Jul 26, 2008

...And Be You Blithe and Bonny...

These last several days and nights, my human has been spending some good and happy time in the Real. During that time, she has taken what she now lovingly refers to as "me days", which means that she takes time off from her work, goes out of the house (so as to completely remove herself from the temptation of doing household chores on these days off), and does only what she wants to do. She has found that this helps her maintain her balance and assists in making her a better wife and mother. The planned - and not-infrequent (once every six-eight weeks or so) - "me time" is de rigueur now.

During these last two days, she found herself exploring some of the local spots near her home. On the first day, she discovered a lovely used book store. The scent of leather and aging paper filled her nostrils as she began her perusal of the stacks. As she flipped through the volumes, she realized the one missing thing in this bookstore was the ever-present cat. "Who is keeping the mice at bay?" she wondered. My human had already found several books for herself and members of her family when she spotted the little navy blue tome on the shelf. Not much bigger than an index card and only about 1/2 inch thick, the book's gold lettering still read plainly, Men and Women - By Robert Browning. JM Dent and Co. Opening the cover gently, the publication date was 1855. "First Edition" it said! The pages are in remarkably good shape - why even the small red ribbon, which serves as the book mark is fully intact. Thrilled, she paid the attendant and nearly danced out of the store with her books tucked gently in her arms.

The area in which she was exploring holds many Victorian era homes and artifacts. So it was pleasant to look up from where she was sitting one morning to see a favorite painting (pleasant - but not really surprising).

Spring in Victoria

I have posted this painting in Red Rose before as we have discussed Spring and love. And I am most pleased to post it again as an excerpt from Men and Women is posted. It seems more than appropriate.

In Three Days
by Robert Browning

So, I shall see her in three days
And just one night, but nights are short,
Then two long hours, and that is morn.
See how I come, unchanged, unworn!
Feel, where my life broke off from thine,
How fresh the splinters keep and fine,---
Only a touch and we combine!

Too long, this time of year, the days!
But nights, at least the nights are short.
As night shows where ger one moon is,
A hand`s-breadth of pure light and bliss,
So life`s night gives my lady birth
And my eyes hold her! What is worth
The rest of heaven, the rest of earth?

O loaded curls, release your store
Of warmth and scent, as once before
The tingling hair did, lights and darks
Outbreaking into fairy sparks,
When under curl and curl I pried
After the warmth and scent inside,
Thro` lights and darks how manifold---
The dark inspired, the light controlled
As early Art embrowns the gold.

What great fear, should one say, "Three days
That change the world might change as well
Your fortune; and if joy delays,
Be happy that no worse befell!"
What small fear, if another says,
"Three days and one short night beside
May throw no shadow on your ways;
But years must teem with change untried,
With chance not easily defied,
With an end somewhere undescried."
No fear!---or if a fear be born
This minute, it dies out in scorn.
Fear? I shall see her in three days
And one night, now the nights are short,
Then just two hours, and that is morn.

Alexandre DeFaux - Courting Couple in a Rowboat.

I was also reminded of this painting from an older post entitled, The Logistics of Kissing, which somehow seems so fitting as my human and I read our first editions of Mr. Browning's Men and Women.

Be you blithe and bonny!