Biography, Book Review, Literature, Poetry

Not A Book Review: William Blake Verus The World, by John Higgs

I can't review it, because I haven't read it yet.  But I'm charmed by a lengthy excerpt which the author himself has posted on Lapham's Quarterly. It's the story of an unlikely friendship that developed towards the end of Blake's life, and one which reminds me--as do so many biographies and vignettes of eighteenth century… Continue reading Not A Book Review: William Blake Verus The World, by John Higgs

Animals, Literature, Quote of the Day

“How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear!”

He has many friends, lay men and clerical, Old Foss is the name of his cat; His body is perfectly spherical, He weareth a runcible hat. One of the dearest friends of my childhood, Edward Lear, was born 210 years ago today, on May 12, 1812. Perhaps it’s because of him that I formed the… Continue reading “How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear!”

Life, Literature

Thoughts of Abroad, From Home

Oh, to be in England, Now that April’s there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England – now!! Perhaps it’s the fact that I'm still leery of… Continue reading Thoughts of Abroad, From Home

Beauty, Career, Computers, Feminism, History, Literature

The Analytical Engine: “Dad” Edition

“The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.”–Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace Augusta Ada Byron (she was the poet’s only legitimate child) was born a little over two-hundred-six years ago, on December 10, 1815.  She was a few weeks shy… Continue reading The Analytical Engine: “Dad” Edition

History, Literature, Quote of the Day, Religion

“Lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon”: The Eve of St. Agnes

Happy Eve of St. Agnes Day!  The sun has come up, the earth is still turning, and life goes on in these United States. Today is, according to legend, the 1718th anniversary of the eve of the martyrdom of St. Agnes of Rome, patron saint of young girls and defender of the chaste.  Brutally murdered… Continue reading “Lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon”: The Eve of St. Agnes

Life, Literature, Loss, Quote of the Day

Two from Tennyson

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier'--Alfred, Lord Tennyson Crimenutely. In my search for a suitable quote of the day for New Year's Eve, I stumbled over a little-known work (at least, I didn't know about it, which makes it little-known in my book) by Alfred, Lord… Continue reading Two from Tennyson

Farming, Friendship, Literature, Music

Ave Atque Vale, Thou Bleak Midwinter of My Discontent!

As some of you know, I’m British. And as such, I generally try to keep a pretty stiff upper lip about things. Not to whine unduly. And when I do whine, I try to whine directly at the person or people who are at the root of my dissatisfaction or unhappiness, or in the case… Continue reading Ave Atque Vale, Thou Bleak Midwinter of My Discontent!

Culture, Literature, Quote of the Day

“God bless us, every one!” (And a musical interlude)

See, this is why I like doing random research for Quote of the Day posts.  I can go out and do a bit of investigating (my family doesn’t call me the “data ferret” for nothing), and, willy-nilly, I nearly always find something that’s either appropriate for posting or which speaks to me in a personal… Continue reading “God bless us, every one!” (And a musical interlude)

History, Literature, War

“Theirs But To Do and Die”

Some things never change. On 25th October 1854, during the Battle of Balaclava, 670 British soldiers under the command of Lord Cardigan, launched an ill-fated attack upon a well-defended Russian artillery battery and sustained 40 percent casualties in the form of approximately 120 killed, and at least 160 wounded. Fifty were taken prisoner. Also killed… Continue reading “Theirs But To Do and Die”

Biography, Literature, Quote of the Day

Happy Birthday, James Thurber

Anyone who reads at all diversely during these bizarre 1920s cannot escape the conclusion that a number of crazy men and women are writing stuff which remarkably passes for important composition among certain persons who should know better--James Thurber on Gertrude Stein Bless. I don't know enough about Thurber to speculate on what he said,… Continue reading Happy Birthday, James Thurber