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.

24 July 2017


I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

—Wallace Stevens, verse VIII from 

    “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”

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Theatre of the Actors of Regard  

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Factum est silentium in cœlo

There was silence in heaven

Et vidi septem illos angelos qui adstant in conspectu Dei, quibus datæ sunt septem tubæ.

And I saw angels standing before God, and to them were given seven trumpets

Et septum angeli, qui habebant septem tubas, præparaverunt se ut clangerent.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to blow

Primus igitur angelus clanxit, et facta est grando et ignis, mista sanguine, projectaque sunt in terram: et tertia pars arborum exusta est, et omne gramen viride exustum.

The first angel blew, and there was made hail and fire, which were mingled with blood, and they were cast in to the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt, and all green grass was burnt.

Deinde secundus angelus clanxit, et quasi mons magnus igne ardens projectus est in mare: factaque est tertia pars maris sanguis. Et mortua est tertia pars creaturarum quæ erant in mari, animantia dico, et tertia pars navium periit.

And the second angel blew: and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast in to the sea, and the third part of the sea turned to blood, and the third part of the creatures which had life, died, and the third part of ships were destroyed.

Tum angelus tertius clanxit, et cecidit e cœlo stella magna, ardens velut lampas, ceciditque in tertiam partem fluminum, et in fontes aquarum. Nomen autem stellæ dicitur Absinthium: versa est igitur tertia pars aquarum in absinthium, et multi homines mortui sunt ex aquis, quod amaræ factæ essent.

And the third angel blew, and there fell a great star from heaven burning as it were a lamp, and it fell into the third part of the rivers, and into fountains of waters, and the name of the star is called Wormwood. And the third part was turned to wormwood. And many men died of the waters because they were made bitter.

Deinde quartus angelus clanxit, et percussa est tertia pars solis, et tertia pars lunæ, et tertia pars stellarum: ita ut obscuraretur tertia pars eorum, et diei non luceret pars tertia, et noctis similiter.

And the fourth angel blew, and the third part of the sun was smitten and the third part of the moon, and the third part of stars: so that the third part of them was darkened. And the day was smitten that the third part of it should not shine, and likewise the night.

Et vidi, et audivi unum angelum volantem per medium cœli, dicentem voce magna, Væ, væ, væ incolis terræ a reliquis sonis tubæ trium illorum angelorum qui clangent!

And I beheld and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth because of the voices to come of the trumpet of the three angels which were yet to blow.

[St John the Divine, Book of Revelation & Apocalypse Chapter 8, Translation by William Tyndale (1534)]

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Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News, 2017  
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