Saturday, 3 January 2015

Thy dawn, o Master of the World, thy dawn...

A new year has started and it has been a considerable number of months, despite my promises to myself to re-start my writings, since I last wrote anything, never mind anything of any thought, length or substance. So here we are, 2015 has begun, the dawn of a new year and I am sitting here listening to Jim Morrison intoning his "waiting for the sun" - an apt metaphor for (hopefully!) a new and positive year after 2014, a year of mixed blessings and curses in perhaps uneven measure.

I have chosen to open this entry with the lines uttered by Diana Rigg (as Contessa Teresa - the doomed wife of James Bond) to Telly Savalas (a subdued Ernst Stavro Blofeld) in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  I recall teaching myself the little poem by watching the video cassette I had of the film (taped off TV) and writing down the words, and narrating them to them myself and then attempting to recite them in sink with Miss Rigg.  Other poems I tried to learn from this time included various sonnets by Shakespeare, 'Kubla Khan' by Coleridge and 'The Listeners' by Walter de la Mare.  As well as various other bits and pieces along the way as well as various pop songs. So perhaps, owing to the music I am listening to, etc I am enjoying something of a nostalgic trip to my late, post school teens.

For those uninitiated, the poem in full (and taken from an adapted version of 'The Caliph's Dawn) runs as follows:

Thy dawn, O Master of the World, thy dawn;
For thee the sunlight creeps across the lawn,
For thee the ships are drawn down to the waves,
For thee the markets throng with myriad slaves,
For thee the hammer on the anvil rings,
For thee the poet of beguilement sings.

Diana Rigg in OHMSS - looking at her best (!)
 One of the most positive things to come out of 2014 was to be able to add to my library of books. A haunt I enjoy frequenting is Any Amount of Books, one of the best and few surviving second hand bookshops in London. An unexpected treasure I found there was a library of books on illuminated manuscripts which included a number of facsimile editions released in the 1970s by Thames and Hudson, and the American publisher, George Braziller.  I confess to having paid five separate visits to AAoB over a fortnight and I came out with a few more editions each time.  By the time I had exhausted the shelves of any books that looked interesting, leaving behind some old tatty editions, I had nearly a yard of books on illumination, as well as a few other goodies including a copy of 'Venetian Colour: Marble, Mosaic, Painting, and Glass: 1250-1550' by Paul Hills, which was roughly the same price on Amazon Marketplace in reasonable condition, as I had paid for a nice copy and most all the illuminated manuscript books.  Over the year I have also managed to pick various other books, and add to my repertoire of interests within the Mediaeval and Renaissance period, including various collection catalogues, some monographs, and some difficult to find books at good prices. The last find of 2014 was Peter Humfrey's 'The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice'. Here's hoping 2015 inspires a similar sense of bibliophilic inspiration (and location).

More later...and soon.

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