Archive for the Book Category

The Empty Cross

Posted in Book, Painting with tags , on April 16, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden
Monkey Master
“The Monkey Master”
manuscript illumination, c. 1480
private collection
via

The Idea of God

Posted in Art, Book with tags , on November 17, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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“Was the idea of God alive at all in me? No: if you mean the traditional idea. But that was a symbol, vague, variable, mythical, anthropomorphic; the symbol for an overwhelming reality, a symbol that named and unified in human speech the incalculable powers on which our destiny depends. To observe, record, and measure the method by which these powers operate is not to banish the idea of God: it is what the Hebrews called meditating on his ways. The modern hatred of religion is not, like that of the Greek philosophers, a hatred of poetry, for which they wished to substitute cosmology, mathematics, or dialectic, still maintaining the reverence of man for what is superhuman. The modern hatred of religion is hatred of the truth, hatred of all sublimity, hatred of the laughter of the gods. It is puerile human vanity trying to justify itself by a lie.”

Text: George Santayana, My Host the World. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953
Image: William Blake, The Ancient of Days setting a Compass to the Earth, frontispiece to copy K of Europe a Prophecy, 1821, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Puois nostre temps comens’a brunezir

Posted in Book, Painting, Poetry with tags , on November 13, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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Puois nostre temps comens’a brunezir,
E li verjan son de lor fuelhas blos,
E del solelh vei tant bayssatz los rays,
Per que·l jorn son escur e tenebros
Et hom non au d’auzelhs ni chans ni lays,
Per joy d’Amor nos devem esbaudir.

Aquest Amor no pot hom tan servir
Que mil aitans no·n doble·l gazardos:
Que Pretz e Joys e tot quant es, e mays,
N’auran aisselh qu’en seran poderos;
Qu’anc non passet covinens ni·ls enfrays;
Mas per semblan greus er a conquerir.

Per lieys deu hom esperar e sofrir,
Tant es sos pretz valens e cabalos,
Qu’anc non ac suenh dels amadors savays,
De ric escars ni de paubr’ ergulhos;
Qu’en plus de mil no·n a dos tan verays
Que fin’Amors los deja obezir.

Ist trobador, entre ver e mentir,
Afollon drutz e molhers et espos,
E van dizen qu’Amors vay en biays,
Per que’l marit endevenon gilos,
E dompnas son intradas en pantays,
Cui mout vol hom escoutar et auzir.

Cist sirven fals fan a plusors gequir
Pretz e Joven e lonhar ad estros,
Don Proeza no·n cug que sia mais,
Qu’Escarsetaz ten las claus dels baros,
Manhs n’a serratz dins las ciutat d’Abais,
Don Malvestatz no·n laissa un issir.

Ves manhtas partz vei lo segle faillir,
Per qu’ieu n’estauc marritz e cossiros,
Que soudadiers non truep ab cui s’apays,
Per lauzengiers qu’an bec malahuros,
Qui son pejor que Judas, qui Dieu trays;
Ardre·ls degr’om o totz vius sebellir.

Nos no·ls podem castiar ni cobrir;
Tollam nos d’elhs e dieus acosselh nos!
Qu’us joys d’Amor me reverdis e·m pays,
E puesc jurar qu’anc ta bella no fos:
Petit la vey, mas per ella suy gays
Et jauzions, e Dieus m’en do jauzir.

Ara·s pot hom lavar et esclarzir
De gran blasme, silh qu’en son encombros;
E si es pros yssira ves Roays,
E gurpira lo segle perilhos,
Et ab aitan pot si liurar del fays
Qu’assatz en fai trabucar e perir.

Cercamon dis: «Qi vas Amors s’irais
Meravill’es com pot l’ira suffrir.»
Q’ira d’amor es paors et esglais
E no·n pot hom trop viure ni murir.

Fagz es lo vers, e non deu veillezir,
Segon aisso qe monstra la razos,
Q’anc bon’Amors non galiet ni trais,
Anz dona joi als arditz amoros.

Text: Cercamon  (fl. c. 1135-1145) via trobar.org (with English translation)
Image: Anonymous, Le Roman de la Rose, Harley MS 4425, f. 133r, British Library

Robert Frank 92

Posted in Book, Photo with tags on November 9, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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Today we congratulate Robert Frank on his 92nd birthday. The Swiss-born photographer became a tireless and penetrating investigator of American life, crisscrossing the nation and depicting it from every angle. His work is too well-known to require any comment from us, apart from the suggestion that now seems an important moment to contemplate the state of the Union, in the mirror of Frank’s lens and otherwise.

Images: Portrait of Robert Frank, © Wayne Miller/Magnum; all others © Robert Frank

Quant l’aura doussa s’amarzis

Posted in Book with tags , on November 5, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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Quant l’aura doussa s’amarzis
E·l fuelha chai de sul verjan
E l’auzelh chanjan lor latis,
Et ieu de sai sospir e chan
D’Amor que·m te lassat e pres,
Qu’ieu anc no l’agui en poder.

Las! qu’ieu d’Amor non ai conquis
Mas cant lo trebalh e l’afan,
Ni res tant greu no·s covertis
Com fai so qu’ieu vau deziran!
Ni tal enveja no·m fai res
Cum fai so qu’ieu non posc aver.

Per una joja m’esbaudis
Fina, qu’anc re non amiey tan!
Quan suy ab lieys si m’esbahis
Qu’ieu no·ill sai dire mon talan,
E quan m’en vauc, vejaire m’es
Que tot perda·l sen e·l saber.

Tota la genser qu’anc hom vis
Encontra lieys no pretz un guan!
Quan totz lo segles brunezis,
Delai on ylh es si resplan.
Dieu prejarai qu’ancar l’ades
O que la vej’anar jazer.

Totz trassalh e bran et fremis
Per s’Amor, durmen o velhan.
Tal paor ai qu’ieu mesfalhis
No m’aus pessar cum la deman,
Mas servir l’ai dos ans o tres,
E pueys ben leu sabra·n lo ver.

Ni muer ni viu ni no guaris,
Ni mal no·m sent e si l’ai gran,
Quar de s’Amor no suy devis,
Non sai si ja l’aurai ni quan,
Qu’en lieys es tota la merces
Que·m pot sorzer o decazer.

Bel m’es quant ilh m’enfolhetis
E·m fai badar e·n vau muzan!
De leis m’es bel si m’escarnis
O·m gaba dereir’o denan,
Qu’apres lo mal me venra bes
Be leu, s’a lieys ven a plazer.

S’elha no·m vol, volgra moris
Lo dia que·m pres a coman!
Ai, las! tan suavet m’aucis
Quan de s’Amor me fetz semblan,
Que tornat m’a en tal deves
Que nuill’ autra no vuelh vezer.

Totz cossiros m’en esjauzis,
Car s’ieu la dopti o la blan,
Per lieys serai o fals o fis,
O drechuriers o ples d’enjan,
O totz vilas o totz cortes,
O trebalhos o de lezer.

Mas, cui que plass’o cui que pes,
Elha·m pot, si·s vol, retener.

Cercamons ditz: greu er cortes
Hom qui d’Amor se desesper.

Text: Cercamon  (fl. c. 1135-1145) via trobar.org (with English translation)
Image: Anonymous, Le Roman de la Rose, Harley MS 4425, f. 42r, British Library

Pois la fuoilla revirola

Posted in Book, Poetry with tags , on November 4, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

lovers

Pois la fuoilla revirola
Que vei d’entre·ls cims cazer,
Que·l vens deromp e degola,
Que no·is pot mais sostener,
Mais pretz lo freich temporau
Que l’estiu plen de gandill
Don nais puti’ et enveia.

Lo pics e la rossignola
Tornon lor chant en tazer,
Si·s fa·l gais e l’auriola,
Don l’inverns fai son plazer!
E l’orgoills torn’ en canau
Per garssos plens de grondill,
Qu’en estiu contradenteia.

Graissans ni serps que s’amola
No·m fant espaven ni mau,
Mosca ni tavans que vola,
Escaravait ni bertau,
Aquist malvatz volatill
Non sent bruir ni oler,
Don francs inverns nos neteia.

Ges l’afilatz bec d’aissola
Non pert son loc al fogau,
Anz porta pic e massola
Don son gran li dui mau.
Cest tol si donz al jazer
La dolor del penchinill,
Pel feminiu don se breia.

Cest trai del mieill la briola
Plen’ al maitin et al ser,
E sobre·l faire faissola,
Car pot la coa mover!
Cest fai la nuoich son jornau,
Don engenrra un bel fill,
Per que sobreseignoreia.

Cazen levan trobaiola
Va·l segles e no m’en chau.
Aissi cum la seguignola,
Poi’ amon e chai avau.

Text: Marcabru (fl. 1130-1150) via trobar.org (with English translation)
Image: School of Robinet Testard, Le Roman de la Rose, Ms. Douce 195, f. 118, Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Urizen

Posted in Book, Drawing, Poetry with tags , on November 3, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

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William Blake
The Book of Urizen, Copy G, Plate 7
relief etching with hand coloring, c. 1815
The Library of Congress
Explore this image at the William Blake Archive
Read the full text of the poem at Bartleby.com