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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

DON'T MISS!
PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Shakespeare
.



London
The Biography

Hardcover
By Peter Ackroyd




Quote:
The first evidence of gambling in London can be adduced from the Roman period, with the excavation of dice carved out of bone or jet. The unexpected turns of life, as then experienced, are also revealed in the elaborate equipment of a fortune-teller found beneath Newgate Street. In the early medieval period Hazard was played in taverns and other low houses, together with another dice game known as Tables. In medieval brothels, too, gambling and drinking were part of the service. Quarrels over a game were sometimes fatal and, after one round of Tables, 'the loser fatally stabbed the winner on the way home'. There was plentiful scope for fraud, also, and there are reports of the gaming was everywhere. An excavation in Duke's Palace revealed 'a piece of medieval roof-tile shaped into a gaming counter', according to a report in The London Archaelogist, and as early as the thirteenth century, there were rules in Westminster for the punishment of any schoolboy found with dice in his possession. A stroke of the rod was delivered for every 'pip' on the dice.

Playing cards were imported into London in the fifteenth century, and their use became so widespread that in 1495 Henry VII 'forbad their use to servants and apprentices except during the Christmas holidays.' Stow records that 'From All hallows Eve to the day following Candlemas-day there was, among other sports, playing at cards, for counters, nails and points, in every house'. They were found in every tavern, too: packs of cards had the names of various inns imprinted upon them. Their merits were widely advertised. 'Spanish cards lately brought from Vigo. Being pleasant to the eye by their curious colours and quite different from ours may be had at 1/- [one shilling] a pack at Mrs Baldwin's in Warwick Lane.' The business in cards became so mid-seventeenth century an annual income of five thousand pounds which meant that 'some 4.8 million packs of cards' must have been traded.

Fulham earned a reputation as early as the sixteenth century for its dubious traffic in dice and counters; it is evoked by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor, where

For gourd and fullam holds
And 'high' and 'low' beguile the rich and poor.

A fullam in this context was a loaded die...

... Gaming was declared illegal but, despite nightly raids upon certain selected hells in the city, it continued to flourish. There was always 'assembled a mixed crowd of gentlemen, merchants, tradesmen, clerks and sharpers of all degrees and conditions', ready to play at Hazard, Faro, Basset, Roly-poly and a score of other games involving dice and cards. Into these hells came the puffs, the flashers, the squibs, the dunners, the flash captains with a regiment of spies, porters and runners to give notice of approaching constables. At Almacks, a famous gaming club in Pall Mall, the players 'turned their coats inside out for luck'; they put on wristbands of leather to protect their lace ruffles and wore straw hats to guard their eyes fro the light and to prevent their hair from tumbling. Sometimes, too, they put on 'masks to conceal their emotions'. At Brooks's, the twenty-first rule stated that there whould be 'No gaming in the eating room, except tossing up for reckonings, on penalty of paying the whole bill of the members present'. There were othedr less agreeable occasions for a wager, as recorded in London Souvenirs. A prospective player once dropped down dead at the door of White's; ;the club immediately made bets whether he was dead or only in a fit; and when they were going to bleed him the wagerers for his death interposed, saying it would affect the fairness of the bet'.

... The traditions of public gaming were continued into the nineteenth century by such places as the Royal Saloon in Piccadilly, the Castle in Holborn, Tom Cribb's Saloon in Panton Street, the Finish in James Street, and Brydges Street Saloon in Covent Garden otherwise known as 'The Hall of Infamy' or Old Mother Damnable's'. On the other side of London, in the East End, there were gambling rooms and gambling clubs, to such an extent that one minister working among the poor of the area informed Charles Booth that 'gambling presses drink hard as the greatest evil of the day... all gamble more than they drink'. The street urchins gambled with farthings or buttons, in a card game known as Darbs, and betting on boxing or horse-racing was carried on through the agency of tobacconists, publicans, newsvendors and Booth's survey of the East End, 'Women as well as men...men and boys tumble out in their eagerness to read the latest 'speshul" and mark the winner.'

And then there was the lottery. It was first established in London in 1569... (From Chapter 42, A Turn of the Dice, at pgs. 381-385)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something Fresh
Paperback
By P.G. Wodehouse




Quote:
'Scarabs are Egyptian symbols in the form of beetles,' the specialist hurried on. 'The most common form of scarab is in the shape of a ring. Scarabs were used for seals. They were also employed as beads or ornaments. Some scarabei bear inscriptions having references to places, as, for instance, "Memphis is mighty for ever."'

Mr. Peters' scorn changed suddenly to active interest.

'Have you got one like that?'

'Like - ?'

'A scarab boosting Memphis. It's my home town.'

'I think it possible that some other Memphis was alluded to.'

'There isn't any other except the one in Tennessee,' said Mr Peters patriotically.

The specialist owed the fact that he was a nerve doctor instead of a nerve patient to his habit of never arguing with his visitors.

'Perhaps,' he said, ' you would care to glance at my collection? It's in the next room.'

That was the beginning of Mr Peters' devotion to scarabs. At first he did his collecting without any love for it, partly because he had to collect something or suffer, but principally because of a remark the specialist made as he was leaving the room.

'How long would it take me to get together that number of the things?' he inquired, when, having looked his fill upon the dullest assortment of objects which he remembered ever to have seen, he was preparing to take his leave.

The specialist was proud of his collection.

'How long to make a collection as large as mine? Many years, Mr Peters. Oh, many, many years.'

'I'll bet you a hundred dollars I do it in six months.'

(-- p. 46)


Quote:
Something Fresh
By P.G. Wodehouse
Audio Cassette
Narrated by Frederick Davidson (aka David Case)




Not our favorite Wodehouse narrator by any means. Though Davidson does enunciate quite clearly and achieve an inflection of the bemused British aristocrat, he fails to evoke the innocence and gullibility so necessary to Wodehouse protagonists, those poor well-meaning sods who are so easily undone by even the most perfunctory of visits to the country.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Journey of the Jihadist
Inside Muslim Militancy
Hardcover
By former Fulbright scholar Fawaz Gerges,
now teaching at swish Sarah Lawrence College




Quote:
A typical day in the alleys of Cairo or Beirut begins with shopkeepers loudly praising God and invoking him to bring good fortune - a ritual that of course simultaneously draws attention to their wares. The poor and indigent circulate past the shops with incense, receiving in exchange a small charity - a blessing that increases the likelihood of a good day. Unlike in the West, there are no lonely crowds in the Muslim world; crowds are social occasions. ... (-- p. 148)


Quote:
More on this re-invigorating, well-aimed poke at America at Muslim Gambles.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Death Comes to the Archbishop
Paperback
By PokerPulse favorite, Willa Cather




Quote:
"I thought I heard the Angelus, Father Jospeh, but my reason tells me that only a long sea voyage could bring me within sound of such a bell."

"Not at all," said Father Joseph briskly. "I found that remarkable bell here, in the basement of old San Miguel. They tell me it has been here a hundred years of more. There is no church tower in the place strong enough to hold it - it is very thick and must weigh close upon eight hundred pounds. But I had a scaffolding built in the churchyard, and with the help of oxen we raised it and got it swung on cross-beams. I taught a Mexican boy to ring it properly against your return."

"But how could it have come here? It is Spanish, I suppose?"

"Yes, the inscription is in Spanish, to St. Joseph, and the date is 1356. It must have been brought up from Mexico City in an ox-cart. A heroic undertaking, certainly. Nobody knows where it was cast. But they do tell a story about it: that it was pledged to St. Joseph in the wars with the Moors, and that the people of some besieged city brought all their plate and silver and gold ornaments and threw them in with the baser metals. There is certainly a good deal of silver in the bell, nothing else would account for its tone."

Father Latour reflected. "And the silver of the Spaniards was really Moorish, was it not? If not actually of Moorish make, copied from their design. The Spaniards knew nothing about working silver except as they learned it from the Moors."

"What are you doing, Jean? Trying to make my bell out an infidel?" Father Joseph asked impatiently.

The Bishop smiled. "I am trying to account for the fact that when I heard it this morning it struck me at once as something oriental. A learned Scotch Jesuit in Montreal told me that our first bells, and the introduction of the bell in the service all over Europe, originally came from the East. He said the Templars brought the Angelus back from the Crusades, and it is really an adaptation of a Moslem custom."

Father Vaillant sniffed. "I noticed that scholars always manage to dig out something belittling," he complained.

"Belittling? I should say the reverse. I am glad to think there is Moorish silver in your bell. When we first came here, the one good workman we found in Santa Fe was a silversmith. The Spaniards handed on their skill to the Mexicans, and the Mexicans have taught the Navajos to work silver; but it all came from the Moors. (From The Vicar Apostolic, pgs. 43-45)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Death Comes to the Archbishop
Paperback
By PokerPulse favorite, Willa Cather




Quote:
"Mais, c'est fantastique!" he muttered, closing his eyes to rest them from the intrusive omnipresence of the triangle.

When he opened his eyes again, his glance immediately fell upon one juniper which differed in shape from the others. It was not a thick-growing cone, but a naked, twisted trunk, perhaps ten feet high, and at the top it parted into two lateral, flat-lying branches, with a little crest of green in the centre, just above the cleavage. Living vegetation could not present more faithfully the form of the Cross.

The traveller dismounted, drew from his pocket a much worn book, and baring his head, knelt at the foot of the cruciform tree. (From The Vicar Apostolic, I, The Cruciform Tree, p. 18)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Death Comes to the Archbishop
Paperback
By PokerPulse favorite, Willa Cather




Quote:
... A life need not be cold, or devoid of grace in the worldly sense, if it were filled by Her who was all the graces; Virgin-daughter, Virgin-mother, girl of the people and Queen of Heaven: le rêve suprême de la chair. The nursery tale could not vie with Her in simplicity, the wisest theologians could not match Her in Profundity.

Here in his own church in Santa Fé there was one of these nursery Virgins, a little wooden figure, very old and very dear to the people. De Vargas, when he recaptured the city for Spain two hundred years ago, had vowed a yearly procession in her honour, and it was still one of the most solemn events of the Christian year in Santa Fe. She was a little wooden figure, about three feet high, very stately in bearing, with a beatutiful though rather sever Spanish face. She had a rich wardrobe; a chest full of robes and laces, and gold and silver diadems. The women loved to sew for her and the silversmiths to make her chains and brooches. Father Latour had delighted her wardrobe keepers when he told them he did not believe the Queen of England or the Empress of France had so many costumes. She was their doll and their queen, something to fondle, something to adore, as Mary's Son must have been to Her.

These poor Mexicans, he reflected, were not the first to pour out their love in this simple fashion. Raphael and Titian had made costumes for Her in their time, and the great masters had made music for Her, and the great architects had built cathedrals for Her. Long before Her years on earth, in the long twilight between the Fall and the Redemption, the pagan sculptors were always trying to achieve the image of a goddess who should yet be a woman. (From Gold Under Pike's Peak, pgs. 254-255)


About De Vargas:

Quote:
In 1690, Diego de Vargas was appointed the Governor of New Mexico, with a mandate to both reconquer and re-colonize New Mexico. In a master stroke of diplomacy (and bluff) de Vargas returned to the capital city of Santa Fe in July of 1692 with less than fifty soldiers and convinced the Pueblo people to surrender. On September 14, 1692, De Vargas proclaimed a formal act of repossession, and this triumph is still celebrated today in the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe, one of the nation's longest continually celebrated civic events.

But if the re-conquest proved simple, the re-colonization was another matter entirely. De Vargas left New Mexico in early 1693 to retrieve a party of settlers. By the time he returned from Mexico with a group of seventy families, the Pueblo people had re-taken Santa Fe, and de Vargas' party decided to take the city by force. Hundreds of Pueblo warriors were killed or executed and the Spanish were successful, but it was an uneasy peace, eventually resulting in the Second Pueblo Revolt of 1696. For the next several years, warfare continued between both sides, but as the death toll mounted on the Pueblo side and more Spanish came in from Mexico, it became gradually clear to everyone that the Spanish were here to stay. (From New Mexico Tourism)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cbc.ca
Radio 2

Saturday Afternoon at the Opera
La Bohème

Re-broadcast of a STUNNING! 1977 performance,
featuring - GASP! - Luciano Pavarotti in his prime as the poet Rodolfo
and Renata Scotto, a flawless Mimi
.
Jan. 19/08


Quote:
According the the half-time interview with Met wardrobe supervisor Bill Malloy, who was Pavarotti's dresser, the tenor would not begin a performance without first finding and pocketing a bent nail for luck. Met staffers consequently worked diligently behind the scene to place the requisite charm where the maestro would be sure to see it in time for each show.


Quote:
More Pav at PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to the Opera.


Re-live the excitement:

Quote:
La Bohème
DVD
The SAME performance
!



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Hardcover
By 1982 Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel García Márquez
Translated from the Spanish by *Gregory Rabassa




Quote:
ON THE DAY they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on. He'd dreamed he was going through a grove of timber trees where a gentle drizzle was falling, and for an instant he was happy in his dream, but when he awoke he felt completely spattered with bird shit. "He was always dreaming about trees," Plácida Linero, his mother, told me twenty-seven years later, recalling the details of that distressing Monday. "The week before, he'd dreamed that he was alone in a tinfoil airplane and flying through the almond trees without bumping into anything," she said to me. She had a well-earned reputation as an accurate interpreter of other people's dreams, provided they were told her before eating, but she hadn't noticed any ominous augury in those two dreams of her son's, or in the other dreams of trees he'd described to her on the mornings preceding his death.

Nor did Santiago Nasar recognize the omen. He had slept little and poorly, without getting undressed, and he woke up with a headache and a sediment of copper stirrup on his palate, and he interpreted them as the natural havoc of the wedding revels that had gone on until after midnight. Furthermore: all the many people he ran into after leaving his house at five minutes past six and until he was carved up like a pig an hour later remembered him as being a little sleepy but in a good mood, and he remarked to all of them in a casual way that it was a very beautiful day. No one was certain if he was referring to the state of the weather. Many people coincided in recalling that it was a radiant morning with a sea breeze coming in through the banana groves, as was to be expected in a fine February of that period. But most agreed that the weather was funereal, with a cloudy, low sky and the thick smell of still waters, and that at the moment of the misfortune a thin drizzle was falling like the one Santiago Nasar had seen in his dream grove. I was recovering from the wedding revels in the apostolic lap of Mariá Alejandrina Cervantes, and I only awakened with the clamor of the alarm bells, thinking they had turned them loose in honor of the bishop.

Santiago Nasar put on a shirt and pants of white linen, both items unstarched, just like the ones he'd put on the day before for the wedding. It was his attire for special occasions. If it hadn't been for the bishop's arrival, he would have dressed in his khaki outfit and the riding boots he wore on Mondays to go to The Divine Face, the cattle ranch he'd inherited from his father and which he administered with very good judgment but without much luck. In the country he wore a .357 Magnum on his belt, and its armored bullets, according to what he said, could cut a horse in two through the middle. During the partridge season he would also carry his falconry equipment. In the closet he kept a Mannlicher Schoenauer .30-06 rifle, a .300 Holland & Holland Magnum rifle, a .22 Hornet with a double-powered telescopic sight, and a Winchester repeater. He always slept the way his father had slept, with the weapon hidden in the pillowcase, but before leaving the house that day he took out the bullets and put them in the drawer of the night table. "He never left it loaded," his mother told me. I knew that, and I also knew that he kept the guns in one place and hid the ammunition in another far removed so that nobody, not even casually, would yield to the temptation of loading them inside the house. It was a wise custom established by his father ever since one morning when a servant girl had shaken the case to get the pillow out and the pistol went off as it hit the floor and the bullet wrecked the cupboard in the room, went through the living room wall, passed through the dining room of the house next door with the thunder of war, and turned a life-size saint on the main altar of the church on the opposite side of the square to plaster dust. Santiago Nasar, who was a young child at the time, never forgot the lesson of that accident.

The last image his mother had of him was of his fleeting passage through the bedroom. He'd wakened her while he was feeling around trying to find an aspirin in the bathroom medicine chest, and she turned on the light and saw him appear in the doorway with a glass of water in his hand. So she would remember him forever. Santiago Nasar told her then about the dream, but she didn't pay any great attention to the trees.

"Any dream about birds means good health," she said. (The novel's opening paragraphs, pgs. 3-6) (More about the book at Random House Academic Resources).


Quote:
*Note: Lest visitors wonder why PokerPulse gives translators equal billing, consider - According to Wikipedia, García Márquez waited three years for Rabassa's schedule to become open so that he could translate One Hundred Years of Solitude. He later declared Rabassa's translation to be superior to his own Spanish original. (emphasis added)


Quote:
Crónica de una muerte anunciada
Film released in 1987 by a PokerPulse favorite Italian
director Francesco Rosi.
Apparently, globalization has not yet made it available with English subtitles. Slap on head to idiot decision-makers!


Quote:
More about another Rosi film favorite at PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to the Opera.


Our shirty-ish e-mail to Random House:

Quote:
From: legal
To: acmart@randomhouse.com
Cc: legal
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 2:20 PM
Subject: Audio books of classics


Hello Random House,

Just a quick note to grumble about the lack of audio books you've recorded among the classics, including the wonderful work of Marquez. The UK is all over this stuff, hiring the best of its actors to read the best of its literature and not just this week's pop bestseller yoicks. There you are in New York, moments from the New Yorker Literary Festival and Symphony Space and the wonderful readings going on there throughout the year, and what do you do? You sleep! Everyone in publishing should be elbowing your way above the crowds to get a jump on audio books as ESL resources. Gosh, what a push we'd give you! Are we to assume that America has conceded industry position? Do you need help? Suggestions? Also, curiously, you don't make much of the fact that the author was so impressed with the translation of Chronicle of a Death Foretold that he actually said it was better than the original! Where is the obnoxious voice of Madison Avenue, one wonders?

We would be pleased to be included on a list of subscribers to alerts for audio publications. BBC Chivers certainly (and charmingly) flogs its excellent wares thus.

Editor
PokerPulse Roll & Shuffle
The discriminating player's guide to gambling.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Few Quick Ones
Paperback
By the great British humorist, P.G. Wodehouse




Quote:
Bingo, always on the lookout for omens and portents, leaped in his seat. Any lingering doubts he may have entertained as to the advisability of arranging that loan with Algernon Aubrey vanished. Obviously this was going to be his lucky night, and he would be vastly surprised if on the morrow he would not be able to pay twenty or thirty pounds into the other's wee little deposit account.

... (Later that night) The police raid on Number Forty-Three Magnolia Road took place, oddly enough, just as Bingo was preparing to leave. He had lost the last of his borrowed capital at the roulette board owing to a mistaken supposition that Red was going to turn up, and was standing at an open window, trying by means of some breaths of fresh air to alleviate that Death-where-is-thy-sting feeling that comes to gamesters at such times, when suddenly bells began to ring all over the place and a number of those present, jostling him to one side, proceeded to pour out of the window in a foraming stream.[

..."This is the fourth or fifth time this has happened to me," she said peevishly, as she slid into the barrel's interior. "Why can't these rozzers have a heart on and not be forever interfering with private enterprise? (emphasis added) Do you know what? I had a quid on sixteen, and sixteen came up, but before I could collect the bells began to ring and it was Ho for the open spaces. Thirty-seven pounds sterling gone with the wind. Shift over a bit, will you."

Bingo shifted over a bit. (From The Word in Season at pgs. 99-101)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Chess Artist
Genius, Obsession and the World's Oldest Game
Hardcover
By J.C. Hallman




Quote:
My family had a pool table in the basement when I was a boy. I spent a lot of time down there. I didn't really play pool so much as use the table as a kind of fortune-telling device. If I broke and ran off nine balls in a row, I thought, good things would happen. Much later, in my chess research, I learned that the chance mechanisms of many games - dice, lotteries - had their origin in religious rites. As a boy attempting to participate in my own oracle, I acted out an age-old transition from pagan augury to ancient ritual.

In college, I played pool for money, which approximated another transition of chance mechanisms - from organized religion to gambling. Gambling inaugurated for me a fascination with games that was half indulgence half anthropological investigation. I became competent in poker, gin, bridge, and pool.

It was my interest in games that eventually led me to seek work as a casino dealer - another subculture to investigate, another seamy facet of my personality to indulge. I went to dealer s school, received "degrees" in several gambling games, and started work in Atlantic City. It was fallacy. Whatever hypothesis I had thought to test mutated so badly that it needn't have existed at all. Play was fiction, I came to learn. Play was alternate space. Puppies and children know intuitevely that play matters, and to mature is to simply confuse play with nonplay, to assign seriousness to that which is still whimsical. Casino dealers understood this, I learned. They appeared to be playing but were not. They occupied the same space as players, but were wholly outside the universe of the game. (From Chapter 3, Writing Sonnets in Public, pg.s 25-26)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Lady of Shalott
Hardcover
By British Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Illustrated by Montréal artist Geneviève Côté


Quote:
More on the Quebec Association of Illustrators (AllQ).




Quote:
Part I

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower'd Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott."

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance
--
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.


Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

(Book pages are unnumbered)


About Tennyson and the poem:

Quote:
The most famous poet of the Victorian age, Alfred Tennyson (1809-92) is also regarded as one of the preeminent English poets of all time. Tennyson possessed a marvelous ability to craft evocative imagery and to use landscapes to convey emotion. Even his harshest critics have recognized his gift for lyric poetry, which is arguably unequalled in the history of English verse. Queen Victoria appointed Tennyson, a greatly esteemed spokesman for the ideas and values of the era, Poet Laureate in 1850.

... The rich symbolism of "The Lady of Shalott" has invited diverse interpretations: It has been understood as a commentary on the role of women in the Victorian period, who, much like the poem's imprisoned maiden, were relegated to the private sphere of the home and separated from the public sphere of men; and as an exploration of the relationship of the artist to society - the Lady, isolated from the world with her endless weaving, being a metaphor for the artist. Others have perceived it as a reflection on nature versus industry or as a meditation on the passage toward death. (From the first of the book's last three pages)


A musical interpretation:

Quote:
The Visit
Audio CD
Enhanced
By Manic-tuber Frostback Loreena McKennitt
View McKennitt's lyrical Juno Awards performance at YouTube.com




Cups up, to the visionary publisher, who understands as PokerPulse does the crying, screaming need to serve up Literature's Best to the world's hungriest ears and eyes - children! Poetry is, after all, is like many pleasant libations an acquired taste that should begin before mid-life if it is to be pushed along.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Testament of Youth
Hardcover
By Vera Brittain


Quote:
More of this sensitive, detailed account of World War I at Gambling Warriors.




Quote:
It was a very bright, clear September in which the British and French Armies won their decisive victories on the Marne and the Aisne. "ALLIES ADVANCING!" triumphantly announced the placards which told us that Paris had been saved, but though the news sent a shudder of relief through London, the air was thicker than ever with dramatic and improbable rumours. Stories of atrocities mingled with assertions that in ten days' time the Austrian Emperor would be suing for peace and in fourteen the Kaiser fleeing from his people. Edward, while waiting vainly for news from Oxford, composed a violin ballade; he and I were plunged into gloom by a fresh though inaccurate rumour that Fritz Kreisler, his favourite violinist, had been killed on the Austrian front, but his anxiety lasted longer than mine, for I found St. Monica's garden a most peaceful and appropriate place in which to soliliquise about Roland. He was, I told myself, "a unique experience in my existence; I never think definitely of him as man or boy, as older or younger, taller or shorter than I am, but always of him as a mind in tune with mine, in which many of the notes are quite different from mine but are all in the same key."

Whether it was really true at that time that Roland represented to me only a congenial mind, I cannot now determine. If it was, it did not remain so for very much longer. One afternoon during a game of golf when we had returned to Buxton, Edward and I discovered a fairy ring; I stood in it, and quite suddenly found myself wishing that Roland and I might become lovers, and marry. Edward asked me to tell him my wish. I replied: "I'll tell you if you ask me again in five years' time, for by then the wish will have come true or be about to come true, or it will never come true at all."

Although we had examined, only a day or two before, some Press photographs of the damage done by the German bombardment of Rheims, we still talked as though our life-long security had not been annihilated and time would go on always for those whom we loved. And it was just then that Roland wrote that he had, after all, some chance of a commission in a Norfolk regiment.

"Anyhow," he told me, "I don't think in the circumstances I could easily bring myself to endure a secluded life of scholastic vegetation. It would seem a somewhat cowardly shirking of my obvious duty...I feel that I am meant to take an active part in the War. It is to me a very fascinating thing - something, if often horrible, yet very ennobling and very beautiful, something whose elemental reality raises it above the reach of cold theorizing. You will call me a militarist. You may be right." (From Oxford Versus War, pgs. 103-104)


Quote:
When at last we came in for Sunday night supper, which our elders had left for us, Roland and I were seized with remorse at our mutual neglect of Edward - who was, however, mentally composing a piano-and-violin sonata, and did not appear to object - and the three of us sat late over the supper-table, discussing psychical research, dreams and premonitions. Roland told us that he had recently gone with his mother to have his hand read by Cheiro, the celebrated palmist, who had warned him that in a year or two he would run the considerable risk of "assassination."

"As if anyone would want to assassinate me!" he laughed gaily, and we agreed that, despite his quite remarkable likeness to ex-King Manoel of Portugal, the possibility seemed remote. (From Provincial Young-Ladyhood, pgs. 83-84)


Quote:
Testament of Youth
BBC Miniseries
VHS only!




Quote:
Not for the feint of heart, this excellent series based on Vera Brittain's eloquent autobiography provides a rich historical monument to the tragedy of that war, including the devastating effects of mustard gas.


PokerPulse recommended listening for foreign affairs offices worldwide:

Quote:
Lest We Forget
A collection of poetry & music dedicated
to the memory of those who fell in two
world wars

Audio CD
Featuring Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud and the
BBC Symphony Orchestra



Quote:
Pomp & circumstance: March no. 4 in G major / Elgar -- Lines from For the fallen / Binyon -- On the idle hill of summer / Housman -- In time of the breaking nations / Hardy -- Salut d'amour / Elgar -- The autumn of the world / Read -- The planets: Mars, the bringer of war / Holst -- Attack ; The general / Sassoon -- For the fallen / Binyon -- In memoriam / Thomas -- The dead (IV) / Brooker -- Returning, we hear the larks / Rosenberg -- Everyone sing / Sassoon -- Chanson de matin / Elgar -- On the dead in Gallipoli / Maserfield -- Elegy / Elgar -- Before action / Hodgson -- The soldier / Brooke -- Futility / Owen -- In Flanders Fields / McCree -- Chanson de nuit / Elgar -- The hand that signed the paper / Thomas -- Summer night on the river / Delius -- To a conscript of 1940 / Read -- Watching post / Lewis -- Naming of parts / Reed -- All day it has rained / Lewis -- Peter Grimes: Dawn / Britten -- Song of the dying gunner / Causley -- For Johnny / Pudney -- Planets: Venus, the bringer of peace / Holst -- Midnight, May 7th, 1945 / Dickinson -- Will it be so again? / Lewis -- At the British war cemetery, Bayeux / Causley -- Enigma Variations: Nimrod / Elgar -- And death shall have no dominion / Thomas -- Pomp & circumstance: March no 1 in D major / Elgar -- Lines from For the fallen / Binyon.

Elgard, Edward, 1857-1934.
Holst, Gustav, 1874-1934.
Delius, Frederick, 1862-1934.
Calvert, Phyllis.
Gielgud, John, Sir, 1904-
Orr, Peter.
Jacobi, Derek.
Davis, Andrew, 1944-
BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Includes readings of poetry by Laurence Binyon; A.E. Housman; Thomas Hardy; Herbert Read; Edward Thomas; Rupert Brooke and others.

Should be required listening by governments everywhere contemplating the unoriginal and uncreative decision to go to war. Beautifully edited and executed, this CD must have been a labor of love for all concerned.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amarcord
DVD
Directed by the great Fellini




Quote:
Small boy leaping joyfully through a curtain of swirling, blowing lemone in a lovely village on the Italian coast: When the *puff balls soar, then winter is no more.


Quote:
* like giant dandelions gone to seed.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Porch Lies
Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters,
and Other Wily Characters

Harcover
By Patricia C. McKissack
Illustrated by Andre Carrilho




Quote:
I met Montgomery Red when I rode my bicycle past the empty house next door on my way to the corner store for Mama. He was on his knees searching the ground, looking for something. "Hi. I'm Lenny Bowen. Can I help you, sir>" I asked.

"Well, you are a real gentleman. Please to meet you," Big Red said to me, smiling. "Call me Red." We shook hands and a friendship began instantly.

"You really going in that house over there?" I asked, having already heard about him.

"Yep!"

I gasped, not looking at the windows too long for fear of what I might see. "Why?"

"Time for me to settle down," Red said, sighing. "This seems like as good a place as any." He got back to his searching.

"Right now, I'm looking for an Earth Bone," he threw in matter-of-factly. "You seen one?"

"No, sir," I answered, backing up a piece, just in case an Earth Bone was dangerous. "I aine even now heard of no such thing."

Red shook his head. "Boy, how you get to be however old you are and not know 'bout an Earth Bone?"

I mumbled something 'bout if it had anything to do with conjuring, my folks wouldn't approve.

Suddenly Red stood up so tall I thought he'd never unwind. Why, he had to be well over six four. He cradled something in his huge hand. "Am I lucky to have found this!" He chuckled. "Now I'm as bad any ghosts in that house."

"May - may I seet it?" I asked, marveling at the idea that something so powerful existed. "What's it do?"

In his palm lay the Earth Bone. It looked like an ordinary rock, but I didn't want to 'pear ignorant, so I kept still.

"With this," Red explained, "I don't have to be scared of nothing that creeps, crawls, slithers, slides, or goes bump in the night. I can stop all ghosts, ghouls, and monsters in their tracks." (From The Earth Bone and the King of the Ghosts, pgs. 110-111)


Quote:
Written a warm and friendly-like vernacular from the rural American South.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Art & Love
An Illustrated Anthology
of Love Poetry

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Selected by Kate Farrell


Quote:
More of the book's classic poems - alas - at Losing Streak.





Quote:
STILL MORE at Impossible Odds.



Quote:
YOUR BIRTHDAY COMES TO TELL ME THIS

your birthday comes to tell me this

-- each luckiest of lucky days
i've loved, shall love, do love you, was

and will be and my birthday is

E.E. Cummings, American. 1894-1962

(-- p. 77, adjacent to Merry Company on a Terrace. Jan Steen, Dutch,
1626-1679. Oil on canvas, ca. 1668-70.)


Quote:

The Fortune Teller. Georges de La Tour, French, 1593-1652. Oil on canvas.
(-- p. 91)


Quote:
EVERYTHING PROMISED HIM TO ME

Everything promised him to me:
the fading amber edge of the sky,
and the sweet dreams of Christmas,
and the wind at Easter, loud with bells,

and the red shoots of the grapevine,
and waterfalls in the park,
and two large dragonflies
on the rusty iron fencepost.

And I could only believe
that he would be mine
as I walked along the high slopes,
the path of burning stones.

А́нна Ахма́това Anna Akhmatova, Russian. 1889-1966

(-- p. 61, adjacent to Across the Room. Edmund C. Tarbell, American,
1862-1938. Oil on canvas, ca. 1899.


PokerPulse favorite Akhmatova translation:

Twenty Poems
Anna Akhmatova

Translated from the Russian
by U.S. poet Jane Kenyon with
Vera Sanomirsky Dunham




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