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pmlight1


Monamy 1. 37 x 53. Plymouth City Art Gallery. Currently being cleaned.

EDDYSTONE ONE: MONAMY 1
1696-1698
HENRY WINSTANLEY

In order to determine precisely how and when Monamy made use of the graphic aids available to him, in my view it is necessary to start by concentrating first on the depiction of the lighthouse, and for the time being to ignore the composition of the background shipping.

To the left are two prints showing Winstanley’s first construction. The upper is the earlier, “Drawn at ye Rock by Jaaziell Johnston, Painter”, which was engraved and issued in 1698. Another print of the second tower was issued after its construction in 1699.

The lower print is based on the upper, and was engraved by Henry Roberts, 1761, after the completion of Smeaton’s lighthouse in 1759, and issued in connection with Smeaton’s account of its construction. Roberts also engraved a print of the second construction at the same time: see here.

There can be no doubt that Monamy’s painting portrays this first Winstanley construction. It would also seem reasonable to assume that he made use of the earlier engraving.

There were, however, other drawings of this lighthouse. Alison Barnes has generously directed my attention to an entry in the Calendar of Treasury Papers, Jan 7, 1702, Vol LXXVII, p 6, which shows that Thomas Baston “….. by the King’s order, through Major Gen Trelawny, … made a draught of the lighthouse on the Eddystone near Plymouth, which the King then had at Kensington, and that afterwards, by his express orders, a second draught of the same, much larger, and according to the new alterations, which were then made, in that lighthouse, together with the draughts of several of the King’s ships of war, which after much pains and six months labour, he performed to general satisfaction, and delivered to the King at Hampton Court …..”

Besides the print, therefore, Monamy could have made use of Johnston’s original drawing, or Thomas Baston’s drawing, and it is apparent that Winstanley himself made drawings, as well as a wooden model.

There are salient additions and differences between Monamy’s painting and the engraving after Johnston, discussed below.


M1: The cleaned section. From the cover of Henry Winstanley, by Alison Barnes, 2003.

The most obvious and striking differences are the long projecting arm with the red ensign; the vestige of what looks like a central door to the left of the ladder; and the head-on view of the rock on which the lighthouse stands. It is clear that Monamy also made use of a drawing by the Younger van de Velde, reproduced further down.

 

Below is a sketch by the Younger van de Velde, 1699; reproduced in Robinson, van de Velde Drawings, Vol II, 1974, p.287. Van de Velde’s sketch is described by Michael Robinson on p.122 as “The Eddystone lighthouse drawn probably immediately after its completion. [It] … was begun in 1696. The light was exhibited for the first time on 14 November 1698.”

In her authoritative study of Winstanley’s life and work, Alison Barnes writes that “In the summer of 1699, Mr Winstanley strengthened, raised and enlarged his lighthouse.” She has pointed out that this drawing must have been made during the summer, when work was in progress, since it appears to show some but not all of the features of the final structure. The central door and the flag belong to the final stages, but the drawing does not include the gallery to the right, clearly delineated on engravings of the strengthened building of 1699-1703, or the mottoes. The over-elaborate wrought ironwork crowning the first construction has been replaced with ironwork more closely matching the engraved print of the final lighthouse. Essentially, therefore, van de Velde’s sketch is of the second construction, considerably taller and more robust than the first.

It is very obvious that although Monamy intended to commemorate the pioneering achievement of the first, original structure, he has followed the composition of the van de Velde sketch, and added the bright red colouring of the ensign, with its attendant keeper, for visual effect. The sky and the cloud formations are based on first-hand observation, as Janet Tamblin has remarked, but it is exceedingly unlikely that Monamy ever saw either of the Winstanley structures before they vanished.

Monamy’s exploitation of the van de Velde composition, in his three known lighthouse paintings, will be discussed on other pages. Meanwhile, his second depiction of Winstanley’s first lighthouse is examined here.

introduction
winstanley’s lighthouse 1: M1
winstanley’s lighthouse 1: M3
winstanley’s lighthouse 2
rudyerd’s lighthouse: M2
smeaton’s lighthouse


miscellaneous lighthouses
lighthouse paintings composition
monamy website index
top

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2004

 

1990KY

1.    I will tell you      my personal testament,
2.    tally the weight      of weary days,
3.    the hours of torment,      the times of agony,
4.    the bitter heart-stabs      I have abided,
5.    endured in anguish      in endless keels
6.    thrown through the troughs      of towering waves
often obsessed      in the cell of my heart
7.    through night’s narrow watches      as the prows of my ships
8.    dashed beside cliffs.      Cold grasped
9.    my aching feet,      frost clenched my skin,
10.   chilling my bones,      while sorrow burned inward,
11.   hot in my heart:      the hunger within
12.   ate at my spirit,      sick of my wandering
over the ocean.      He whose lot
13.   keeps him on land      can never know
14.   my sorrow and need      on the freezing sea,
15.   how I have endured      the path of the exile,
16.   deprived of my kin,      through winters of pain
17.   hung with grim icicles      while hail scourged the wind.
18.   There I heard nothing      but the roar of the sea,
19.   the crash of the ice road.      The swan’s blare,
20.   did me for games —      the gannet’s cry,
21.   the curlew’s song      for sociable laughter —
22.   the mew’s singing      for the drinking of mead.
23.   There storms beat the stone cliffs,      there the tern answered
the shattering waves      with icy feathers;
24.   often the eagle’s scream      surrounded the storm
25.   with feathers of darkness.      No familiar protector
26.   could bring consolation      to my care riddled spirit.
27.   Yet those who enjoy      a complacent life
28.   secure in their cities,      stately and wine-proud,
29.   cannot comprehend      why I must continue,
30.   however weary,      to wander the sea-path.
31.   Snow swept from the north,      night’s shadows descended,
32.   frost held earth bound,      snow covered the world,
33.   the coldest of grains.      Yet thoughts grip my heart,
34.   need moves my spirit:      I must go by myself
35.   over the salt crests,      the cavernous ocean;
36.   always my mind      moves toward the distance —
37.   my heart beats faster,      I follow its surge
38.   alone as a pilgrim      to land far away.
39.   Yet none is so spirited      nor strong in his courage
40.   nor generous in giving      nor vigorous in youth
41.   nor bold in his actions      nor blessed by his lord
42.   that he has no fears      to follow the sea
43.   to the fate that the Lord      has stored up for him.
44.   The harp does not hold him      nor the hoarding of rings
45.   nor the pleasures of love      nor worldly attainments —
46.   his only thought      is the tossing of waves —
47.   though he has his longings      alone on the sea.
48.   Groves take blossom,      towns come alive,
49.   meadows flourish,      the world is refreshed;
50.   all of this urges      the eager mind
51.   of the veteran traveler      to venture forth
52.   into the distance      over deep seas.
53.   Even the cuckoo,      the warden of summer,
54.   urges him forward      with mournful voice
foreboding sorrow,      the bitter fate
55.   of the innermost heart.      Warriors at home,
56.   blessed with comfort,      can never know
57.   how much the sea-pacer      must suffer and bear
who follows farthest      the path of the exile.
58.   Yet now my heart      hammers my chest,
59.   longs for the journey;      my hungering spirit
60.   soars out wide      over the whale’s turf
61.   to earth’s far corners      and comes back to me
62.   insistant and greedy;      the lone-glider cries
63.   irresistibly pulling      my soul to the whale’s path,
64.   the boundless ocean.      For the bliss of the Lord
65.   is warmer to me      than this waking death
66.   that flickers on land.      I have no faith
67.   in earthly possessions      that pass in a day.
68.   Till the end of life’s tide      one of three things
69.   remains uncertain      in worldly events:
70.   illness or age      or hate driven swords
71.   will take a man’s life      as fate turns its way.
72.   Hence for all men      it is best to accomplish
73.   durable fame,      renown in the world,
74.   among their survivors,      those who speak after
75.   they have departed,      through deeds of courage,
76.   through memorable acts      against the fiends’ malice,
77.   opposing the devil,      earning posterity’s
78.   emulation and praise,      and forever and ever
79.   enjoying the glory      of the angels in heaven,
80.   the triumphant host.      The time has passed
81.   for earthly magnificence      in majestic realms;
82.   now no emperors,      no imperial Caesars,
83.   no givers of gold      do glorious deeds
84.   among their peers      or live in splendor
85.   in lordly dominion      as they did in past ages.
86.   That fraternity has fallen,      the fellowship ended;
87.   weaklings now work      the world they left
88.   in grief and toil.      Grandeur has faded,
89.   earth’s nobility      ages and whithers,
90.   just like mankind      throughout middlearth.
91.   Decrepitude takes them,      all grow pale,
92.   white-headed they lament,      mourn for old friends,
93.   the children of nobles      given to earth.
94.   When life has departed,      the cask of the flesh
95.   tastes nothing sweet,      nor feels any pain,
96.   its hands cannot move,      nor its mind fashion thoughts.
97.   Though brother gives kinsman      a magnificent funeral,
98.   packing the coffin      with precious treasure,
99.   with gold to his tribute,      it won’t travel with him;
100.  no gold can aid      nor gain atonement
101.  for a soul full of sin      in the presence of God,
102.  however he hoards it      here on this earth.
103.  Great is the strength      of God almighty;
His terrible power      turns over this world.
104.  It was He Who established      the earth’s foundations,
105.  spread wide its face      and framed it with heaven.
106.  A fool is he who fears not his Lord,
fated to die without preparation;
107.  Blessed is he whose life is humble,
heaven will grant him its mercy.
108.  The Lord will secure him a steadfast spirit
because he surrenders to the power of God.
109.  A man must control      the heat of his temper,
must find a firm base      for his fierce spirit,
110.  must honor his pledges      and lead a pure life.
111.  Every man      must learn moderation
112.  with friends and with foes,      [in fellowship and] anger.
113.  Though he may not wish      to see his true friends
114.  filled with fire      or burned in the flames,
115.  [yet he must keep patience:]      Fate has more power,
116.  God has more might      than any man knows.
117.  Let us consider      where we have our true home,
118.  then let us reflect      on how to arrive there,
119.  then let us labor      to enter that place,
120.  and there find the blessings,      the beauties of heaven,
121.  where the source of life      is the love of God
122.  in endless peace.      Eternally thank
123.  our Lord in the highest,      that he should so honor us,
124.  the Prince of Glory,      throughout all time.
Amen.

The present rendering consists of a poet’s personal engagement with the text and extensions of Norse verse forms over a period of some 20 years. It makes no claims to scholarship. In translating other Anglo-Saxon poems, notably the Exeter Book riddles, I tried to work with the original order of phrases on the hunch that the Anglo-Saxon poets plotted half lines as a basic device shaping all levels of significance, ranging from rhythm to exposition to stages of epiphany. In one of the most provocative and meaningful workings of Anglo-Saxon poetry, “So For Then Also The Dragon,” which I published in several versions, Don Wellman took a similar approach much farther. My work in this direction lead me to a dead end; Wellman’s does not. In my version of “The Seafarer,” I returned to a more conventional approach, and to such formal properties as alliteration, which I had previously avoided, preferring to emphasize patterns set up by syntax, relative stress, and caesura. In my “Seafarer” working, I played considerably with formal attributes I had previously neglected, and I did so in ways (such as altered and extended alliteration, and assonance) not necessarily present in the original text, just as I allowed myself some of the usual liberties in lexical transference. I also found that half-lines sometimes worked better in Modern English when extended to full lines. By numbering the lines of my working according to the base text, I indicate extensions of this sort by omitting line numbers, so that extended lines have no numbers in the portions extended. I also broke hypermetric lines, presenting the second halves as separate, indented lines. My primary source for the text was the old war-horse, George Philip Krapp and Elliott Van Kirk Dobbie’s The Exeter Book, Columbia University Press, 1936. My efforts with Anglo-Saxon poetry are inextricably bound up with original poems of various sorts, most importantly, Milestones, a series begun in 1970 which take their base in the life of contemporary America as seen while driving cars; and with adaptations of Chinese poetry — particularly in a sequence titled Clouds Over Fortjade in which the activist Tu Fu holds an oblique debate with the quietist Wang Wei, through parallelism and antithesis worked out in screenfolds. My rendering of “The Seafarer” was published in a tiny but magnificently crafted edition by Walter Tisdale, which contained variants in production in different individual copies. The poem as it appears here includes several textual revisions made since the book’s publication. Tisdale also published the first volume ofMilestones, showing his usual sensitivity to context and sequence. May poets everywhere find such sensitivity in their publishers, on the web and in print — as Charles Harrison Wallace shows those whose work appears at this site.

Readers interested in my Light and Dust site, a growing, eclectic, anti-sectarian, multicultural, and multilingual collection of contemporary poetry, may click on this line to check it out. – Karl Young

� Karl Young 1990

all rights reserved

 

anglo-saxon text

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ghel

“Sheela-na-Gig”
from
Celtic Mysteries
John Sharkey

These notes arise from the perception, discussed elsewhere [SSAS], that eorþan sceatas in line 61 of The Seafarer, despite its plural number, does not mean “the surfaces of the world” [Hieatt, 1967], “earth’s far reaches” [Wain, 1980], “surface, region, expanse” (Seven Old English Poems; J.C.Pope, 1981), but is a near equivalent of modern Swedish jordens sköte, ie the “lap” of Mother Nature, a blandly benign personification. The reading of “lap” is adopted by Neville Denny, 1960; and Clair McPherson, 1987, another careful translator, has “corners of the earth”, although a sense of the deep, romantic chasm, located in Coleridge’s Xanadu and reduced by Kane to a rosebud, is missing from these corners. For German Schoss, Professor Breul gives “sprig”, “shoot”, “lap”, “womb”, “flap” and “tax” (of course: there is a persistent association of the “lap” with “treasure”, even if it’s only a ha’penny, as the music hall song put it); and cites the word in combinations such as (im) Schosse seiner Familie, Schosse der Kirche, Schosse der Götter. The connotations of generation, church and heathendom are self-evident, but nobody, to my knowledge, has yet connected German Schoss with Anglo-Saxon sceat. The word’s relationship to Schatz is obvious.

Mother Nature, under many different names, is otherwise the Great Goddess of prehistoric myth. Goddess literature (some titles below, or see this website: here) is familiar enough to need little comment, but it’s worth noting that much of it mourns the supposed shift of authority, in the course of the last thirty-odd thousand years of humanity’s sex wars, from Mother to Father. Perhaps this conjectural pendulum is now starting to swing back; or perhaps sexual reproduction, as we have known it, is about to give way to cloning and genetic engineering. These comments aim only to draw attention to a few points of passing interest. A comprehensively edifying site on these matters is posted by Chris Witcombe; see his views on the Venus of Willendorf, here.

The earliest known human artefacts (a discovery in 1981 at Golan Heights, Israel, is alleged to be at least 230,000 and perhaps up to 800,000 years old — a likely story? Check discussion here or here) of purely aesthetic, non-practical character seem to be representations of the female body. It is not clear to me why these figurines should automatically be described as “goddesses”, and I would have thought that up to, say, about 20,000 BC they are better thought of as manifestations of mankind’s (or womankind’s) slowly evolving sense of self-knowledge — the consequence of apple-eating. Since Eve tasted the fruit before Adam, woman’s awareness preceded that of man, and she retains a greater self-perception of her body and its functions. Doesn’t she? Current opinion, in some quarters, holds that the “Venus” figurines were self-images created by women.

A few millenia further on, the self-knowing Mensch becomes increasingly conscious that it is subject to external forces over which it has no control. It is kicked out of Eden and perplexity sets in. Who, or what, directs these forces? What is the origin and purpose of its existence?

Why does it age and eventually depart, and where does it go? The search for survival begins, and curiosity engenders science, pure and applied. Intellectual necessity begets invention. He, more probably than she, lifts his head — are wolves the only other animals to notice the sky? Dogs will also bark at the full moon — and sees the sun, moon and stars. A vengeful deity is conceived. Man is reborn from woman, but powers exerted by more distant bodies direct life’s daily round. The sun and rain impregnate the earth, the moon regulates ovulation, there are patterns in the stars. Is there some veiled link between the vaults of heaven and the lap of nature?

Such a micro-macrocosmic marriage has been adduced by most societies. The earth is usually female and the sky male, except in Egypt, where, above a prone but ithyphallic god, a sky-goddess spanned the welkin, ingested the sun at evening and gave birth to it at dawn. Further east, the yin-yang cosmic circle symbolises the division between two opposite but equal forces in harmonious stasis and androgynous unity. The upper section is the yang and the lower is the yin. Everything in the universe is shaped by their interaction. They represent the riddle of creation, and symbolise the dualities experienced by mankind: heaven and earth, male and female, light and dark.

There is no evil, and no infernal medieval hell in this concept. The original meaning of the word would seem simply to be “earth”: simultaneously the grave and the lap of creation.The ‘hidden place’ that is “hell” is explained etymologically by John Ayto. The term “goes back ultimately to Indo-European *kel- ‘cover, hide’, which has contributed an extraordinary number of words to English, including apocalypse, cell, cellar, conceal, helmet, hull (‘pod’), occult, and possibly colour and holster. Its Germanic descendant was *khel-, *khal-, (any etymological connection with the Indian goddess Kali?) whose derivatives included *khallo and *khaljo. The first became modern English hall, the second modern English hell — so both hall and hell were originally ‘concealed or covered places’, although in very different ways: the hall with a roof, hell with at least six feet of earth. Related Germanic forms include German Hölle, Dutch hel and Swedish helvete (in which vete means ‘punishment’).” Coincidentally or not, Sw veta means “to know”. Swedish helvete, according to Elof Hellquist, is virtually the same word as Icelandic helvíti, Old Saxon helliwîti and Anglo-Saxon hellewîte. Anglo-Saxon wîte, according to Bosworth-Toller, means “punishment, pain that is inflicted as punishment, torment”. Wîtedom, says the same authority, is “knowledge derived from a superhuman source”, ie revelation; from which it is a small step for an Anglo-Saxon to understand that wisdom, knowledge, and awareness of humanity’s nakedness, are forms of mental torment, hell on earth, and the consequence of forbidden apple-eating. Wîte is also cognate with “witness”, and the implication is that observation, to be observant and observed, underlies the concept of punishment. Self-consciousness is the painful price of knowledge. Ayenbite of Inwit — remorse of conscience, an affliction suffered by those sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.

Sartre, in Huis Clos (almost French for cul-de-sac), noted that “hell is other people”. He had 20th century hells in mind. “Scholars have argued, based on surviving texts, that Hel was not considered an evil deity until Norse beliefs began to be influenced by Christianity … There was no stigma of cruelty attached to her; rather, she appeared to be sad or depressed. Her palace was as imposing as the halls of the gods, and she met the dead souls who came to her with courtesy. They seemed to dwell peacefully in Hel; they were not tortured or mistreated in any way. Nevertheless, by the Viking age, emphasis was placed on Hel’s subjects as criminals — murderers, thieves, adulterers — and others who had not died in battle, and thus had not been carried off by Odin’s Valkyries to the heavenly palace of Valhalla.” These comments fromCompton’s Encyclopedia Online echo Jacob Grimm: “Originally Hellia is not death nor any evil being, she neither kills nor torments; she takes the souls of the departed and holds them with inexorable grip. The idea of a place evolved … the converted heathen without any ado applied it to the Christian underworld, the abode of the damned; all Teutonic nations have done this … because that local notion already existed under heathenism, perhaps also because the church was not sorry to associate lost spirits with a heathen and fiendish divinity.” [p.312]. In her Woman’s Encyclopedia Barbara Walker remarks that “Though Christian theology gave its underworld the name of the Goddess Hel, it was quite a different place from her womb of regeneration. The ancients didn’t view the underworld as primarily a place of punishment. It was dark, mysterious and awesome, but not the vast torture chamber Christians made of it.”

In a more recent work, Hel, the Hidden Goddess of Northern Mythology, two Swedish authors, Gunnel and Göran Liljenroth, have put forward their theory, based partly on a close analysis of the many northern, mainly Scandinavian, place-names which incorporate the element (h)el- or (h)al-, that about 10,000 years ago the land was named for the goddess Hel, whose devotees settled those parts of the continent which are now submerged. The presence of these Ice Age peoples, they maintain, can be traced in numerous existing place-names, of which the most familiar to English speakers will be Helsinki and Elsinore. (Hamlet’s royal seat is an anglicization of Danish Helsingør, across the Sound from what is now the Swedish city of Helsingborg.) There are Swedish provinces called Halland and Helsingland, and countries with similar names are Heligoland and Holland; though Holland may mean holt-land, ie woodland. But more hollows than holts in Holland today. Any significance that Hull, near Wetwang, on England’s east coast, faces Scandinavia?

Click here for Iman Wilkens’ new map of hell.

What song the sirens sang, or what language was spoken in northern Europe during neolithic times, though puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture. If G. and G. Liljenroth may be believed, the word for the world in those days was hel, not a land outside a lost and vanished Eden but fruitfulness identified, a “goddess” called Hel.

We know what she looked like, since her portrait has been left us, carved on stone in a grave passage at Trinity-on-Sea, Brittany, France. This likeness, right, redrawn by Lully Aldworth, appears on p.7 of Hilda Ellis Davidson’s latest study, Roles of the Northern Goddess, 1998. In her introductory overview she is gently critical of Marija Gimbutas, and mentions Robert Graves’s “nebulous goddess in early Celtic literature, on which he was no authority”.


go to part 2

Why does Venus often lack arms?
Magritte’s Natural Knowledge, no date, flanks the Venus of Lespugue, France; 21,000 BC.
click for more on the Lespugue Venus.



Figurine carved in mammoth ivory. Restored.
from The Metamorphosis of Baubo
Winifred Milius Lubell, Vanderbilt UP 1994

bird   divide   man   other   sea   ship   sun

previous goddess and gods

theme index
index of picture collages
main index

“Archaeologists, geneticists and others are … trying to understand … linguistic behaviour and the prototypes of the languages we all speak … the day may yet come when … we may have some idea of the language the builders of Stonehenge spoke.” Stonehenge; D.Souden, English Heritage 1997, p.60.

General Reading List

Ayto, John; Dictionary of Word Origins; Bloomsbury 1990
Baring, Anne and Cashford, Jules; The Myth of the Goddess; BCA 1991
Berntsson, Sonny; Holy Trees in the History of Mankind; article in Liljestenar; published by Historieforum Västra Götaland 2001
Bosworth & Toller; An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary; OUP 1898
Branston, Brian; Gods of the North; Thames & Hudson 1955
Branston, Brian; The Lost Gods of England; Thames & Hudson 1957
Breul, Karl; German and English Dictionary; Cassell 10th ed. 1952
Briard, Jacques; The Bronze Age in Barbarian Europe; RKP, 1979
Duncan, Thomas G; Late Medieval English Lyrics and Carols 1400-1530; Penguin 2000
Ellis [Davidson], Hilda; The Road to Hel; CUP 1943
Ellis Davidson, Hilda; The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe; Routledge 1993
Ellis Davidson, Hilda; Roles of the Northern Goddess; Routledge 1998
Gimbutas, Marija; The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe; Thames and Hudson 1982
Graves, Robert; The White Goddess; Faber 1952
Grimm, Jacob; Teutonic Mythology; 1883, J.S.Stallybrass trans.; Dover reprint 1966.
Hellquist, Elof; Etymologisk Ordbok; Lund 1922
Liljenroth, G & G; Hel: den gömda gudinnan i nordisk mytologi; AMA Förlag 1995
Lubell, Winifred Milius; The Metamorphosis of Baubo; Vanderbilt UP 1994
Nordgren, Ingemar; Nordic Ring-names; Migracijske Teme 1-2, Zagreb 2000
Paquet, Marcel; Magritte; Taschen 2000
Partridge, Eric; Dictionary of Catch Phrases; “keep your hand on your halfpenny (till the right man turns up)”. Late 19th century? With thanks to Nigel Rees. But not in RKP 1977 edition.
Partridge, Eric; Origins; RKP 1958
Partridge, Eric; Shakespeare’s Bawdy; RKP 1956
Riding, Laura and Graves, Robert; A Survey of Modernist Poetry; Heinemann 1927
Rundkvist, M; Järnålderns ringamuletter med knoppar eller vulster (Knobbed or ribbed ring amulets of the Iron Age); Fornvännen 91. Stockholm 1996
Rydberg, Viktor; Teutonic Mythology; Swan Sonnenschein 1889
Turner, Alice K; The History of Hell; Harcourt Brace 1993
Walker, Barbara G; The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets; Harper & Row 1983

cycladic
Four little “goddesses” with neckrings 700-500 BC       Statens Historiska Musem, Sthlm
click on picture for comparison with Cycladic intruder

top

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2001,2009
all rights reserved

1949JJG-PJ

John J. Graham & Peter Jamieson: 1949

The New Shetlander;  No 15 March-April & No 16 May-June, 1949
Lerwick, Shetland Isles

 

FROM “THE SEAFARER”
(After the Anglo-Saxon)

 

I can sing you a sang o me vaeges:
Hou in driech oors, troo days o dadderi,
I hiv dree’d mony stangs ida hert,
Hiv raked ower da haagless seas
Whaur dule hed its hame.
Aft, stivvened wi cowld, I keepit da nightwatch
At da boos o me boat as shu huived
Ida shorebod. Me feet wis pinnished wi frost,
Wis hochbund wi shakkels o ice,
Yet hot wis da toarments happit aroond
Me sea-forfochen an blud-fastin hert.
Him dat’s eart-fast kens no a dis,
Nor hou, waesom an stirned in ice
Frae da onding o hail,
I wintered among da fremd.
Dere I heard nocht bit da brimtud,
Da ice-cowld waves, and anterin sang fae da swan.
For lichtsomeness da scriech o da solan saired me,
Da kittiwakes klaag for lauchter o men,
An uibin o sea-maws instead o da foy.
Whan da vaelensi baert on da banks, da tirrick,
Wi icy fedders, sang fornenst it;
An aft, da erne, wi brim-sabbit wings,
Lowsed a scriech laek a mellishon.
But dere, nane a me ain fok
Could lichten me wanless sowl.
Little vaars he wha lichtsom lives
Ida toun, croose an aglud wi drams,
Wi but little a traachles aroond him,
Hou aft I’ve aandu’d disjaskit on da face o da sea.
Da mirknin kam doon, it moored frae da nort,
Da eart wis happit in haar, an hail wis faain —
Cowldest o hairsts frae da lyft. Yit me hert-tochts
Are tiftin to be awa tae da haaf.
Ta baffel fornenest da stramash o da sea;
An amp at me hert aye iggs
Me speerit to waunder tae unkan laands
Ta seek oot da hame o da fremd.

FROM “THE SEAFARER”
(After the Anglo-Saxon)

Our contributor, “Stooralaand”, has sent the following part of the poem “The Seafarer”, done into Shetlandic, and starting from the place where John Graham left off in his translation in the previous issue: —–

Dir nenn sae heich-minded among men,
Nor yit hanselled wi’ a lokk i’ da waarld
Nor sae braa wi’ yung-bluid,
Nor sae steev in wark, wi’ a mester naar till ‘is hert,
Dat he haena dül in his haaf-vaige —
Da Loard’ll no’ doe muckle fur ‘im.
He tinks na a da harp nor giein rings
Nor yit a da wumman’s waarm lips and breest
Nor a da waarld’s hope,
Nor a owt forbye aless da rowin waves;
Bit aye he tinks lang wha gengs apo da haaf.
Boannie flooers ir athin da widds, fagr ir da toons,
Moors glim wi’ loveliness, da waarld tifts wi’ life;
Aa diss iggs da aaber hert
Ta geng stravaigin, fir da sheeldir ‘at tinks
Ta geng fram apo da mar-gaets.
An da cuckoo waarns wi’ fey voice;
Da spae-burd oa simmer nuns, an murrnd
Wi’ a saad breest. Da man ‘ats weel-aff
Kens na a whit dey pit up wi’
‘At gengs awa fram.
Sae me towt waanders ower whit me hert haes a keepin-apun,
Me inner maroo gengs ower da mar-flöd,
Ower da whaal’s-gaet a da muckle haaf,
Da brodd mar-burns. Dat wye ir da fellisom things a da Loard
Haetter athin me dan diss puir amiss life
Gjaa’n ower da laand. I dunna hadd wi’ it
‘At da walt a da ert’ll aye staand.
Dir tree things aye oon-siccar
Ere a sheeldir’s time comes ta geng awa.
Ill-helt, being oot-aald an depoorpirt,
or da ill-towts a da swird-edge
Takks da braeth frae da fey man —
An sae fur aa da yarls whits roessd
A dem ‘at live an spaek lang eftir diss
Is ‘at he wrocht ere he good apo ‘is wya
Da best things apo da ert fornenst ill-willied men,
Daarin ta doe fornenest swart sheeldirs,
Sae ‘at da sonns a men
Sall roess ‘im aa da days a man,
An ‘is glory live wi’ da heich angels
Fur aye an aye, hellisom hefts a life never-saesin,
Hert’s solya wi’ strang eens.
Days ir gaan bye
Is weel is da sheenin makk-a-doe a ert’s keengdoms.

STOORALAAND (Peter Jamieson)

 

[Shetland Library; Lerwick]

back to other versions

pmtrade

 

WORLD TRADE
1736


An East Indiaman; National Maritime Museum
peter monamy 39 x 32

Thro’ various Climes & to each distant Pole,
In happy Tides let active Commerce rowl,
As our high Vessels pass their watry Way,
Let all the Naval World due Homage pay:
Let Britain’s Ships export an Annual Fleece,
Richer than Argos brought to ancient Greece;
Returning Loaden with the shining Stores,
Which lye profuse on either India’s Shores.


left: an east indiaman; picture attributed to monamy


the east india company flag


an east indiaman: east india company
once attributed to monamy

but actually by john cleveley the elder
c. 1770: credit line: National Maritime Museum, London


Sea Power
Sir Walter Raleigh
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2002, 2008
all rights reserved

amber

The Amber Route

another map

Who were the Hyperboreans of Herodotus?

The British say the British, and the Scandinavians say the Scandinavians, but Stonehenge has to get my vote as the most convincing hub of Hyperborea, which, to Herodotus, meant Farthest North (pace Nansen). Travellers and amber merchants from Greece presumably took the route up north, and then forked left or right when they reached Hamburg. They knew their way around and didn’t need Mercator’s projection.

Stonehenge in 1770

The Temple of Apollo

amber route map from

H.K.Lewis & Co.Ltd, London, 1940

back to bird, ship, sun, sea
go to prehistoric trade route network

pmbapass2


unsigned 39 x 53 painted circa 1725 ?

1704 Gibraltar
1706 Barcelona     1706 Alicante
1708 Dunkirk
1718 Cape Passaro 1

BYNG’s BATTLES

Cape Passaro 2

To the left, a detail of a map of Sicily from Ottens’ Atlas, 1745.

Below, an attempt to reconcile the several ship encounters depicted in the oil painting with Monamy’s pen and wash sketch. There are many differences, and since his handwriting is an almost illegible shorthand scrawl any successful further elucidation seems doomed to be minimal. The descriptive texts by Byng, Charnock et al are also enlisted to try to solve the puzzles.

The engagements separated into boxes 1, 6 and 7 on the previous page, and below, appear to be the most straightforward, followed by box 2. Information becomes progressively less detailed for the remaining boxes, and the ink sketch is no great help, as it represents the actions comparatively realistically, which does not agree easily with the schematic rendering in the painting.

Box 7: The Principe de Asturias, Rear-Admiral Chacon, was an English-built ship formerly named the Cumberland captured by the French in 1707. Built for 80 guns, she carried 70 in Spanish hands. The Grafton first engaged her, then left her for the Breda and Captain to take.




“The Montagu and Rupert took the Volante“: Byng’s despatch.

Box 6: The note to the painting reverses the positions of the Rupert and the Montagu from their places in the sketch. It may be that the identifications in the notes are based on the colours of the squadron ensigns being flown.


“The Montagu and Rupert took the Volante“: sketch.

Box 2: The notes state that one of the two nearer ships of the White is probably the Superbe. In the sketch, below, the names of the Superbe and the Real San Felipe seem reasonably clear, allowing for a creative and arbitrary spelling, but the situation is depicted very differently. What must be an English ship, judging by its ensign, lower left, might possibly represent the Kent.


The Real Phillip and Superbe. Top right, the San Luis and San Fernando galing away from the Barfleur.

From Byng’s despatch: “About one o’clock, the Kent and Superbe engaged the Spanish Admiral (in the Real San Felipe), which with two ships more fired on them, and made a running fight until about three; when the Kent, bearing down upon her, and under her stern, gave her a broadside and went away to leeward of her. Then the Superbe put for it, and laid the Spanish Admiral on board, falling on her weather quarter; but the Spanish Admiral shifting her helm and avoiding her, the Superbe ranged up under her lee quarter; on which she struck to her.” Whether this account is accurately represented in the sketch is for someone with a knowledge of naval battle-tactics to say.


The sketch and the painting are juxtaposed above, showing reasonable correspondence between the engagements located in boxes 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8. Box 5 doesn’t seem to feature in the sketch at all. It is difficult to equate Box 4 with box A in the sketch, since they are not in the same position and involve different numbers of ships. Box 7 appears to be more or less in the same position as the engagement labelled B in the sketch, involving the Principe de Asturias, the Breda and the Captain, as outlined at the top of this page. It is labelled B because there is some doubt as to whether the scribbled names below can be made to read accordingly.


Perhaps the names really do read Captain, P Asturias and Breda, after all.

Boxes 3, 4 (A), 5, and 8 are discussed on the next page.

Cape Passaro 1     Cape Passaro 2     Cape Passaro 3
George Byng & George Walton

Capture of the Real San Felipe by H.Vale
battles pre 1704       battles 1704-1739
battles post 1739
note on sea power

monamy website index