Why Keats?

July 19th, 2012

Ah, the vagaries of Google. For some reason, despite all the ink I give on this blog to fashion history, costuming, music, and random 19th-century literature, the bulk of the people who visit my site are looking for John Keats. I swear he isn’t here.

I wonder what I’d do with him if he were? Probably a quarantine…

Me & Keats

Speaking of romantic poets who died in unfortunate circumstances, I recently learned that John Clare spent his final years in an insane asylum, where his most famous poem was written.

Me & Emily

November 18th, 2011

Last year, someone pointed out that I bear a passing resemblance to the great American poetess, Emily Dickinson.

me & emily

What do you think? Could I play her in the biopic? I think my mouth is too wide and my face is differently shaped…but I can definitely see some similarities as well. Of course, given the choice, I’d rather be able to write like Emily Dickinson than look a little bit like her, but I will take what I can get.

“Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.”

The Bridesmaid

October 23rd, 2011

O Bridesmaid, ere the happy knot was tied,
Thine eyes so wept that they could hardly see;
Thy sister smiled and said, “No tears for me!
A happy bridesmaid makes a happy bride.”
And then, the couple standing side by side,
Love lighted down between them full of glee,
And over his left shoulder laugh’d at thee,
“O happy bridesmaid, make a happy bride.”
And all at once a pleasant truth I learn’d,
For while the tender service made thee weep,
I loved thee for the tear thou couldst not hide,
And prest thy hand, and knew the press return’d,
And thought, “My life is sick of single sleep:
O happy bridesmaid, make a happy bride!”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Just two days ago, I was proud to stand among the lovely bridesmaids while my oldest friend (in duration, not age) exchanged vows with the love of her life. She was breathtaking in a beaded white gown, blushing beneath the bridal veil her mother once wore. Here’s to the happy couple! May their union endure and blossom through the years.

Having one’s picture taken repeatedly, sobbing through a wedding ceremony, toasting, and dancing can really wear a bridesmaid out. By the end of the evening, I was ready to collapse into a handy chair. (I wasn’t quite as tired as I look — my eyeliner ran a bit when I teared up.)

The Bridesmaid

Isn’t that the prettiest bridesmaid dress you’ve ever seen? I’m very lucky to have a friend who likes purple as much as I do. And there was something Madame X (or at least Gigi does Madame X) about the neckline too…which I admit I accentuated on purpose by nipping in the waist when I altered the dress.

De Duve

October 13th, 2011

Ladies Companion 1853
Illustration from The Ladies Companion, 1853

The Dove,
As an Example of Attachment to Home.

The dove let loose in Eastern skies,
Returning fondly home,
Ne’er stoops to earth her wing, nor flies
Where idler warblers roam.

But high she shoots, through air and light,
Above all low decay,
Where nothing earthly bounds her flight,
Nor shadow dims her way.

So grant me, Lord, from every snare
Of sinful passion free,
Aloft through virtue’s purer air,
To steer my course to thee.

No sin to cloud, no lure to stay
My soul, as home she springs;
Thy sunshine on her joyful way,
Thy freedom on her wings.

– General Protestant Episcopal S. S. Union, 1849

Ode to an Onion Tart

October 11th, 2011

Finished Tart


OF tarts there be a thousand kinds,
So versatile the art,
And, as we all have different minds,
Each has his favorite tart;
But those which most delight the rest
Methinks should suit me not:
The onion tart doth please me best,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

Where but in Deutschland can be found
This boon of which I sing?
Who but a Teuton could compound
This sui generis thing?
None with the German frau can vie
In arts cuisine, I wot,
Whose summum bonum breeds the sigh,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

You slice the fruit upon the dough,
And season to the taste,
Then in an oven (not too slow)
The viand should be placed;
And when’t is done, upon a plate
You serve it piping hot,
Your nostrils and your eyes dilate,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

It sweeps upon the sight and smell
In overwhelming tide,
And then the sense of taste as well
Betimes is gratified:
Three noble senses drowned in bliss!
I prithee tell me, what
Is there beside compares with this?
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

For if the fruit be proper young,
And if the crust be good,
How shall they melt upon the tongue
Into a savory flood!
How seek the Mecca down below,
And linger round that spot,
Entailing weeks and months of woe,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

If Nature gives men appetites
For things that won’t digest,
Why, let them eat whatso delights,
And let her stand the rest;
And though the sin involve the cost
Of Carlsbad, like as not
‘T is better to have loved and lost,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

Beyond the vast, the billowy tide,
Where my compatriots dwell,
All kinds of victuals have I tried,
All kinds of drinks, as well;
But nothing known to Yankee art
Appears to reach the spot
Like this Teutonic onion tart,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

So, though I quaff of Carlsbad’s tide
As full as I can hold,
And for complete reform inside
Plank down my hoard of gold,
Remorse shall not consume my heart,
Nor sorrow vex my lot,
For I have eaten onion tart,
—Ach, Gott! mein lieber Gott!

by Eugene Field

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