Monday, June 13, 2005

Merlin put his foot in it

Merlin (or should we say Gandalf, because I can't get Disney out of my head. Gandalf will suffice for the proper kind of wizard) really put his foot in it.

After a lengthy chat with Vivien still on Merlin's lap, playing with his beard, his wisdom overcomes his ardor, and he denounces her mentally for her trickery. She overhears the word 'harlot' on his breath and gives every impression of a noblewoman wrongfully accused. She calls on heaven to strike her with lightening if she has lied, and indeed, a bolt strikes a nearby oak tree. She flies into Merlin's arms begging him to save her, swearing her fealty. Merlin, half believing and weary gives in at last.

...And what should not have been had been,

For Merlin, overtalk'd and overworn,

Had yielded, told her all the charm, and slept.

Then in one moment, she put forth the charm

Of woven paces and of waving hands

And in that hollow he lay as one dead,

And lost to life and use and name and fame.

Then crying, "I have made his glory mine,"

And shrieking out, "O fool!" the harlot leapt

Adown the forest, and the thicket closed

Behind her, and the forest echo'd "fool."

Maybe I can't substitute Gandalf. He would never have fallen for it. At some point he would have said "Fool of a Took!" and thrown her down the nearest mineshaft. Besides, Merlin had a fatal weakness that Gandalf did not: he was human. Gandalf was something akin to an angel, or at least a principality.

Jill of all Trades

Jill of all Trades

I am on a roll decorating. I try to do one improvement to my rooms each evening, depending on what's lying around the store at any given time.

I've had my eye on an old brass chandelier, the type the go over a dining room table, for my room. Take off the lantern parts, I thought, and put a couple of decorative shades on it instead, and maybe loop a few strands of beads from the arms, and it might be pretty cute. And I can say that without emendation because I am referring to very girly things. And anything is better the fluorescent light.

First order of business; single handedly taking down the old fixture. No easy task when you have one stepladder, two arms, and the fixture is as long as you are tall. But I managed by opening the door and propping the end I'd already unscrewed. Getting the chandelier up while I fixed it to the hardware was much harder. As I screwed in one part, the other parts would unscrew, and I'd be back where I started. In the course of all the jiggling (wow, this has suddenly become very suggestive -- one two many viewings of Down with Love), one of the wires came untwisted, and I had to take it all down and rewire. Then I forgot to turn the electricity back off, and nearly electrocuted myself. Cool sparks though.

To my relief it was just a wiring glitch and I hadn't shorted out the entire fixture. Minus the proposed embellishments, it looks lovely.

Much better than fluorescent. I feel less green.

Merlin and Vivien

Merlin and Vivien

I'm skipping around in Idylls of the King and after a double dose of Jane Austen, it's almost shocking. The characters are lustier, less gentile, and nothing of the parlor about them.

Vivian attempts to undo Arthur's court by whispering rumors of Guinevere's infidelity. She then gains a new challenge -- conquering the old Merlin who would wish for love in his old age. Seeing the danger of her wiles he flees, and she follows. Her real aim is learning a spell he told her of which would trap whomever she wills into four wall of an enchanted tower, so he could see no one but her, and no one could rescue him.

There lay she all her length and kissed his feet,

As if in deepest reverence and in love...

..."O Merlin, do ye love me?" and again,

"O Merlin, do ye love me?" and once more,

"Great Master, do ye love me?" he was mute.

And lissome Vivien, holding by his heel,

Writhed toward him, slided up his knee and sat,

Behind his ankle twined her hollow feet

Together, curved an arm about his neck,

Clung like a snake; and letting her left hand

Droop from his mighty shoulder, as a leaf,

Made with her right a comb of pearl to part

The lists of such a beard as youth gone out

Had left in ashes... "I am silent then,

And ask no kiss;" then adding all at once,

"And lo, I clothe myself with wisdom," drew

The vast and shaggy mantle of his beard

Across her neck and bosom to her knee,

And called herself a gilded summer fly

Caught in a great old tyrant spider's web,

Who meant to eat her up in that wild wood

Without one word. So Vivien called herself,

But rather seemed a lovely baleful star

Veiled in gray vapour; till he sadly smiled:

"To what request for what strange boon," he said,

"Are these your pretty tricks and fooleries,

O Vivien, the preamble? yet my thanks,

For these have broken up my melancholy."

Try and reconcile this Merlin to the Disney one. Presta-digi-tonium indeed!

Lancelot and Elaine

Lancelot and Elaine

Lancelot came to the family at Astolat in order to borrow a shield so that he could go to Arthur's tournament without being known. Elaine falls in love with him and becomes the guardian of his shield, taking it into the tower. She also gives him her colors to wear at the tournament, which he has never allowed of any maiden before because he cannor wear the colors of his true love - Arthur's Guinevere. Elaine fancies that he loves her too, and after he falls wounded in the tournament, she cares for him until he is out of danger. Lancelot realizes that he could love Elaine for all her sweetness and lack of duplicity, but is bound by honor (of a sort) to stay true to Guinevere. Elaine's father asks Lancelot to be dicourteous to Elaine to try and break her attachment, since the whole kingdom knows the true state of affairs at Camelot, but Elaine is as wilful in her affections as in other things and dies of a broken heart. Her bier is placed on a wagon, and then a barge and floated into Camelot, bearing in her hand a letter to Lancelot declaring her feelings again, and asking Guinever and her ladies to pray for her soul.

"...And the sick man forgot her simple blush

Would call her friend and sister, sweet Elaine,

Would listen for her coming and regret

Her parting step, and held her tenderly,

And loved her with all love except the love

Of man and woman when they love their best,

Closest and sweetest, and had died the death

In any knightly fashion for her sake...."

"...But when Sir Lancelot's deadly hurt was whole,

To Astolat returning rode the three.

There morn by morn, arraying her sweet self

In that wherein she deem'd she look'd her best,

She came before Sir Lancelot, for she thought

'If I be loved, these are my festal robes,

If not, the victim's flowers before he fall.'"

"And Lancelot ever prest upon the maid

That she should ask some goodly gift of him

For her own self or hers; 'and do not shun

To speak the wish most near to your true heart;

Such service have ye done me, that I make

My will of yours, and Prince and Lord am I

In mine own land, and what I will I can.'

Then like a ghost she lifted up her face,

But like a ghost without the power to speak.

And Lancelot saw that she withheld her wish,

And bode among them yet a little space

Till he should learn it; and one morn it chanced

He found her in among the garden yews,

And said, 'Delay no longer, speak your wish,

Seeing I go to-day:' then out she brake:

'Going? and we shall never see you more.

And I must die for want of one bold word.'

'Speak: that I live to hear,' he said, 'is yours.'"

"Then suddenly and passionately she spoke:

'I have gone mad. I love you: let me die.'

'Ah, sister,' answer'd Lancelot, 'what is this?'

And innocently extending her white arms,

'Your love,' she said, 'your love--to be your wife.'

And Lancelot answer'd, 'Had I chosen to wed,

I had been wedded earlier, sweet Elaine:

But now there never will be wife of mine.'"

"'No, no,' she cried, 'I care not to be wife,

But to be with you still, to see your face,

To serve you, and to follow you thro' the world.'

And Lancelot answer'd, 'Nay, the world, the world,

All ear and eye, with such a stupid heart

To interpret ear and eye, and such a tongue

To blare its own interpretation--nay,

Full ill then should I quit your brother's love,

And your good father's kindness.'"

"And she said,
'Not to be with you, not to see your face--

Alas for me then, my good days are done.'

'Nay, noble maid,' he answer'd, 'ten times nay!

This is not love: but love's first flash in youth,

Most common: yea, I know it of mine own self:

And you yourself will smile at your own self

Hereafter, when you yield your flower of life

To one more fitly yours, not thrice your age:

And then will I, for true you are and sweet

Beyond mine old belief in womanhood,

More specially should your good knight be poor,

Endow you with broad land and territory

Even to the half my realm beyond the seas,

So that would make you happy; furthermore,

Ev'n to the death, as tho' ye were my blood,

In all your quarrels will I be your knight.

This will I do, dear damsel, for your sake,

And more than this I cannot.' ..."

"...To whom the gentle sister made reply,

'Fret not yourself, dear brother, nor be wroth,

Seeing it is no more Sir Lancelot's fault

Not to love me, than it is mine to love

Him of all men who seems to me the highest.'..."

"... Then spake the lily maid of Astolat:

'Sweet father, all too faint and sick am I

For anger: these are slanders: never yet

Was noble man but made ignoble talk.

He makes no friend who never made a foe.

But now it is my glory to have loved

One peerless, without stain: so let me pass,

My father, howsoe'er I seem to you,

Not all unhappy, having loved God's best

And greatest, tho' my love had no return.'..."

Idylls of the King
Alfred Lord Tennyson
(Elaine and the Lady of Shalott are different versions of the same person. Which explains why Anne changes from the Funeral of Elaine to quoting The Lady of Shalott.)

Seen While Driving

Seen While Driving:

Bikini Wax 25% off.

25% off of what exactly?