Friday, 8 November 2013

Dragons of anger

Watch, worn since Bratislava, August 2004

Pronunciation: /ˈamjʊlɪt/

an ornament or small piece of jewellery thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease.

Origin: late 16th century: from Latin amuletum, of unknown origin

"Nothing is more difficult than to determine what a child takes in, and does not take in, of its environment and teaching. This fact is brought home to me by the hymns which I learned as a child, and never forgot. They mean to me almost more than the finest poetry, and they have for me a more permanent value, somehow or other.
It is almost shameful to confess that the poems which have meant the most to me, like Wordsworth's Ode to Immortality and Keats's Odes, and pieces of Macbeth or As You Like It or Midsummer Night's Dream, and Goethe's lyrics, such as Uber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, and Verlaine's Aynte poussela porte qui clancelle -- all these lovely poems which after all give the ultimate shape to one's life; all these lovely poems woven deep into a man's consciousness, are still not woven so deep in me as the rather banal Nonconformist hymns that penetrated through and through my childhood. "
D H Lawrence Hymns in a Man's Life

This was a hymn that we sang at Sunday School - the Methodist Sunday School my sister and I attended sometimes on Sunday afternoons at St Erth Chapel. Far more recently I recall the vicar of Crowan saying it was his favourite. I might know it off by heart.

When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old,
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For God and for valour he rode through the land.
No charger have I, and no sword by my side,
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride,
Though back into storyland giants have fled,
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead. 
Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
'Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed;
And let me set free with the sword of my youth,
From the castle of darkness, the power of the truth.

Jan Struther

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy