Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Shakespeare Unpicked. A B C

Once more I read his Absey book
Where A is Acheron and B is basilisk
For C my thirst is quenched with Circe's cup . . .

Here comes one Jack-an-apes dressed up
In motley non-pareil who only got as far
As D which is a wall-eyed dog named R.

For him eftsoons
Here comes his long awaited
Day of Doom

Fico Fig Figo!

To the Reader

This figure that you here see put, 
 It was for gentle Shakespeare cut;
Wherein the engraver had a strife
 with nature, to outdo the life:

O, could he but have drawn his wit 
 As well in brass, as he has hit 
His face; the print would then surpass 
 All that was ever writ in brass.

But since he cannot, reader look
 Not on his picture, but his book. 

 Ben Jonson (revised)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Poetry in motion - Kennaugh wins in Austria

Pete Kennaugh holds aloft the winner's trophy after today's final stage of the 2014 Tour of Austria 8-stage cycle race. Cycle racing is poetry in motion.

The photo is one of several I took of the Austrian event. Some of them  are shown here to give you a taste of the final stages. 

The Isle of Man's Kennaugh, riding for Team Sky, held onto the leader's yellow jersey throughout the tour having claimed it on the first stage. 

Conditions during the closing stages suddenly became precarious when a torrential thunderstorm drenched the city centre course in Vienna which is crisscrossed with tram lines. Not unpredictably a couple of riders crashed during the final sprint on the last bend. Fortunately their injuries are not believed to be serious.  

The presentation ceremony had to be curtailed because of a power failure caused by the storm. 

Cycle racing makes good TV.  The reality is many times better! 

Language in crisis?

The German language is failing abysmally in its purpose which is to clearly communicate information between persons. It has lost sight of the purpose of language. The language has now become so convoluted and chaotic that many do not understand it properly and others are worried about where it is going next. In today's Kronen Zeitung there is a letter signed by 747 signatories including language professors concerning the current hot potato - feminine equivalents of male nouns. In German there  were always three categories of nouns; feminine, masculine and neutral. But now comes a fourth. A feminine (or masculine) extended noun. A recent storm in a teacup concerns the words of Austria's national anthem. How the Auslander* or AuslanderInnen* or Auslander-innen* or Auslander(inn)en* is supposed to make sense of the language is beyond me. Now it is beyond many Austrians too.  

Act V Scene I The King's Park 

Holofernes (a schoolmaster), 
Sir Nathaniel (a curate
Dull (a constable)

Holofernes: Satis quod sufficit.

Sir Nathaniel: I praise God for you, sir. Your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious; pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresy. I did converse this quondam day with a companion of the King's, who is intituled, nominated, or called Don Adriano de Armado. 

Holofernes: Novi hominem tanquam te. His humour is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general behaviour vain, ridiculous and thrasonical. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it were, too peregrinate, as I may call it. 

Sir Nathaniel: A most singular and choice epithet. (Draws out of his table a book).

Holofernes: He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasimes, such insociable and point-devise companions; such rackers of orthography, as to speak 'dout' fine, when he should say 'doubt'; 'det' when he should pronounce 'debt' - d, e, b, t, not d, e, t. He clepeth vocatur 'nebour'; 'neigh' abbreviated 'ne'. This is abhominable - which he would call 'abbominable'. It insinuateth of me insanie: ne intelligis, domine? to make frantic, lunatic. 

Sir Nathaniel: Laus Deo, bone intelligo. 

Holofernes: 'Bone' ? - 'bone' for 'bene'. Priscian a little scratch'd; 'twill serve. 


Thursday, 10 July 2014