Cream Teas


  

A plumber did my leakage seal;
I had no other fears:
It seemed a wound no one could heal
Not in a thousand years.

Its pressure showed impressive force;
I dreamt of mighty seas;
My house was floating on a course,
Rock-cakes, scones and cream teas.

With apologies to Wordsworth 
A slumber did my spirit seal...
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Based on the last of Wordsworth's Lucy poems. It's thought that 'Lucy' was more an imagined, literary devise for the poet's meditation and reflection, rather than an actual English girl who died young. Wordsworth himself considered them as 'experimental'.  
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Parody and Photo montage © Mirino (PW) February, 2012

Henry Ossawa Tanner



American Artist friends recently asked if I had heard of Henry Ossawa Tanner. I hadn't, but curious to know more I quickly discovered a very fine artist.
From what I learnt it's apparent that the most determining move that Henry Tanner made was to leave the USA for Europe in order to develop his work unhindered by the US racial pressures and restrictions of his epoch. In fact before he left the USA for Europe he stated, "I cannot fight prejudice and paint".
Henry Ossawa Tanner was to become a unique reference, winning international esteem as a highly competent artist by the turn of the century.

Sarah Tanner, a former slave, gave birth to Henry in Pittsburgh (1859). His father, Reverend Benjamin Tucker Tanner, was a reputable intellectual of the 19th century Afro-American community. Bishop Tanner was the principal of the AME Conference School for Freedman in Frederick as well as the pastor for the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore.

When the family moved to Philadelphia, Henry was to become the pupil of the American artist, Thomas Eakins, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He was in fact the first full time Afro-American student at the Academy. It's interesting to note that Eakins also introduced Tanner to photography. This also shows in his work in a very mature way. Indeed Tanner began his professional career by setting up a studio of photography in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as teaching drawing at Clark University. It was during his travels in North Carolina that he made sketches and photographs of poor, rural Afro-Americans. From this visual reference he was later able to produce works such as The Banjo Lesson (completed in 1893).


As with the case of The Banjo Lesson, Tanner's works were carried out later from such photo reference, perhaps colour notes and visual memory. What seems apparent in Tanner's work is his awareness of photo-distortion. At a period when photography must have had such an impact, was perhaps still naively considered the reflection of reality, and was even thought by some to herald the end of certain visual arts, it's much to Tanner's credit that he never allowed photography to dominate his work. For him it was a tool, a means to an end, which considering how revolutionary photography must then have been, shows how positively ahead of his time, and how great a visionary artist Tanner was.
This recollection he made in 1909 would support the assumption that he had an excellent visual memory :  "After school, I would often go down on Chestnut Street, to see the pictures in Earle's Galleries. After drinking my fill of these art wonders, l would hurry home and paint what I had seen, and what fun it was."

He left the USA for Paris in 1891 and studied under Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant and Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian from 1892. A year later however, he was stricken with typhoid fever and had to return to the States. After fully recovering he was able to return to Paris In 1894. From then on he exhibited almost annually at the French Salon.


His father's religious influence would also have contributed in deciding Tanner to travel to Egypt, Palestine and Italy, (1896) and to begin producing the religious subjects and oriental scenes for which he is also known.

 
One of his large biblical scenes, The Resurrection of Lazarus, was bought for the national collection of France by the Musée du Luxembourg, a great honour indeed for an American artist. In fact Tanner became a model for future generations of American artists, and certainly for Afro-American artists.


In 1899 Tanner married a white singer from San Francisco. Jessie Macauley Olssen had also been his model for The Annunciation (1898). After their marriage in London they settled in France where their son Jesse was born.

The First World War must have had a terribly negative effect on Tanner. As he drove an ambulance for a period during those atrocious years in France, he would have been among the first to witness the horrific physical ravage caused by machine gun fire, mustard-gas and heavy artillery.

In spite of the war he deservedly gained international recognition. This was superbly demonstrated by his being awarded the highly coveted Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1923 by the French government.


Two years later however, he was to experience the sadness of losing his wife who apparently died in her sleep. This contributed to his son suffering from a nervous breakdown.
The economic depression, health problems and the new wave exigencies of 'modern art' in Europe and the USA further discouraged him from continuing to paint.
He died peacefully on May 25, 1937 in his home in Paris at the age of seventy-eight.
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Text © Mirino, from various sources. Paintings from top to bottom: Salome ca. 1900. The Banjo Lesson 1893, The Arch ca. 1914 Brooklyn Museum, The Resurrection of Lazarus 1896, The Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water ca. 1907, Des Moines Art Centre Permanent Collections. (All oil on canvas). With thanks also to Wikimedia Commons. February, 2012

Polarité évolutive



J'ai déjà fait allusion à la Polarity, et comme ce phénomène est aussi en constante évolution. C'est un sujet qui m'a toujours fasciné. La polarité physique et mentale intrinsèque à la nature, à la vie, et aux mouvements planétaires de l'univers. La polarité du raisonnement, de l'intellect; la polarité métaphysique et religieuse. L'idée fondamentale que rien ne peut exister ou avoir un sens réel sans l'existence de son opposé.

Cet équilibre essentiel à la nature a sa propre continuité évolutive. Souvent nos enfants rejettent nos valeurs, par exemple. Parfois sinon toujours ils doivent le faire, pour développer les leurs, et ainsi va l'évolution, même si ça peut aussi provoquer irrévocablement une répétition variable (évolutive) de l'histoire.

Nous entendons prononcer assez souvent en France le mot égalité. Mais la réalisation de cet idéal nous échappera toujours, car elle est naturellement irréalisable. D'ailleurs si tout le monde était pauvre, il y aurait de l'égalité, mais aucun espoir, aucun futur. Si tout le monde était riche, il y aurait de l'égalité, mais aucun espoir, aucun futur, aucune incitation d'aller au delà, de se surpasser. Le monde serait banal, invariable, stérile. Car tout est relatif. L'égalité est un idéal louable en théorie, un principe nécessaire en termes de justice, et d'opportunités scolaires, ou appropriée comme partie d'une devise, mais autrement elle est carrément contre nature. De même que la nature ne reconnaît pas le hasard, elle ne peut jamais faire en sorte, n'en déplaise à l'homme, que l'égalité règne. Nous sommes donc ce que nous sommes, selon ses lois, ses dons et selon les circonstances, et aussi selon nos propres qualités, capacités, nos expériences, et notre volonté déterminées par notre propre caractère. L'égalité se condense uniquement au fait que la nature nous accorde le cadeau précieux de la vie elle-même.

Dans ce monde qui semble se réduire au fur et à mesure que la communication et la facilité avec laquelle on peut voyager s'améliorent, il y a forcément une accélération d'évolution sociale et économique. Les vieilles idéologies de gauche et de droite, par exemple, bien qu'essentiellement fondées dans les histoires des parlements des démocraties mondiaux, et donc le raisonnement intellectuel de l'esprit politique, ont moins de raison d'être dans un monde moderne où elles semblent être destinées à devenir quasi obsolètes. Ceci à cause des circonstances et des contraintes sociales et économiques aussi externes qu'internes. Dans le monde d'aujourd'hui, les nations démocratiques ne sont plus les îlots où on peut continuer inlassablement à basculer politiquement à gauche et à droite selon nos idées parfois erronées des besoins.

Quand la gauche est contrainte de relancer l'économie, ou la droite est contrainte d'appliquer davantage de 'justice sociale', ne peut-on affirmer que l'importance de la tendance politique a nettement diminuée? Dans ce cas le critère d'aujourd'hui consiste de la personnalité du chef d'Etat, sa volonté, ses capacités, son intégrité et sa stature, et non sa couleur politique.
La situation économique et sociale mondiale nous empêche de retourner au passé. Fermer les yeux sur les réalités du monde en essayant d'appliquer des idéologies dépassées et donc inadéquates serait fatal. Les enjeux ne le permettent plus. Ils exigent tout simplement la meilleure méthode possible, la meilleure solution, le meilleur choix- qui n'ont plus rien à voir avec l'idéologie classique de gauche ou de droite.

Nous étions tous réveillés brutalement par les conséquences de la crise et par le fait que ce qui n'est pas bon pour les Etats Unis, n'est pas bon pour l'Europe, et par extension pour le monde entier. Nous commençons alors à apprécier à quel point les nations et continents du monde sont liés. Mais les vieilles habitudes meurent difficilement. Si les nations européennes commencent à peine à réaliser ceci par nécessité, il est moins évident ailleurs où l'évolution sociale a été freinée par la tyrannie lamentablement dépassée, ou par les vieux vestiges du communisme, et par la régression provoquée par le fanatisme religieux.

L'objectif isolationniste de monopoliser est aussi voué à un échec éventuel, car la nation qui en profite sinon en abuse, doit toujours compter sur ses clients. S'il s'agit d'un pouvoir d'énergie, par exemple, il ne peut que durer tant qu'il y a une demande, tant que les clients n'ont pas trouvé leurs propres ressources ou une substitution d'énergie renouvelable, et tant que subsistent de telles ressources naturelles.

Nous revenons donc toujours à la nature, car c'est toujours elle qui gouverne et qui tranche finalement. L'enjeu nouveau de l'Europe a donc bouleversé nos valeurs traditionnelles. Dans la zone euro un pays ne peut plus jouer sur ses taux d'intérêts nationaux selon ses propres besoins ou faiblesses économiques. La concurrence est donc plus directe que jamais. Plus que jamais elle fait partie de la richesse de l'Europe qui déterminera obligatoirement l'excellence des produits européens.

Sans les entreprises compétitives et donc performantes, un pays européen ne peut plus survivre. Ce ne sont plus les mesures sociales ou les menaces des syndicats qui peuvent changer ce fait. Ces vieilles réactions classiques ne peuvent que rendre pires de telles situations.
Mais les idées et la philosophie d'Adam Smith sont toujours aussi valables et applicables sur la scène européenne et mondiale, qu'elles le sont sur la scène nationale. Le principe sous les auspices moraux reste inchangé.

Inutile à ajouter que sans les entreprises compétitives et performantes il y a moins de revenus et davantage de chômage, ce qui compromet tous les projets d'amélioration de la fonction publique et bien entendu de la mythique justice sociale.
Il est donc primordial d'inciter les entreprises à faire face au défi pour être parmi les meilleures en Europe selon leurs spécialités.

Ce mois ci, pendant son discours annuel à l'Assemblée générale du MEDEF, Laurence Parisot, femme compétente et intelligente, a prononcé deux phrases signifiantes : "L'Europe est la première puissance commerciale du monde." et : "Le protectionnisme serait désastreux."
En effet ceux qui songent à pratiquer le protectionnisme se retrancheraient dans un mythe du passé évitant d'assumer leurs responsabilités et de faire face au nouveau défi mondial.

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Text and image © Mirino. February, 2012

Queen Elizabeth



Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603) was the source of inspiration and the subject of innumerable works or art, poems and dedications during and beyond what is considered as the richest era of English literature. As queen she was also the historic proof of her father's misconception : the primordial importance of a son and heir to the throne of England.

However, as this served also as the necessary reason for the king to divorce from Roman Catholicism, Henry VIII unwittingly accelerated the process that would end monarchial absolutism, and gradually create the freedom which led to the establishment of parliament and modern democracy sooner in England than anywhere else in the world.

Queen Elizabeth was a skilful political ruler and a highly educated woman. Considerably versed in Latin and Greek, she was tutored mainly by Roger Ascham, but other humanist scholars also assisted in her education.

She, unlike some of our present day heads of State, wrote her own speeches. She made several poetic translations from Petrarch, Seneca, Horace; prose translations from Boethius, Plutarch, and Queen Margaret of Navarre, the French Protestant. She also wrote her own poems that mostly dealt with the events of her personal and public life.

The three examples below illustrate this very well.
Her speech to the troops is especially moving. This address alone raises her as an English monarch, to immortal heights.


The Doubt of Future Foes°  (ca. 1568)      

The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy¹
For falsehood now doth flow, and subject faith doth ebb,²
Which would not be, if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of toys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent, by course of change winds.³
The top of hope supposed, the root of ruth will be,
And fruitless all their graffèd guiles, as shortly ye shall see.°
The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The daughter of debate, that eke¹ discord doth sow
Shall reap no gain where former rule hath taught still² peace to grow.
No foreign banished wight³ shall anchor in this port,
Our realm it brooks no stranger's force, let them elsewhere resort.
Our rusty sword with rest,° shall first his edge employ
To poll¹ their tops that seek such change and gape for joy.

° Concerns Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland, Elizabeth's Roman Catholic cousin, the subject of many conspiracies against the queen.   
¹ Menace (annoy)
² The tide of faith that ebbs giving way to the rising tide of falshood.
³ Undetected tricks that will turn to rain of repentance.
° Deceptions that will come to nothing (fruitless).
¹ 'Also.' Mary was also known as the 'Mother of Debate' because she inspired conspiracy.
² Stable. Former rule being stable.
³ Person.
° Rusty from disuse.
¹ Decapitate.


           On Monsieur's Departure°

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.¹
   I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
   Since from myself another self I turned.

My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done²
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.³
   No means I find to rid him from my breast,
   Till by the end of things it be suppressed.

Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
  Or let me live with some more sweet content,
  Or die and forget what love ere meant.

° The end of marriage negotiations between Elizabeth and the French duke of Anjou (1582).
¹ Chatter.
² Imitates me.
³ My sorrow and regret (rue) that he caused.


Speech to the Troops at Tilbury°  (1588)

My loving people,
  We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our¹ safety, to take heed how we commit our selves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear, I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too,² and think foul scorn that Parma³ or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field, I know already, for your forwardness you have deserved rewards and crowns;° and We do assure you in the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general¹ shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject; not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.

° Address to the land forces at Tilbury, Essex, who were to counter the invasion of the Spanish Armada sent by Philip II. The Armada never reached England due to storms. This was generally regarded as a God sent miracle, a divine favour to Elizabeth and to England.
¹ Concerned about.
² The two bodies, one being mortal, the other the ideal monarchial concept.
³ The Duke of Parma (Alexander Famese) who made an alliance with the king of Spain and was also expected to invade England with the Spaniards.
° English coins.
¹ The Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, leader of the queen's forces. He was a favourite courtier of the queen, and there were rumours at one time that he was her lover and a possible choice of future husband.


 
Introductory text © Mirino. Source- Norton Anthology English Literature, volume 1. With thanks. Top image- the Darnley portrait of Elizabeth I of England ca. 1575 (oil on panel 113 x 78.7 cm) National Portrait Gallery, London. 2nd image- 'The Ermine Portrait' painted in 1585 by Nicholas Hillard (collection of the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House). Lower image- Signature of the queen. (With thanks to Wikimedia). February, 2012

Hilda Prune

                   
 

                       Hilda Prune had a broom                        
Upon which she could fly,
 But she used it most for sweeping,
For the broom flew too high

Yet one day in autumn
                             When the house-work was done,                          
   She mounted upon the broom-stick
Perhaps to have some fun

Once around the house they flew
Then much to her surprise,
  The broom flew out of the window,
In spite of all her cries

Up above the tree-tops
 And fields and seas they flew,
All the way to Russia,
And Madagascar too

Hilda Prune was very cross,
Yet borne home in a flash,
 They flew straight down the chimney-pot
And landed in the ash. 

1975
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Doggerel and illustration © Mirino (PW) February, 2012

Scottish myths 12


The Stone of Destiny

The old Coronation Stone of Scone (referred to in Scottish myths 10) was last used in Scotland in 1292 for the coronation of John Balliol as king of the Scots. The English King, Edward I, known as the hammer of the Scots, (and persecutor of the Scottish hero William Wallace) invaded Scotland in 1296. Amongst other treasures he took the Stone which he considered was too strong a symbol of Scottish sovereignty. Perhaps he thought it held some power that could be put to better use in England. In any case it was decided that it should be taken to Westminster Abbey.
The famous Coronation Chair of Edward I was thus made, also in order that the Stone of Destiny be lodged beneath the seat of the throne. 

Although later in the 14th century King Edward III of England promised to return the Stone after the treaty of Northampton was established in 1328, the promise was never fulfilled.
British Prime Minister John Major, with the approval of Queen Elizabeth II, arranged that the Stone be finally returned on November 15th, 1996,  700 years later.

There are several legends however, which question the authenticity of the Stone. Some say it never left Ireland. Others say that it was originally white marble, beautifully carved with decorative figures. To further complicate the issue, copies have been made throughout the ages. Perhaps the most favourite Scottish allegation was that in the first place, Edward I triumphantly hauled away a fake.

I recently came across a story supporting this claim in Collins' A Book of Scotland, published in 1950. As such it seems a fitting addition to Scottish myths.

Ironically it could even be that the English accorded even more importance to the Stone than the Scots. Hence its being proudly retained and used for 700 years as part of the Coronation Chair of King Edward I.
As mentioned previously, the Stone of Destiny is an oblong block of red sandstone, weighing 152 kg. It measures 26 inches by 16 inches and is 10.5 inches deep. Chisel marks are still apparent on the flat top of the stone.

Tradition has it that the same Stone was the pillow of Jacob at Bethel. It was then presented as a pillar and anointed with oil. Jewish tradition then affirms that it became the pedestal of the ark in the Temple. The Stone was transported from Syria to Egypt by Gathelus, who following the advice of Moses who warned him of the plague and advised him to sail from the Nile (with his wife as well as the Stone) to Spain. Gathelus brought the Stone to Ireland after having invaded the country. It was later brought to the Abbey of Scone in Scotland where it was used for coronations of the 'Kings of Alba' and kept there until 1296, the year of England's invasion and the stone's confiscation by Edward I, and the British monarchy for 700 years.

According to the Earl of Mansfield whose family were the owners of the lands of Scone for more than three hundred years, the traditional belief for several generations was that between 1795 and 1820 a young farm labourer had been exploring with his friend in the region of Dunsinnan, where the site of Macbeth's castle was. There had been a violent storm, and the deluge had caused a landslide which revealed a deep fissure in the hillside. On seeing this the two youths managed to make torches they lit, in order to be able to explore the cave further.
They eventually came to the remains of a wall of an underground chamber. There was a stone stairway in one corner blocked by a mass of roots and debris, but in the centre of the chamber they came across an oblong stone covered with hieroglyphs. It was supported by four small pillars of stone.

Because there were no treasure chests or bejewelled medieval arms, the young men never realised the importance of their discovery. If they mentioned it at all, those they spoke to must have been just as unimpressed.
Years later however, one of them learnt of the story of the monks hiding the real Stone of Destiny and substituting it with another similar sized slab of stone found in the Annety Burn that Edward I jubilantly carried away. It then dawned on him the enormous importance of the discovery he had made with his friend.

As soon as he realised this he returned to Dunsinnan HIll, but perhaps the passage of time hindered his memory, or maybe there had been further land-slides that had changed the landscape and hidden the cavity. Whatever the cause, he never succeeded in finding the hillside opening again.

The obvious question was, why did the monks of Scone never return the 'real' Stone of Destiny to the abbey? But tradition explains that the risk of allowing the English to know that they had been tricked was considered far to great. Retribution was then cruel and enduring.
Naturally the secret of the monks was handed down, but landslides of circumstances somehow caused it to be eventually buried along with them all for posterity.

Nevertheless the story and tradition would also explain why the Coronation Stone, avidly held in Westminster Abbey for 700 years, is geologically similar to the stone one commonly finds in the region of Scone..
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Scottish myths 13
Scottish myths 11

Forward and retelling © Mirino. Source- A Book of Scotland. Collins. Image- the Coronation chair of King Edward I (unknown photographer). With thanks. February, 2012

Emilina

 


Old Emilina Hedgehog
Likes to hibernate
And makes her preparations
Well before the date
With clean sheets, pillow-slips
And patch-work eiderdown;
Books to read by candle-light,
A pink dressing-gown;
Slippers on the carpet
Some matches in the drawer,
Pince-nez, night-cap
Cosy and secure. 

*
 
La vieille Emilina, le hérisson
Aime hiverner,
Elle est donc toute préparée
Pour la fin de l'année;
Des draps propres, taies d'oreiller,
Une patchwork comme couverture;
Des bouquins à lire, des bougies,
Son bonnet en soie pure;
Des allumettes dans le tiroir,
Les pantoufles près du lit,
Son pince-nez, sa robe de chambre
Tout douillet et à l'abri.
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Poems and image © Mirino (PW) February, 2012

The Wanderer


















Preserved in the Exeter Book, The Wanderer is a manuscript copied approximately in 975. It figures amongst the largest surviving collection of Old English Poetry.
It's a lament on the loss of companions in arms, of a lord- perhaps one such as the legendary Beowulf, and of a 'mead hall', lieu so important to ancient Anglo-Saxon life.

It consists of a soliloquy of an exile, of what hard experience has taught him, and the apparent wisdom, such as- a man must never utter too quickly his breast's passion, unless he knows first how to achieve remedy, as a leader with his courage.
This apparent wisdom, recorded from ancient manuscripts written long before they were copied in the year 975, contrasts revealingly with the pompous presumptuousness of certain political pretenders today.

The mention of ash spears, greedy for slaughter,  reminds one of phrases from Homer's Iliad, despite the immense passage of time (1775 years) between the written creation of the Iliad and this, equally elegiacal example of Old English poetry.
Here is the second half of the prose, when the earth-walker recalls the memories of his kinsmen and warrior companions, who then fade away like spirits in the mist above the waters.
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'(...)Then the wounds are deeper in his heart, sore for want of his dear one. His sorrow renews as the memory of his kinsmen moves through his mind: he greets them with glad words, eagerly looks at them, a company of warriors. Again they fade, moving off over the water; the spirit of these fleeting ones brings to him no familiar voices. Care renews in him who must again and again send his weary heart out over the woven waves.
"Therefore I cannot think why the thoughts of my heart should not grow dark when I consider all the life of men through this world- with what terrible swiftness they forgo the hall-floor, bold young retainers. So this middle-earth each day fails and falls. No man may indeed become wise before he has had his share of winters in this world's kingdom. The wise man must be patient, must never be too hot-hearted, nor too hasty of speech, nor too fearful, nor too glad, nor too greedy for wealth, nor ever too eager to boast before he has thought clearly. A man must wait, when he speaks in boast, until he knows clearly, sure-minded, where the thoughts of his heart may turn.
The wise warrior must consider how ghostly it will be when all the wealth of this world stands waste, just as now here and there through this middle-earth wind-blown walls stand covered with frost-fall, storm-beaten dwellings. Wine-halls totter, the lord lies bereft of joy, all the company has fallen, bold men beside the wall. War took away some, bore them forth on their way; a bird carried one away over the deep sea, a wolf shared one with Death; another a man sad of face hid in an earth-pit.
So the Maker of mankind laid waste this dwelling-place until the old works of giants° stood idle, devoid of the noise of the stronghold's keepers. Therefore the man wise in his heart considers carefully this wall-place and this dark life, remembers the multitude of deadly combats long ago, and speaks these words:
'Where has the horse gone? Where the young warrior? Where is the giver of treasure? What has become of the feasting seats? Where are the joys of the hall? Alas, the bight cup! Alas, the mailed warrior! Alas, the prince's glory! How that time has gone, vanished beneath night's cover, just as if it never had been! The wall, wondrous high, decorated with snake-likenesses, stands now over traces of the beloved company. The ash-spears' might has borne the earls away- weapons greedy for slaughter, Fate the mighty; and storms beat on the stone walls, snow, the herald of winter, falling thick binds the earth when darkness comes and the night-shadow falls, sends harsh hailstones from the north in hatred of men. All the earth's kingdom is wretched, the world beneath the skies is changed by the work of the fates. Here wealth is fleeting, here friend is fleeting, here man is fleeting, here woman is fleeting- all this earthly habitation shall be emptied.' "
So spoke the man wise in heart, sat apart in private meditation. He is good who keeps his word; a man must never utter too quickly his breast's passion, unless he knows first how to achieve the remedy, as a leader with his courage. It will be well with him who seeks favour, comfort from his Father in heaven, where for us all stability resides.' 
°This probably refers to Roman ruins.


Intro text, top backround image and lower vignette © Mirino. Text from The Wanderer from The Norton Anthology English Literature, Volume 1. Superimposed character from Beowulf (Paramount Pictures). With many thanks. Photo-montage by Mirino. February, 2012