David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

25 March 2009

Old Paint

Every time I see an old paint horse, I think of you,
Old paint horse of mine that used to be,
Old pal o' mine that was, the best horse of all, because --
That's why, old horse, at last I set you free!

I've bought 'em by the thousand, I've owned 'em everywhere --
There's one stands out among 'em all alone;
Paint-marked everywhere, tail a little short o' hair,
Old horse, you never failed to bring me home!

'Member when they stole you for Pass City,
En locked you up inside the Juarez jail?
Said that you have eaten up an entire crop of wheat,
En I had to rustle round en get your bail?

En I got you cross the river en matched you en a race,
End we bet the last red dollar we could scrape?--
En how you bit old Rocking Chair, the horse you run against,
En made him turn his head en lose the race?

We was both young en foolish in them green days long ago,
I don't believe in telling stories out of school! --
'Member when we roped the pianner en jerked her out the door?
Hush up! Old Paint! you're talkin' like a fool!

Well, old horse, you're buried, en your troubles, they are done,
But I often sit en think of what we did,
En recall the many scrapes we had, en used to think it fun,
Es we rode along the Rio Grande . . .
Good-bye, old Kid!

by Jack Thorp
from Songs of the Cowboys, 1921