, he, shrug­ging, says, ‘In the next battle I may con­quer.’ And when the bearded merchant’s ship is lost at sea, he says, ‘The next voy­age, belike, will be pros­per­ous.’ Even when the life of an old beg­gar departs from him in a ditch, he says, ‘I trust to be to-morrow a glad young ser­aph in para­dise.’ Thus hope serves as a cor­di­al for every hurt: but for him who had beheld the love­li­ness of Frey­dis there is no hope at all.

For, in com­par­is­on with that ali­en clear beau­ty, there is no beau­ty in this world. He that has beheld the love­li­ness of Frey­dis must go hence­for­ward as a hungry per­son, because of troub­ling memor­ies: and his fel­lows deride him envi­ously. All the world is fret­ted by his folly, know­ing that his faith in the world’s might is no longer firm-set, and that he aspires to what is bey­ond the world’s giv­ing. In his heart he belittles the strong stu­pid lords of earth; and they, being strong, plan ven­geance, the while that in a corner he makes images to com­mem­or­ate what is lost: and so for him who has beheld the love­li­ness of Frey­dis there is no hope at all.

He that has willed to look upon Queen Frey­dis does not dread to con­sort with ser­pents nor with swine; he faces the mir­ror where­in a man beholds him­self without self-deceiving; he views the blood that drips from his soiled hands, and knows that this, too, was needed: yet these endur­ings pur­chase but one hour. The hour passes, and there­with passes also Frey­dis, the high Queen. Only the memory of her hour remains, like a cruel gad­fly, for which the crazed behold­er of Queen Frey­dis must build a lodging in his images, madly endeavor­ing to com­mingle memor­ies with wet mud: and so for him who has beheld the love­li­ness of Frey­dis there is no hope at all.”

Frey­dis heard him through, con­sid­er­ately. “But I won­der to how many oth­er women you have talked such non­sense about beau­ty and des­pair and etern­ity,” said Frey­dis, “and they very prob­ably lik­ing to hear it, the poor fools! And I won­der how you can expect me to believe you, when you pre­tend to think me all these fine things, and still keep me penned in this enclos­ure like an old vicious cow.”

No, that is not the way it is any longer. For now the fig­ure that I have made in the world, and all else that is in the world, and all that is any­where without this enclos­ure of buttered wil­low wands, mean noth­ing to me, and there is no mean­ing in any­thing save in the love­li­ness of Frey­dis.”

Dom Manuel went to the door of the enclos­ure then to the win­dows, sweep­ing away the gil­ded ton­thecs and the shin­ing spaks, and remov­ing from the cop­per nails the horse­shoes that had been cast by Mohammed’s mare and Hrimfaxi and Balaam’s ass and Pegas­us. “You were with­in my power. Now I des­troy that power, and there­with myself. Now is the place unguarded, and all your ser­vit­ors are free to enter, and all your ter­rors are untrammeled, to be loosed again­st me, who have no longer any­thing to dread. For I love you with such mor­tal love as val­ues noth­ing else beside its desire, and you care noth­ing for me.”

Four Crows

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Ain’t Nothing But Mammals ( Or, When The Kissing Had To Stop )

Careful nurturing saved me till now from much hearing of Der Voglertanz, a Swiss tune better known, and popular, in the U. S. as The Chicken Dance. I'm as fond of Om Pah as the next man ( although German, and particularly Bavarian, dancing leaves me as cold as native dances traditional in the British Isles, or indeed from anywhere ), but it's fairly annoying.

* Begin in a large circle with everybody facing in toward the center of the ring.
* At the start of the music, shape a chicken beak with your hands. Open and close it four times, during the first four beats of the music.
* Make chicken wings with your arms. Flap your wings four times, during the next four beats of the music.
* Make a chicken's tail feathers with your arms and hands. Wiggle downwards during the next four beats of the music.
* Clap four times during the next four beats of the music.
* Repeat this process four times.
* After the fourth time spin to the right for eight counts with your partner
* Switch directions and spin to the left with your partner for eight counts
* The dance repeats, progressively getting faster and faster, until the music stops.

As stately, if more intricate, than a pavanne, this description from Wiki adequately serves as an extended metaphor for the Cold War.

Those interested shall have to search elsewhere; instead here's a superior sound...

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Bloodhound Gang - Discovery Channel [ with Prairie Hens ]



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Consumerist Empowerment

In my wild youth I once considered an exploration through visual time --- the idea was inspired for some reason by a sentence in Jean Renoir's autobiography when he gave the date of someone falling off a bicycle, I think in June 1893: from this I considered plotting all the graphic self images of 1893, how they then portrayed that time period through every medium from paint to lithography to the photography of the time etc. in each major national culture. Plus writings of the time self-regarding.

From there it would expand to how 1893 was portrayed in each drawing style in each subsequent decade ( as a typical illustration of life in that particular year would be radically different between the 1930s or the 1990s ), and the suppositional mental view in, say, 1923 of 1893 --- and how that had altered by the following prism of 1953 or 1973.

And, not limited to that one year: examining how each succeeding decade was regarded and portrayed by itself and following decades; and backwards, until one had a rather elaborate multi-dimensional cobweb of time from which chosing one angle one could, say, survey 1783 from the view of 1853, or, say, 1983 from the view of 1933, as imagined.

Despite even choosing a title 'Synchronicity', I soon realised this was not only difficult to complete without several lifetimes' input, and not entirely sane, but also probably would infringe upon God's patents; so I scrapped it.


So a few days past I bought for a couple of pounds some metal-detected mediæval ironware...

The large item on top is a medieval iron boatmen’s hook. It was attached to a long wooden pole and used to aid river crossing. One of the fixing holes can be seen in the picture. It also had another usage. In times of many fires in medieval times it was used to pull down wooden houses to prevent fire from spreading. Such hooks were used during The Great Fire of London.

However: while nice and all, even though I do not strictly need a mediæval bookhook aka a piece of rusty iron, it's always nice to engage in valueless shopping for it's own sake; the trouble is, that reading that description, my imagination of the object's original use is wholly filtered through the 1840s illustrations by George Cruikshank of W. Harrison Ainsworth's historical romances...


mediæval junk



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The Künstler’s Paintbrush: ‘Entropy Made Visible’

at 5:30 amconditions (Melancholy, Places, Self Writ, Spengler)

A few years ago an Itali­an friend of mine trav­elled by train from Boston to Provid­ence. She had only been in Amer­ica for a couple weeks and hadn’t seen much of the coun­try yet. She arrived look­ing aston­ished. “It’s so ugly !”
People from oth­er rich coun­tries can scarcely ima­gine the squal­or of the man-made bits of Amer­ica. In travel books they show you mostly nat­ur­al envir­on­ments: the Grand Canyon, white­wa­ter raft­ing, horses in a field. If you see pic­tures with man-made things in them, it will be either a view of the New York sky­line shot from a dis­creet dis­tance, or a care­fully cropped image of a sea­coast town in Maine.
How can it be, vis­it­ors must won­der. How can the richest coun­try in the world look like this ?

Attempt­ing to find via Google  —  an increas­ingly futile exer­cise  —  why the USA, which has so many mar­vel­lous resources, and so much ( mis­dir­ec­ted ) ener­gies, should have cre­ated rather awful urb­an and rur­al land­scapes, James Howard Kunst­ler seems to have as much of the truth as the art­icle in the first quote. Cer­tainly the author over-romanticises, say the Brit­ish exper­i­ence, yet our coun­tryside, both rur­al and wild, will still retain some beau­ty awhile. For nat­ur­ally the rest of the world has ugli­ness too, and increas­ing with both pop­u­la­tion rises and the copy­ing of the Amer­ic­an and sovi­et mod­els for human­ity; yet it is the con­trast between the vast wealth  —  which of course mostly ends up with the money-chosen elites  —  and the real­ity which makes Amer­ica ever more depress­ing yet. Inev­it­able destruc­tion is one thing, but still bet­ter played out before a noble and har­mo­ni­ous back­drop; anom­ie is one thing more, but still I should prefer to be ali­en­ated from a civil­isa­tion I could respect rather than the trite hor­ror of the endgame of the last few cen­tur­ies.

Eighty per­cent of everything ever built in Amer­ica has been built in the last 50 years, and most of it is depress­ing, bru­tal, ugly, unhealthy and spir­itu­ally degrad­ing: the jive-plastic com­muter tract home waste­lands, the Potemk­in vil­lage shop­ping plazas with their vast park­ing lagoons, the Lego-block hotel com­plexes, the ‘gour­met mansardic’ junk-food joints, the Orwellian office ‘parks’ fea­tur­ing build­ings sheathed in the same reflect­ive glass as the sunglasses worn by chain-gang guards, the particle-board garden apart­ments rising up in every mead­ow and corn­field, the free­way loops around every big and little city with their clusters of dis­count mer­chand­ise marts, the whole destruct­ive, waste­ful, tox­ic, agoraphobia-inducing spec­tacle that politi­cians proudly call ‘growth.’ [ Book: The Geo­graphy of Nowhere ]”

With very few excep­tions, our cit­ies are hol­lowed out ruins. Our towns have com­mit­ted ritu­al­ized sui­cide in thrall to the Wal­Mart God. Most Amer­ic­ans live in sub­urb­an hab­it­ats that are isol­at­ing, dis­ag­greg­ated, and neur­o­lo­gic­ally pun­ish­ing, and from which every last human qual­ity unre­lated to shop­ping con­veni­ence and per­son­al hygiene has been expunged. We live in places where vir­tu­ally no activ­ity or ser­vice can be accessed without driv­ing a car, and the (usu­ally solo) jour­ney past hor­ri­fy­ing vistas of on-ramps and off-ramps offers no chance of a social encoun­ter along the way. Our sub­urb­an envir­on­ments have by defin­i­tion des­troyed the trans­ition between the urb­an hab­it­at and the rur­al hin­ter­lands. In oth­er words, we can’t walk out of town into the coun­tryside any­where. Our “homes,” as we have taken to call­ing mere mass-produced vinyl boxes at the prompt­ing of the realtors, exist in set­tings leached of mean­ing­ful pub­lic space or con­nec­tion to civic amen­ity, with all activ­ity focused inward to the canned enter­tain­ments piped into giant receiv­ers – where the chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar sprawl in mas­turb­at­ory trances, fond­ling joy­sticks and key­boards, engorged on Cheez Doodles and taco chips. Big and Blue in the USA

A talk by Mr. Kunst­ler on The Tragedy of Sub­ur­bia at Ted Talks : Mp4 video




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All Things Remain In God

That lover of a night
Came when he would,
Went in the dawning light
Whether I would or no;
Men come, men go:
All things remain in God.

Banners choke the sky;
Men-at-arms tread;
Armoured horses neigh
In the narrow pass:
All things remain in God.

Before their eyes a house
That from childhood stood
Uninhabited, ruinous,
Suddenly lit up
From door to top:
All things remain in God.

I had wild Jack for a lover;
Though like a road men pass over
My body makes no moan
But sings on:
All things remain in God.

William Butler Yeats : Crazy Jane on God


Elsie : RIP 20/Nov/2007


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Liszt I

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Franz Liszt - Liebenstraum



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Distrust Didactics; Distrust Morals; Trust Donkeys

at 6:35 pmconditions (Animals, Art, Correctitude, Poetry, Self Writ)

I possess the same dislike for common fables as did Professor Tolkien for allegory; undoubtedly for the same reason, the total mistrust of didacticism added to the puritan complacence of the instructor. Still, whatever my reservations on La Fontaine, this is a very pretty little book from 1835, illustrated by Hadamar and Desandre, whomever they were, and I think this the prettiest of all. Pity about the unavoidable moral lesson...


La Fontaine image

L'Ane Portant Des Reliques

Un baudet, chargè de reliques
S'imagina qu'on l'adorait
Dans ce penser il se carrait,
Recevant comme siens l'encens et les cantiques,
Quelqu'un vit l'erreur, et lui dit:
Maitre baudet, ôtez-vous de l'esprit
Une vanitê si folle.
Ce n'est pas pour vous, c'est l'idole
A qui cet honneur se rend,
Et que la gloire en est due.
D'un magistral ignorant
C'est la robe qu'on salue.

Which may be unfavorably compared with Chesterton's famous The Donkey for a less pompous and self-righteous viewpoint...

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools ! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.


La Fontaine image


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Since Then None Of These Can Be

LONG in thy Shack­els, liber­ty,
I ask not from these walls, but thee ;
Left for a while anoth­ers Bride,
To fancy all the world beside.

Yet e’re I do begin to love,
See ! How I all my objects prove ;
Then my free Soule to that con­fine,
‘Twere pos­sible I might call mine.

First I would be in love with Peace,
And her rich swell­ing breasts increase ;
But how alas ! how may that be,
Des­pising Earth, she will love me ?

Faine would I be in love with War,
As my deare Just aven­ging star ;
But War is loved so ev’ry where,
Ev’n He dis­daines a Lodging here.

Thee and thy wounds I would bemoane
Faire thorough-shot Reli­gion ;
But he lives only that kills thee,
And who so bind­es thy hands, is free.

I would love a Par­lia­ment
As a maine Prop from Heav’n sent ;
But ah ! Who’s he that would be wed­ded
To th’ fairest body that’s beheaded ?

Next would I court my Liber­ty,
And then my Birth-right, Prop­er­ty ;
But can that be, when it is knowne
There’s noth­ing you can call your owne ?

A Reform­a­tion I would have,
As for our griefes a Sov’raigne salve ;
That is, a cleans­ing of each wheele
Of State, that yet some rust doth feele :

But not a Reform­a­tion so,
As to reforme were to ore’throw ;
Like Watches by unskil­full men
Dis­joyn­ted, and set ill againe.

The Pub­lick Faith I would adore,
But she is banke-rupt of her store ;
Nor how to trust her can I see,
For she that couzens all, must me.

Since then none of these can be
Fit objects for my Love and me ;
What then remaines, but th’ only spring
Of all our loves and joyes ? The KING.

He who being the whole Ball
Of Day on Earth, lends it to all ;
When seek­ing to ecclipse his right,
Blinded, we stand in our owne light.

And now an uni­ver­sall mist
Of Error is spread or’e each breast,
With such a fury edg’d, as is
Not found in th’ inwards of th’ Abysse.

Oh from thy glor­i­ous Starry Waine
Dis­pense on me one sac­red Beame
To light me where I soone may see
How to serve you, and you trust me.

Richard Lovelace : To Lucasta, from Pris­on — An Epode.




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Playing With Muspel Fire

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Fire-organ played in Reykjavik at the Winter Lights Festival

Both the Bundeswehr and the late Nationale Volksarmee have/had no more legitimacy than Hitler's mob, but although republican do/did obviously still carry out a little of the great tradition... Torchlight Parades are always so pretty.

Both uniforms are getting on the silly side, with ties and all ( and ugly impracticable Allied-Type helmets; which is kind of ironical now the Yanks are sensibly starting to model their helmets on the stahlhelm... ) and look really remarkably similar despite any supposed ideological differences betwixt state capitalism and the free-market kind.

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Bundeswehr --- Großer Zapfenstreich Aufmarsch 26/10/2006

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NVA --- Großer Wachaufzug 1989

Note the holy atmosphere of the NVA bash --- no doubt anything would be a break from the necessity of writing up a daily report on one's neighbours; and the poor production values of something shot in 1989 which films like 1962 outside the Iron Curtain. Note also the use of Jingling Johnnies aka La Pavillon Chinois which seem to really take one back...


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Stomping Kittie with Preußens Gloria



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at 4:51 amconditions (Art, Charles I, Melancholy, Self Writ)

Leonardo de Buonarrotto chose to have Artemisia Gentileschi's Inclination muffled with drapery for moralistic reasons which would have scarcely commended themselves to his predecessor Michelangelo, some 50 years after she painted it. Fairly weird, agreed; despite the fact that each age imposes retrospective tastes upon the past --- for moralistic reasons --- which is massively not confined to art.

However, the real question is why during the last 300 years no restorer has been requested to remove these additions . Our churches have been evolving for one to two millennia in this continent, and every now and then excresences of previous taste are expunged... In this case it would seem more appropriate for the original artist's intention to remain pure.

Artemisia, together with her father, was invited to England by the Great King, and painted here for him before the rebellion; but like most of the foreign artists he accumulated had to leave quickly with the onset of war. It is likely she would have agreed with one of his later random jottings:

Rebus in adversis facile est contemnere vitam;
Fortiter ille facit qui miser esse potest

Artemisia Gentileschi --- Allegory Inclination


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The Best Insult Evah !

Kyril Bonfiglioli wrote only five books, including the Mortdecai Triology, --- and I think these slightly decline as they go --- yet to have any excellent comedic writing in the last half of the last century is rather rare, and at the top of his form he was brilliant.

Sometimes the wire recorder was on, sometimes not. Probably another was on all the time, inside one of the briefcases. I got the impression that they were becoming very bored with the whole thing, but I was by then so sleepy with food and liquor and exhaustion that I could only concentrate with difficulty. Much of the time I simply told them the truth --- a course Sir Henry Wotton ( another man who went abroad to lie ) recommended as a way of baffling your adversaries. Another chap once said, 'If you wish to preserve your secret, wrap it up in frankness.' I wrapped, profusely. But you know, playing a sort of fugue with truth and mendacity makes one lose, after a while, one's grip on reality. My father always warned me against lying where the truth would do; he had early realized that my memory --- essential equipment of the liar --- was faulty. 'Moreover,' he used to say, 'a lie is a work of art. We sell works of art, we don't give them away. Eschew falsehood, my son.' That is why I never lie when selling works of art. Buying them is another matter, of course.


'Tell me, Mr. Mortdecai,' said one of them in an offhand, casual way as they rose to go, "what did you think of Mrs. Krampf ?'
'Her heart,' I said bitterly, 'is like spittle on the palm that the Tartar slaps - no telling which way it will pitch.'
'That's very nice, Mr. Mortdecai,' said one, nodding appreciatively, 'that's M. P. Shiel, isn't it ?'


The sheriff came in and gave us back the contents of our pockets, including my Banker's Special. The cartridges were in a separate envelope. He was no longer urbane, he hated us now very much.
'I have been instructed,' he said, like a man spitting out fishbones, 'not to book you for the murder you committed yesterday. There is a cab outside and I would like for you to get into it and get out of this county and never come back.' He shut his eyes very tightly and kept them shut as though hoping to wake up in a different time stream, one in which C. Mortdecai and J. Strapp had never been born.
We tiptoed out.
The deputies were in the outer office, standing tall, wearing the mindless sneers of their kind. I walked up close to the larger and nastier of the two.
'Your mother and father only met once,' I said carefully, 'and money changed hands. Probably a dime.'

Kyril Bonfiglioli : Don't Point That Thing At Me


Raging Redhead



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In An Outer Spiral Arm

[AUDIO https://www.serene-falcon.com/audio/TheGalaxySong.mp3]
Monty Python - The Galaxy Song

Painting of Wolves
Sergei Konstantinovitch Pankejeff



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Towards The Wintry Sea

at 3:06 amconditions (Correctitude, Other Writ, Poetry, Royalism, Stuarts, The King of Terrors, War)

Come hither, Evan Cameron !
Come, stand beside my knee ---
I hear the river roaring down
Towards the wintry sea.
There's shouting on the mountain side,
There's war within the blast ---
Old faces look upon me,
Old forms go trooping past.
I hear the pibroch wailing
Amidst the din of fight,
And my dim spirit wakes again
Upon the verge of night !

'Twas I that led the Highland host
Through wild Lochaber's snows,
What time the plaided clans came down
To battle with Montrose.
I've told thee how the Southrons fell
Beneath the broad claymore,
And how we smote the Campbell clan
By Inverlochy's shore.
I've told thee how we swept Dundee,
And tamed the Lindsay's pride;
But never have I told thee yet
How the Great Marquis died !

A traitor sold him to his foes;
O deed of deathless shame !
I charge thee, boy, if e'er thou meet
With one of Assynt's name ---
Be it upon the mountain's side,
Or yet within the glen,
Stand he in martial gear alone,
Or backed by armed men ---
Face him, as thou wouldst face the man
Who wronged thy sire's renown;
Remember of what blood thou art,
And strike the caitiff down !

They brought him to the Watergate,
Hard bound with hempen span,
As though they held a lion there,
And not a 'fenceless man.
They set him high upon a cart ---
The hangman rode below ---
They drew his hands behind his back,
And bared his noble brow.
Then, as a hound is slipped from leash,
They cheered the common throng,
And blew the note with yell and shout,
And bade him pass along.

It would have made a brave man's heart
Grow sad and sick that day,
To watch the keen malignant eyes
Bent down on that array.
There stood the Whig west-country lords
In balcony and bow,
There sat their gaunt and withered dames,
And their daughters all a-row;
And every open window
Was full as full might be,
With black-robed Covenanting carles,
That goodly sport to see !

But when he came, though pale and wan,
He looked so great and high,
So noble was his manly front,
So calm his steadfast eye; ---
The rabble rout forebore to shout,
And each man held his breath,
For well they knew the hero's soul
Was face to face with death.
And then a mournful shudder
Through all the people crept,
And some that came to scoff at him,
Now turn'd aside and wept.

But onwards --- always onwards,
In silence and in gloom,
The dreary pageant labor’d,
Till it reach’d the house of doom.
Then first a woman’s voice was heard
In jeer and laughter loud,
And an angry cry and a hiss arose
From the heart of the tossing crowd:
Then as the Græme look’d upwards,
He saw the ugly smile
Of him who sold his king for gold,
The master-fiend Argyle !

The Marquis gaz’d a moment,
And nothing did he say,
But the cheek of Argyle grew ghastly pale
And he turn’d his eyes away.
The painted harlot by his side,
She shook through every limb,
For a roar like thunder swept the street,
And hands were clench’d at him;
And a Saxon soldier cried aloud,
“Back, coward, from thy place !
For seven long years thou hast not dar’d
To look him in the face.”

Had I been there with sword in hand,
And fifty Camerons by,
That day through high Dunedin's streets,
Had pealed the slogan cry.
Not all their troops of trampling horse,
Nor might of mailed men ---
Not all the rebels of the south
Had borne us backwards then !
Once more his foot on Highland heath
Had trod as free as air,
Or I, and all who bore my name,
Been laid around him there !

It might not be. They placed him next
Within the solemn hall,
Where once the Scottish Kings were throned
Amidst their nobles all.
But there was dust of vulgar feet
On that polluted floor,
And perjured traitors filled the place
Where good men sate before.
With savage glee came Warristoun
To read the murderous doom,
And then uprose the great Montrose
In the middle of the room.

"Now by my faith as belted knight,
And by the name I bear,
And by the bright Saint Andrew's cross
That waves above us there ---
Yea, by a greater, mightier oath ---
And oh, that such should be ! ---
By that dark stream of royal blood
That lies 'twixt you and me ---
I have not sought in battle-field
A wreath of such renown,
Nor dared I hope, on my dying day,
To win the martyr's crown !"

"There is a chamber far away
Where sleep the good and brave,
But a better place ye have named for me
Than by my father's grave.
For truth and right, 'gainst treason's might,
This hand hath always striven,
And ye raise it up for a witness still
In the eye of earth and heaven.
Then nail my head on yonder tower ---
Give every town a limb ---
And God who made shall gather them:
I go from you to Him !"

The morning dawn’d full darkly,
The rain came flashing down,
And the jagged streak of the levin-bolt
Lit up the gloomy town:
The thunder crash’d across the heaven,
The fatal hour was come;
Yet aye broke in with muffled beat
The ’larum of the drum.
There was madness on the earth below
And anger in the sky,
And young and old, and rich and poor,
Came forth to see him die.

Ah, God ! that ghastly gibbet !
How dismal ’tis to see
The great tall spectral skeleton,
The ladder and the tree !
Hark ! hark ! it is the clash of arms ---
The bells begin to toll ---
“He is coming! he is coming!
God’s mercy on his soul !”
One last long peal of thunder:
The clouds are clear’d away,
And the glorious sun once more looks down
Amidst the dazzling day.

“He is coming ! he is coming !”
Like a bridegroom from his room,
Came the hero from his prison
To the scaffold and the doom.
There was glory on his forehead,
There was lustre in his eye,
And he never walk’d to battle
More proudly than to die:
There was color in his visage,
Though the cheeks of all were wan,
And they marvell’d as they saw him pass,
That great and goodly man !

He mounted up the scaffold,
And he turn’d him to the crowd;
But they dar’d not trust the people,
So he might not speak aloud.
But he look’d upon the heavens,
And they were clear and blue,
And in the liquid ether
The eye of God shone through;
Yet a black and murky battlement
Lay resting on the hill,
As though the thunder slept within ---
All else was calm and still.

The grim Geneva ministers
With anxious scowl drew near,
As you have seen the ravens flock
Around the dying deer.
He would not deign them word nor sign,
But alone he bent the knee;
And veiled his face for Christ's dear grace
Beneath the gallows-tree.
Then radiant and serene he rose,
And cast his cloak away:
For he had ta'en his latest look
Of earth, and sun, and day.

A beam of light fell o'er him,
Like a glory round the shriven,
And he climbed the lofty ladder
As it were the path to heaven.
Then came a flash from out the cloud,
And a stunning thunder roll,
And no man dared to look aloft,
For fear was on every soul.
There was another heavy sound,
A hush and then a groan;
And darkness swept across the sky ---
The work of death was done !

William Edmondstoune Aytoun : The Execution of Montrose


Descending Night Sculpture
Adolph Alexander Weinman --- Descending Night



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In The Mind Of Odin

In the ancient days there went three men upon pilgrimage; one was a priest, and one was a virtuous person, and the third was an old rover with his axe.
As they went, the priest spoke about the grounds of faith.
'We find the proofs of our religion in the works of nature,' said he, and beat his breast.
'That is true,' said the virtuous person.'The peacock has a scrannel voice,' said the priest, 'as has been laid down always in our books. How cheering !' he cried, in a voice like one that wept. 'How comforting !'
'I require no such proofs,' said the virtuous person.
'Then you have no reasonable faith,' said the priest.
'Great is the right, and shall prevail !' cried the virtuous person. 'There is loyalty in my soul; be sure, there is loyalty in the mind of Odin.'
'These are but playings upon words,' returned the priest. 'A sackful of such trash is nothing to the peacock.'
Just then they passed a country farm, where there was a peacock seated on a rail; and the bird opened its mouth and sang with the voice of a nightingale.
'Where are you now ?' asked the virtuous person. 'And yet this shakes not me ! Great is the truth, and shall prevail !'
'The devil fly away with that peacock !' said the priest; and he was downcast for a mile or two.
But presently they came to a shrine, where a Fakeer performed miracles.
'Ah !' said the priest, 'here are the true grounds of faith. The peacock was but an adminicle. This is the base of our religion.' And he beat upon his breast, and groaned like one with colic.
'Now to me,' said the virtuous person, 'all this is as little to the purpose as the peacock. I believe because I see the right is great and must prevail; and this Fakeer might carry on with his conjuring tricks till doomsday, and it would not play bluff upon a man like me.'
Now at this the Fakeer was so much incensed that his hand trembled; and, lo ! in the midst of a miracle the cards fell from up his sleeve.
'Where are you now ?' asked the virtuous person. 'And yet it shakes not me !'
'The devil fly away with the Fakeer !' cried the priest. 'I really do not see the good of going on with this pilgrimage.'
'Cheer up !' cried the virtuous person. 'Great is the right, and shall prevail !'
'If you are quite sure it will prevail,' says the priest.
'I pledge my word for that,' said the virtuous person.
So the other began to go on again with a better heart.
At last one came running, and told them all was lost: that the powers of darkness had besieged the Heavenly Mansions, that Odin was to die, and evil triumph.
'I have been grossly deceived,' cried the virtuous person.
'All is lost now,' said the priest.
'I wonder if it is too late to make it up with the devil ?' said the virtuous person.
'Oh, I hope not,' said the priest. 'And at any rate we can but try. But what are you doing with your axe ?' says he to the rover.
'I am off to die with Odin,' said the rover.

Robert Louis Stevenson : Faith, Half Faith, and No Faith At All

Wilhelm II - Channel Gates

Wilhelm II in Zeebrugge - 1918



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We Ourselves

If there is a dark and hostile power which traitorously fixes a thread in our hearts in order that, laying hold of it and drawing us by means of it along a dangerous road to ruin, which otherwise we should not have trod --- if, I say, there is such a power, it must assume within us a form like ourselves, nay, it must be ourselves; for only in that way can we believe in it, and only so understood do we yield to it so far that it is able to accomplish its secret purpose. So long as we have sufficient firmness, fortified by cheerfulness, to always acknowledge foreign hostile influences for what they really are, whilst we quietly pursue the path pointed out to us by both inclination and calling, then this mysterious power perishes in its futile struggles to attain the form which is to be the reflected image of ourselves. It is also certain, Lothair adds, that if we have once voluntarily given ourselves up to this dark physical power, it often reproduces within us the strange forms which the outer world throws in our way, so that thus it is we ourselves who engender within ourselves the spirit which by some remarkable delusion we imagine to speak in that outer form. It is the phantom of our own self whose intimate relationship with, and whose powerful influence upon our soul either plunges us into hell or elevates us to heaven.

E. T. A. Hoffmann : The Sandman

skel painting



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Tremble And Weep Not

at 2:10 amconditions (Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry)


It is midnight, my wedded;
Let us lie under
The tempest bright undreaded,
In the warm thunder:
( Tremble and weep not ! What can you fear ? )
My heart’s best wish is thine, ---
That thou wert white, and bedded
On the softest bier,
In the ghost’s moonshine.
Is that the wind ? No, no;
Only two devils, that blow
Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
In the ghosts’ moonshine.


Who is there, she said afraid, yet
Stirring and awaking
The poor old dead ? His spade, it
Is only making, ---
( Tremble and weep not ! What do you crave ? )
Where yonder grasses twine,
A pleasant bed, my maid, that
Children call a grave,
In the cold moonshine.
Is that the wind ? No, no;
Only two devils, that blow
Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
In the ghosts’ moonshine.


What doest thou strain above her
Lovely throat’s whiteness ?
A silken chain, to cover
Her bosom’s brightness?
( Tremble and weep not: what do you fear ? )
--- My blood is spilt like wine,
Thou hast strangled and slain me, lover,
Thou hast stabbed me, dear,
In the ghosts’ moonshine.
Is that the wind ? No, no;
Only her goblin doth blow
Through the murderer’s ribs to and fro,
In its own moonshine.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes : The Ghost's Moonshine


Madeline after Prayer
Daniel Maclise ---Madeline after Prayer



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That Was Quite Common In Those Days

I could not finish the book, and even the rather stagy film showed the good doctor to be modelled on the faint-hearted spirit of his creator --- only a fool provokes tyrants : only a craven fears them --- and yet... at school I whistled this theme each lunchtime. Unfortunately, whilst Cheltenham looks a bit better in places than most English towns, it didn't look anything like this...

Not that most ex-soviet housing areas do either.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
Lara's Theme



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Not Quite So Handsome

For sentimental reasons, the Lancastrian usurper PKing Henry V is somehow excused for ordering prisoners killed at Agincourt --- even in the following civil wars affecting parts of England during the rest of the century, caused by his verminous House's illegal seizure, this would only happen to prisoners of high enough status to merit expungement --- however, although England has actually had more monarchs who were usurping thieves than legitimate rulers, this little fellow may well be in the top three for unpleasantness: a snivelling pious puritan who majored in self-righteousness and slaughtered as freely as any serial killer for pointless aggrandizement.

Usually however it's considered a bêtise to slay the surrendered --- the Aussie furore on behalf of Breaker Morant and his mates being shot for so doing may be charitably ascribed to pitiful anti-Pom nationalism rather than condoning his shooting of captives.

After the invasion of Russia in 1941 the Germans, partially through luck and partially through skill were rewarded with hundreds of thousands of prisoners: partially through immediate inability and partially through ideological imperative a large proportion of the 5-6 million soviet POWs were starved to death in a crime worse than the labour-camps. This had a precedent ( apart from the fact that 85% of German POWs died in the camps that Stalin kept for his own people, and anyone else he could collect... ):

In the evening of the long day, as the imperial column was approaching Gzhatsk, we were surprised to find a number of dead Russians, still warm, on the road in front of us. We noticed that their heads had all been shattered in the same manner, and that their brains were scattered about. We knew that two thousand Russian prisoners had gone before us under the escort of Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish troops. Some of our generals greeted this with indifference, others with indignation, still others with approval.


...but the next day those murders had stopped. After that we simply let our un­fortunate prisoners die of hunger in the enclosures where we penned them up for the night, like cattle. This was doubtless an atrocity; but what were we to do ? Exchange them ? The enemy refused to consider it. Set them free ? They would have spread the news of our destitute condition far and wide, and soon would have joined up with others and returned to dog our steps. In this war to the death we should have sacrificed our­selves in letting them live. We were cruel by necessity. The evil lay in the fact that we had got ourselves in a position where we were faced with such a terrible alternative.

Count Philippe-Paul de Ségur : Napoleon's Russian Campaign


Maclise Elfin Knight
Daniel Maclise --- The Elfin Knight


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Beloved Of The Gods

at 12:45 amconditions (Literature, Other Writ, The King of Terrors)

Ken­na­ston stood by the couch of Tiberi­us Cæsar as he lay ill at Capreæ. Beside him hung a mem­or­able paint­ing, by Parrhasi­us, which rep­res­en­ted the vir­gin Atalanta in the act of accord­ing very curi­ous assuage­ments to her lover’s ardor. Charicles, a Greek phys­i­cian, was telling the Emper­or of a new reli­gious sect that had aris­en in Judea, and of the per­se­cu­tions these dis­ciples of Chris­tus were endur­ing. Old Cæsar listened, made grave cluck­ing noises of dis­ap­proval.

It is, instead, a reli­gion that should be fostered. The man preached peace. It is what my father before me stro­ve for, what I have striv­en for, what my suc­cessors must strive for. Peace alone may pre­serve Rome: the empire is too large, a bubble blown so big and tenu­ous that the first shock will dis­rupt it in suds. Pil­ate did well to cru­ci­fy the man, else we could not have made a God of him; but the per­se­cu­tion of these fol­low­ers of Chris­tus must cease. This Naz­arene preached the same doc­trine that I have always preached. I shall build him a tem­ple. The rumors con­cern­ing him lack nov­elty, it is true: this God born of a mor­tal woman is the old legend of Dionysos and Mith­ra and Her­cules, a little pulled about; Gautama also was temp­ted in a wil­der­ness; Pro­meth­eus served long ago as man’s scape­goat under divine anger; and the cult of Pol­lux and Castor, and of Adon­is, has made these resur­rec­tion stor­ies hack­neyed. In fine, Charicles, you have brought me a woe­fully inar­tist­ic jumble of old tales; but the popu­lace prefers old tales, they delight to be told what they have heard already. I shall cer­tainly build Chris­tus a tem­ple.”

So he ran on, devis­ing the recep­tion of Christ into the Roman pan­theon, as a minor deity at first, and thence, if the receipts at his tem­ple jus­ti­fied it, to be raised to great­er emin­ence. Tiberi­us saw large pos­sib­il­it­ies in the wor­ship of this new God, both from a doc­trin­al and a money-making stand­point. Then Cæsar yawned, and ordered that a com­pany of his Spin­triæ be summoned to his cham­ber, to amuse him with their unnat­ur­al diver­sions.

But Charicles had listened in hor­ror, for he was secretly a Chris­ti­an, and knew that the blood of the mar­tyrs is the seed of the church. He foresaw that, without salut­ary dis­cour­age­ment, the wor­ship of Chris­tus would nev­er amount to more than the social fad of a par­tic­u­lar sea­son, just as that of Cybele and that of Heliogabal­us had been mod­ish in dif­fer­ent years; and would after­ward dwindle, pre­cisely as these cults had done, into shrugged-at old-fashionedness. Then, was it not writ­ten that they only were assuredly blessed who were per­se­cuted for right­eous­ness’ sake ? — Why, mar­tyr­dom was the one cer­tain road to Heav­en; and a reli­gion which is pat­ron­ized by potentates, obvi­ously, breeds no mar­tyrs.

So Charicles mingled pois­on in Cæsar’s drink, that Cæsar might die, and crazed Caligu­la suc­ceed him, to put all Chris­ti­ans to the sword. And Charicles young Caius Cæsar Caligu­la — Child of the Camp, Father of Armies, Beloved of the Gods — killed first of all.

James Branch Cabell : The Cream of the Jest

Cat Healing Another Cat



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Prelude To Mayerling  —  Aged Six

He [ Crown Prince Rudolf ] was an intelligent child but delicate: an alarming bout of typhoid fever in December 1863 left him frail and in the following summer he suffered concussion after falling from a tree. In his seventh year he was removed from his Aja's keeping and assigned his first tutor, Major-General Ludwig von Gondrecourt, a bachelor of whose high moral principles the Archduchess warmly approved.

As a field commander in the Danish campaign Gondrecourt won a reputation for using shock tactics. These he now applied to his young charge, whom he convinced himself needed toughening up. On one wintry morning Rudolf was forced to drill in the snow long before dawn; and when Gondrecourt thought the boy unduly timid, blank cartridges were fired without warning in his room to test his reactions, an experiment which may have had disastrous psychological effects on the Crown Prince in later life. In the spring Rudolf was again seriously ill, probably with diptheria; Caroline von Welden personally begged the Emperor to curb the sadistic streak in his son's tutor, which she believed was weakening the boy's constitution. But the Emperor, who could remember his own Aja's affectionate interest in her boys once they left the nursery, played down her concern. Then, at last, Elizabeth intervened. She discovered that Gondrecourt had taken Rudolf to the Lainzer Tiergarten, an imperial game reserve a few miles from Schönbrunn. There Gondrecourt left the boy alone, behind a locked gate, and shouted at him 'Look out, a wild boar is coming !' --- at which warning the boy's nerves gave way.

Alan Palmer : Twilight of the Habsburgs


postcard Mayerling



Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.