On a recent trip to London to see the Da Vinci exhibition, which we didn't get into as a result of lack of planning, ie we didn't have tickets, J_ and I ended up in the crypt of the stunning and very ancient St Martin in the Fields. Perusing the preserved gravestones of ladies long dead we came across one that made us laugh, maybe because we are not familiar with the conventions of gravestone inscriptions from 400 years ago, who knows. Anyway, we found it interesting and so I have transcribed a copy for a little diversion as this year ends and another is just about to begin:
Here lies buried the body of
Miss Frances Jones daughter of Arthur
Lord Vicecount of Ranelagh, by his wife the
Lady Katherine Boyle who was daughter
To Richard Boyle Earle of Corke and Lord
High Treasurer of Ireland.
She died in the prime of her age, hav-
ing never been married, the 28th of
March in the year 1672.
Enough and leave the rest to fame.
Tis to commend her but to name.
Courtship, which living she declined
When dead to offer; were unkind.
Where never any could speak ill.
Who would officious praise spill
Nor can the truest wit or friend
Without detracting her commend.
To say she lived a virgin chaste
In this age loose? and all unlaid?
Nor was where vice is so allowed
Of virtue or ashamed or proud
That her soul was on heaven so bent
No minute but it came and went
That, ready her last debt to pay
Modest as morn, as midday bright
Gentle as evening, cool as night
Tis true but all so weakly said
Twere more significant: she’s Dead.
All there is left for me to do is wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for reading
The nights are closing in fast in the run up to the shortest day of the year and with it the annual winter solstice celebrations with Brighton's Burning of the Clocks 2011.
Having become a regular fixture on the winter calendar, this free event sees a procession through the streets of Brighton with imaginatively crafted paper lanterns wending their way to the beach to be burnt on a bonfire.
Beginning at around 6:30 pm the route heads along North Street, Ship Street, Bartholomews, East Street before finishing at Madeira Drive. For the best viewing position, the organisers Same Sky recommend going straight to Madeira Drive to watch the parade from there. Although it is a relatively new tradition its ethos and purpose make it feel ancient and pagan. Something to do with parading through the streets as part of a community, lit by candlelight and ending with a ritualistic bonfire on the beach as drummers beat out the end of time. Everyone is welcome to join in and make a paper lantern to carry through the city and then burn on the beach as their own token for the end of the year. As each lantern is hand-crafted each one becomes a unique offering representing the makers wishes, hopes and fears, to be passed into the fire. The organisers say, ‘once we burn our hopes and fears the heat of the fire brings up the new sun, the pendulum starts, the clocks tick and all is saved. The silence is broken by the cheers and music of the new solar year’.
|Burning of the Clocks, bonfire 2011|
|Burning of the Clocks Fireworks|
Wednesday 21 Dec 6.30pm