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.

09 December 2008

Paradise Lost (illustrated)

Today is the 400th birthday of John Milton
(9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674).

From the heap, these PT drawings circa 1973, spun loosely on a few lines from Paradise Lost, Books 1-4.

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view

Sat on his faded cheek, but under Browes

Drew audience and attention still as Night

In others count'nance red his own dismay

If shape it might be call'd that shape had none

Thou art my Father, thou my Author, thou
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey
But thee, whom follow?

Hail holy light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born

Presented with a Universal blanc

The radiant image of his Glory sat

The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring
New Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell

Invisible, except to God alone

O For that warning voice, which he who saw

But rather to tell how, if Art could tell

4/358 (above)
O Hell! what doe mine eyes with grief behold

4/462 (below)
Bending to look on me, I started back,
It started back, but pleasd I soon returnd