Twelfth Night

I happen to love “Twelfth Night” very much. Its wit and sweetness combine to make for a tour de force of magnificence.
Most likely my favorite scene is when Viola/Cesario tells Orsino exactly why women can love as deeply as men, and that it is not only Orsino’s passions that count.
After he rails at her about how fickle women are, Viola ventures to tell him where he gets off… only it doesn’t go as she plans.
Viola: “Ay, but I know —“
Orsino: “What dost thou know?” (can you not sense the torn thought processes of Viola and Orsino’s impatience?)
Viola: “Too well what love women to men may owe
In faith, they are as true of heart as we.
My father had a daughter loved a man,
As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman,
I should your lordship.
Orsino is interested. He never gets to hear much background on his young servant, and perhaps he’s ready for a distraction of sorts after his tormented outburst. “And what’s her history,” he enquires, one imagines, in a desultory sort of way.
And this is where it gets really good. Viola begins to tell him “her sister’s” history:

“A blank, my lord. She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?
We men may say more, swear more: but indeed
Our shows are more than will; for still we prove
Much in our vows, but little in our love.”

It is here that the listener/reader/viewer can sense Viola’s growing knowledge of the hard and cold fact that she is talking about herself. Yes, she was doing that earlier, but these lines have more potency than before. “…concealment, like a worm i’ the bud, feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought.” Viola is living in a concealment, a devouring concealment. Is this what she imagined when she set out to conceal her nature and act like a man? Surely not, but she can now see all the ramifications of this behavior… and they’re not pretty.
Orsino is interested in her story, however:
“But died they sister of her love, my boy?”
Viola reveals the crux of the story:
“I am all the daughters of my father’s house,
And all the brothers too: and yet I know not.”

Here in the tale things could change to tragedy very quickly. Viola’s fate is no longer in her hands. She has chosen concealment, it is feeding upon her, and all she can do is sit smiling at grief (what else is left to her?), “like patience on a monument.” Patience for time to unravel the mess that has been made, and patience for time to tell whether any part of her will die in the process.

Well, now that I’ve thoroughly depressed myself I must be reminded that time mends all in this story. Viola and her brother are reunited (this excites me more than Orsino discovering Viola’s love :-), Viola’s concealment is no more. She does not die of her love… <- That is a much, much better ending than the one found in, say, "Romeo & Juliet."

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Twelfth Night

We watched Kenneth Brannagh’s Twelfth Night Saturday night (thanks to Mama Squirrel at for recommending it).

It was a slower in pace than the Trevor Nunn adaptation, and all the action takes place outside, which was odd. But there were some things we liked better. The slower pace made it easier for our young people to follow.

Here’s a line that is funnier when you know what it means:

Sir Toby asks Andrew Aguecheek:
“…why dost thou not go to church in a galliard, and come home in a coranto? My very walk should be a jig. What dost thou mean? is it a world to hide virtues in? I did think, by the excellent constitution of thy leg, it was form’d under the star of a galliard…”

Galliard and Coranto are both dances. Here’s a link for the galliard:

AFter you’re done thinking about walking to church doing the Charleston or some such thing, here’s a line that’s funnier because we don’t really know what it means:

Feste: I did impeticos thy gratillity; for Malvolio’s nose is no whipstock…

One of the funniest lines:
Fabian: If this were played upon a stage now, I could
condemn it as an improbable fiction.

Phrases I shall encourage the offspring to use in replace of some current popular terms:

Beshrew me! for ‘We’re rocking’

Misprision in the highest degree! for ‘I didn’t do it!’

Good swabber for ‘dude’

Most radiant, exquisite and unmatchable beauty- for ‘Muvver’ a title young Whats-it uses when he’s trying to wheedle

But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

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When Whose-its was, oh, about 19 months old, I heard her call out “Mother,” so I, oddly enough, said, “What?”

She said she wasn’t talking to me, she was talking to her sister Jennyanydots, who was being the mother.

Then she came over, patted my arm reassuringly, and said gently, “That’s just
‘tending. JennyAnyDots just my mother for ‘tend. I still gonna let you be the real
mother, okay?”

So now when she is objecting to some parental edict I have made and chafing against the fact that I _am_ the mother, I can always remind her that made the decision to ‘let’ me be the mother before she was two.

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Securing the blessings of liberty to Posterity

That’s in the Constitution. Apparently some Representatives need to be reminded of this function, however, judging by a quote I found in World magazine’s February 19th issue. Here, for your amusement/frustration/grief, is the opinion of Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn) on the issue of Social Security:
“When does the program go belly up? 2042. I will be dead by then.”

Is it is only his experiences in his life time that matter?

I doubt it. If some large manufacturer were going to emit chemicals into the environment, chemicals that weren’t going to be harmful until 2042, would Mr. Simmons be as apathetic about it? Would he say, “When do these start to harm the environment? 2042. I will be dead by then.”

He would not. He would lose all political clout, and be abused by the Press for being so callous about the future. Political cartoons would be drawn, showing sick children and dying plants over Simmons’ grave in the year 2042.

Because he did not do this, however, nothing will be said. All he did was state, in effect, that he didn’t really care if his children and grand-children (the Posterity referred to in the Constitution) are left with a bankrupt Social Security account, or heavier taxes. He stated that he didn’t really care if Posterity were left with less financial liberty. Why should he?

He will, after all, be dead. His grandchildren won’t be, but they are apparently not worth the trouble of fixing the problem today.

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder… eh, wot?

I suppose I should try to keep in the habit of posting here… but I’m never sure of what to post. Do my posts have a soporific effect? Are they worth the time? And, sighs-I, what should I post about? My life is not thrilling. Now, if I were to write you from a high mountain in Tibet one week and then a British lowland county the next, then things would be different. Because that can’t happen right now, however, I must needs read about the places I wish to see someday. Last week I finished “Bella Tuscany,” the sequel to “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Mayes’ writing was just as luscious, but she (unfortunately) imbibed a bit more in her San Francisco Politically Correct doctrines a bit more than in UtTS. She did have a delicious passage about trying to read in a foreign language, how very difficult that is, and how she now has a greater appreciation for cover art on novels since that is as far as she will get in them.

Last year I read 61 books, an average of five books a month. This was a cheering number. This year has not proved so fruitful yet. I have read a grand total of two books to date. Revealing my gluttonous nature (see the quote the Deputy Headmistress posted today), I am currently working on reading three others:
The New Americans by Michael Barone – I have less than 100 pages left in this, and have no qualms about highly recommending it. It is an excellent look at America’s immigration patterns over the last 150 years. It provides a great deal of data supporting the idea that it’s not the immigration influx that is the problem, that we’re not going through anything new in the history of our country, that it is the way we handle assimilation nowadays that makes it so much more difficult. The way he presents some of his data is redundant, but that’s just a minor annoyance in an otherwise thoughtful and useful book.

The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis – This is a slow read, not because it is dull, but because there is so much to gain from it. Everybody should know how good C. S. Lewis is, so I shan’t attempt praising him more lest I fall prey to using too many exuberant phrases. I simply shall say: Read.

The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer
– This is also a “slower” read, as this is an incredibly practical book that has the reader stopping to contemplate what could be done differently in her life. She has come to the depressing conclusion that there are many things that could be done differently. One slight change has been made (a change revealing the reader’s laziness): there is now a vase on the cabinet in the bedroom, a vase awaiting many lovely plants…. once the temperature rises above freezing, that is. And the reader has also spent some time pummeling through her bedroom clearing some space.

[I am well aware that I switched from first to third person above. Do not ask me why, there was no reason to it.]

Today is a day to do many things. I shall be updating my site, am hoping to respond to Thing-One on Keats, really should get a start on geography homework, and see if I can finish “The New Americans.”

*pokes the Gentle Reader.* I am finished now, you may wake up.

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