Archive for August, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday Sir Walter Scott!

Posted in Authors Birthdays, Inspiring poetry, POETS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by echostains

August 15th was  the birthday of Scottish poet, writer and playwright  (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) Scott was  a 1st Baronet who wrote poems and historical novels.  He has the distinction in being the first english language author to achieve international fame in his own lifetime. Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and the Lady of the Lake still remain classics both in English and Scottish literature.  

Sir Walter Scott by Rarburn

Privately educated, the young Scott  loved reading romantic adventure stories, history and travel books.  He began studying the Classics in 1783 at the age of 12 years old, becoming one of the youngest students to do so in Edinburgh University.   Lochinvar was a poem that my late father used to recite to me.  It is suitably romantic and Pre Raphealite like to appeal to a girl raised on fairy tales!    

The Knight Errant by Millias

Here it is read beautifully!

 Lochinvar
  O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he enter’d the Netherby Hall,
Among bride’s-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all:
Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
“O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”

“I long woo’d your daughter, my suit you denied; —
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide —
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”

The bride kiss’d the goblet: the knight took it up,
He quaff’d off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She look’d down to blush, and she look’d up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar, —
“Now tread we a measure!” said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a gailiard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whisper’d, “’twere better by far
To have match’d our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reach’d the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
“She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting ‘mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

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Thanks to  for the video

Image and more about this interesting poet and novelist here

Poem from Poemhunter

The Knight Errant by Millias image from here

Watched – Enid (Blyton)

Posted in Authors I've read, period drama, Watched it with tags , , , on August 12, 2011 by echostains
Bonham Carter as Enid Blyton

When I was a child, Enid Blyton was my favorite author. She was beloved of most children: a wonderful storyteller whose stories kept you entranced. But what was she like as a person? Helena Bonham Carter was, at first glance, a surprising choice, to play Blyton in this BBC 4 biopic, but – then so was Trevor Eve who played Hughie Green, in the last series and I thought he was absolutely great!

Enid Blyton

The young Enid gets into storytelling to distract her siblings from the furious arguments which are going on between their parents. Her father eventually leaves for another woman (or so her mother says, though all her life Enid won’t believe this). It is easy to see why Enid starts escaping into her own world. She leaves home as soon at the first opportunity (Enid never stops running all through her life). She trains to become a schoolteacher, though her real ambition is to be an author. Rejected many times, she keeps trying, until eventually a door opens. Not one to hang around, she marries her publisher.

the very famous Five books

Their early days seem idyllic. What a blow it must have been to her to be told she couldn’t have children.. But despite these problems, she does have a child (in fact two,) but motherhood does not come easily to her. She seems more work inspired, than nurturing. Time for a nanny. But although she is honest about her failings, she does have some odd ideas about how to handle week old babies….

Enid Blyton bedtime story book

It is strange the way Blyton is different with other children than her own, and a bit baffling really. She seems more relaxed whilst in the company of children she doesn’t know. To an extent, she seems to shun anything that doesn’t fit into her world of fiction, such as the War. It’s as if in her refusal to be distracted, it will just go away. When her husband starts drinking, she banishes him into the spare room!

Noddy a popular Blyton character

 

Blyton is the ultimate escapist, and does not like the banalities of motherhood: writing comes first. When Blyton finally comes to terms that we are at war, she contributes by digging for victory with her children and entertaining officers whilst her husband is away (escapism again). Eventually of course, she takes a lover ‘Uncle’ Kenneth Waters.

the magical land of Enid

The acting was really good and the attention to period detail wonderful. Bonham Carter makes a great Blyton, showing all her contradiction. She is both hardened and yet vulnerable in her reluctance to face reality. The way that Blyton deals with harsh reality is through her children’s tales, where a happy ending is assured and cake is distributed with lashings of Ginger Beer She has such a hard unfeeling edge to her to her personality though and is able to compartmentalise her life skillfully, dismissing her children. Poor Hugh (ex husband) gets the treatment time and time again, and very cruelly. It is incredulous the way that she can turn her back on anything she doesn’t want to deal with, including her mother and her siblings. A very complicated, emotionally damaged but talented person, whose end was indeed tragic.

Watch it HERE 

Poetry Challenge The Arnolfini Marriage

Posted in ALL MY POETRY CHALLENGES with tags , , , , on August 2, 2011 by echostains

It’s day 7 of the my person challenge to blog each day for a week on Bookstains.  As I haven’t put a poetry challenge on for a long time I thought that today was a good as time as any.  The Arnolfini Portrait is a very famous painting, painted on oak panel by Dutch artist Jan Van Eyck in 1434.  The painting is also known as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Double Portrait, The Arnoldfini Marriage and The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife. 

Giovanni Arnolfini is presumed to be an Italian merchant, posing with his wife at his house in Bruges.  The painting is considered to be one of  the most original and complex paintings and a lot of illusionist painting techniques were used in it.

The challenge is to write either a poem or a Haiku about the painting.  More detailed information can be found about this painting if you need inspiration

How to enter;-

1.  Write your poem and link it to Bookstains (and a mention).  You include the button if you want.  All poems are themed so make sure that your poem is appropriate  and make it CLEAR that  your poem is for The Bookstains  individual challenge if you are also entering it in a challenge elsewhere.

2.  In return for linking with me I will put your poem on Bookstains, mentioning your site and Tweeting your poem.  I will also promote your poem at the end of any post I write on my art based blog echostains.

The poems can be in any form including Haiku.  They can be as serious or as humorous as you like.  One liners won’t count 😀

The Arnolfini marriage  image here

A beautiful walk

Posted in Inspiring poetry with tags , , , , on August 1, 2011 by echostains

It’s day 6 in my personal challenge to blog every day for a week on Bookstains. 

I heard a song ages ago.  It was one of those songs which keep going round and round in your head, but try as you may, you just can’t see to remember where it came from!  I couldn’t even remember many of the words, which would have at least given me a clue.  All I had was the tune – and the words ‘walk’ and  ‘beauty’.  However Eureka!  Here’s where it’s from:-

She walks in beauty, like the night
        Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
        Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
        Which heaven to gaudy day denies. 
                                   

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
        Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
        Or softly lightens o’er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
        How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 
                                    

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
        So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
        But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
        A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

This is where I heard that tune that has been going round and round in my head –‘Vanity Fair’ a DVD which I watched ages ago.  The poem, written by Lord Byron was penned upon  see his cousin Lady Wilmot Horton in a mourning gown.  There are many YouTube versions of this poem and also narrations, but this one is the one that I originally heard.

Video from  with thanks

More beautiful poetry here 

Notes from the ‘The Life of Lord Byron’ by Thomas Moore 1835 here