Fading blooms in focus.
After fiddling about with the camera last night to finally and properly familiarise myself with its functions, I went over to school this morning to try and get a picture of the elusive pink blossom. It’s not elusive because there are few of them, but elusive because my attempts to get one in focus have generally failed miserably. But as you can see, I was more successful today, although the blossoms are already beginning to fade.
It was good practice in using the macro setting on the camera, although I see from some of the other shots that I took that I needed to increase the depth of field to get the whole object in focus. It’s hard to tell from the screen (whether you enlarge the picture or not) how the details have come out. I’ve been keeping the aperture open to keep the background blurred, but with macro shots where the subject has some depth, you need that little bit of extra background as well.
But during my roaming around the school, I went into the building where the lecture theatre is. There were some workers chiselling the tiles off the wall, but the gate to the rooftop garden was open and, having never been up there before, I went up. There were a few bonsai trees up there and, unexpectedly, a display of stuff animals in a case running along the inside of the parapet.
There was also another room up there which I thought was going to be for storage. Instead, it turned out to be a small science classroom which seemed very much like the Marie Celeste, with equipment sitting on the tables as if it’d been being used moments earlier.
After a week during which the weather can only be likened to violent ejections from the posterior of a cow, the sun is shining and the sky is blue, filtered through the usual haze of pollution.
The Floure and the Leafe.
While I was looking for a title for this entry, I stumbled across (but not upon ^_^) an online concordance to the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. I remember using the Chaucer Concordance when I did my MA and wrote an essay about Chaucer’s use of cas, aventure and fortune in Troilus and Criseyde. The title is line 186 from The Parlement of Fowles. That was one of the texts we had to read when I did Chaucer as part of my MA. The reading got to be mechanistic so that I could keep up. I think with Chaucer I had to read 150 lines a day; from Homer (either Iliad III or Odyssey IX; I forget which) I had to translate 30; and I forget how many I needed to do to complete Beowulf.
I’ve only ever read The Book of the Duchess or The Parlement of Fowles once and think there’s a good chance that I’ll never read them again. Long gone would seem to be the days when I might read something more than once because if I’m going to read something, I feel that my time is better spent on something that I haven’t read before.
One poem in imitation of Chaucer which I’ve never read is The Floure and the Leafe. I’ve had an edition of it for years (I think probably the text to which the link above takes you), but never tried reading it.
When that Phebus his chaire of gold so hie
Had whirled up the sterry sky aloft,
And in the Boole was entred certainly;
When shoures sweet of raine discended soft,
Causing the ground, fele times and oft,
Up for to give many an wholsome aire,
And every plaine was clothed faire
When Phoebus had whirled his hair of gold so high to the starry sky, and had definitely entered into the Sign of the Bull; when sweet showers of rain descended softly, causing the ground many times and often to produce a wholesome air, and every plain was beautifully clothed
With new greene, and maketh small flours
To springen here and there in field and in mede –
So very good and wholsome be the shoures
That it renueth that was old and deede
In winter time, and out of every seede
Springeth the hearbe, so that every wight
Of this season wexeth glad and light.
with new green, and causes small flowers to bloom here and there in fields and meadows – so very good and wholesome are the showers that they renew what was old and dead in winter time, and out of every seed springs a plant so that every being of this season grows glad and happy.
And I, so glad of the season swete,
Was happed thus upon a certaine night:
As I lay in my bed, sleepe ful unmete
Was unto me; but why that I ne might
Rest, I ne wist, for there nas earthly wight,
As I suppose, had more hearts ease
Then I, for I nad sicknesse nor disease.
And I, so glad of the sweet season, happened to be in this situation one night: as I lay in bed, it was very unlikely I was going to get to sleep; but why I couldn’t rest, I didn’t know, because there was no creature on earth, I suppose, who was more content than me because I had neither sickness or disease.
Wherefore I mervaile greatly of my selfe,
That I so long withouten sleepe lay;
And up I rose, three houres after twelfe,
About the springing of the day,
And on I put my geare and mine array,
And to a pleasaunt grove I gan passe,
Long or the bright sonne up risen was;
Because of which, I marvel greatly about myself that I lay so long without sleep; and up I got, three hours after twelve, about the springing of the day, and I put on my kit and clothes, and I went to a pleasant grove long before the bright sun had risen;
In which were okes great, streight as a line,
Under the which the grasse so fresh of hew
Was newly sprong; and an eight foot or nine
Every tree well fro his fellow grew,
With braunches brode, lade with leves new,
That sprongen out ayen the sonne shene,
Some very red and some a glad light grene;
in which there were great oaks, straight as a line, under which the grass, so fresh in hue, was newly sprung, and eight or nine feet apart from its neighbour grew every tree, with broad branches and laden with new leaves that sprang out towards the bright sunlight, some very red and some a pleasant light green
Which as me thought was right a plesaunt sight,
And eke the briddes song for to here
Would have rejoised any earthly wight.
And I, that couth not yet in no manere
Heare the nightingale of all the yere,
Full busily herkened with hart and with eare
If I her voice perceive coud any where.
which, as it seemed to me, was truly a pleasant sight, and also to hear the song of the birds would have gladdened any earthy creature. And I, who could not yet in any way hear the nightingale throughout the year, listened very attentively with my heart and ear to see if I could perceive her voice anywhere.
And so the poem goes.
18.06.13. Edited HTML, altered the layout of the poem, and added tags.