June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

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…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

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…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

“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,…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

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…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

  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…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

The Amber Route 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…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

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…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

TRANSLATION AND STYLE by Murat Nemet-Nejat [edited] Understanding translation is embedded in the concept of faithfulness. What is a faithful translation? The traditional answer is Platonic, best represented in our day by the critic George Steiner, especially in his introduction to the The Penguin Book of Modern Verse Translation (1966). According to this view, the original poem exists in an ideal, static state, and the translator attempts to transmigrate this ideal totality into the second language. Since two languages never “mesh perfectly,” a translation can never be completely successful; something is lost. Steiner quotes Du Bellay to that effect: “That…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

  Smeaton built his house to last, in stone. It was meticulously planned, all the way, and, remarkably, outlasted the rock it was founded on. When replaced by the Douglass tower, it was dismantled and re-erected in Plymouth, where it may still be seen. EDDYSTONE FOUR 1759-1882 JOHN SMEATON Above, Monamy. Below, a lithograph of Smeaton’s lighthouse, after J.M.W.Turner, 1824. See here. Turner was not influenced by Monamy’s lighthouse paintings, which he had probably never seen; but he seems to have been fully aware of Monamy’s storm scenes. The lithograph comes from Sunday at Home, published 1869. Both the images…

June 12, 2017 Ronald Robinson

Esaias Tegnér & Charles XII Charles XII: on the centenary of his death 1818 Kung Carl, den unga hjelte, han stod i rök och dam. Han drog sitt svärd från bälte och bröt i striden fram. “Hur Svenska stålet biter kom låt oss pröfva på. Ur vägen Moscoviter, friskt mod, I gossar blå.” Och en mot tio ställdes af retad Vasason. Der flydde hvad ej fälldes, det var hans lärospån. Tre konungar tillhopa ej skrefvo pilten bud. Lugn stod han mot Europa, en skägglös dundergud. Gråhårad statskonst lade de snaror ut med hast den höga yngling sade ett ord och…