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.

31 August 2013

Vale Seamus Heaney

The great Irish poet Seamus Heaney has died.

Tributes paid to ‘keeper of language’ Seamus Heaney:
Poet's death has brought a 'great sorrow' to Ireland
The Irish Times : read article here
Friday 30 August 2013  

What a refuge and inspiration, still, to listen to Heaney online.
Click here for Seamus Heaney reading his translation of Beowulf
To be reminded of the power of language at this time in Australia when we are a week from a Federal Election and everyone is sick to death of the bombardments of exhausted and debased wordage.

Click here for Seamus Heaney's 1995 Nobel acceptance speech

"It is difficult at times to repress the thought that history is about as instructive as an abattoir; that Tacitus was right and that peace is merely the desolation left behind after the decisive operations of merciless power..." 
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