Showing posts with label bard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bard. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Comet


It is a lonely life, the way of the Necromancer... oh, yes. 

Lacrimae Mundi — The Tears of the World.

Merlin: Shall I tell you what's out there?
Arthur: Yes, please.
Merlin: The dragon. A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and complete in a single glance, it would burn you to cinders.
Arthur: Where is it?
Merlin: It is everywhere. It is everything. Its scales glisten in the bark of trees. Its roar is heard in the wind. And its forked tongue strikes like... [lightning strikes]
MerlinWhoa! — like lightning!! — yes that's it.





KING ARTHUR AND THE COMET

We know the legendary King Arthur today as a renowned British king who rode out with the Knights of the Round Table to fight twelve epic battles. He was based in Camelot, the location of which is still debated today. And after receiving a deadly blow in his last battle, was taken to the mythical Isle of Avalon to be healed.

What is less well known is that much of Arthurian legend comes from Geoffrey of Monmouth and other writers from the twelfth century or later. Geoffrey incorporated Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, his magician adviser Merlin, and the story of Arthur’s conception into Arthurian legend. His work has been described as “imaginative” and “fanciful.” How much did he really draw from earlier records, and how much was simply literary invention?




When the earlier records—or those that survive today—are looked at in more detail, there is very little of any substance about Arthur. In fact, journalist Adrian Berry asks a very pertinent question: 

“Why were events before the Arthurian time—the decline of the Roman Empire, with its wars, treaties and assassinations—so precisely measured, as were events after Arthur, while the century in between is filled with fantastic stories about princesses who lived at the bottom of lakes and knights whose severed heads talked from beneath their arms?”

In order to explain this apparent anomaly, Berry has suggested that, “parts of our history are periodically blotted out, with sometimes whole civilizations being eradicated, by impacts of debris from the sky.” Could something cataclysmic have happened in the age of Arthur that was not properly recorded at the time? Has this later been ‘mythologized’ to create the figure we today know as Arthur, and all the stories that come with him?


It is perhaps useful to start at the end of Arthur’s story, namely his supposed death in the middle of the sixth century. Although some researchers associate Arthur with the fifth century, both Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Welsh Annals record Arthur’s demise around AD 540. Geoffrey says that Arthur met his end at the battle of Camlann in AD 542. 

The possibly more trustworthy Welsh Annals (Annales Cambriae) say that Arthur and Mordred (his son or nephew) “fell” at the “strife of Camlann.” Although there is no certainty regarding the dating of the Welsh Annals, most agree that this entry relates to the years 537 or 539.

Interestingly, the earliest sources do not describe Arthur as a king but rather apply a term that has been translated as ‘leader in battle.’

This is backed up by ninth century Welsh cleric Nennius, who draws a distinction between Arthur and the Kings of the British. He also states that at the earlier battle of Mount Badon, Arthur took out 960 men from a single charge, “and no one laid them low save he alone.” He was either superhuman, or there is more to Arthur than meets the eye.

Notwithstanding Arthur’s amazing feats, which could perhaps have been magnified by the bards over the centuries, a number of historical Arthurs have been proposed by various authors. David Hughes, for example, believes that there was a real Arthur that was born in AD 479, became king in 507, and died in 537, whilst Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett believe there were two King Arthurs. 

They provide good evidence of an ‘Arthur I’ figure from the fourth century, who they consider to have been some sort of British-based emperor of Western Europe. They then recount the evidence for a second, more local King Arthur who lived in South Wales from 503 to 579. Their conclusion is that the modern Arthur was a composite of the two.


Wilson and Blackett believe their second Arthur lived through a time during which Britain was devastated by a comet. Their story, taken up on their behalf by more than one author, ends up with the Welsh Arthur emigrating to America to later die in Kentucky and being brought back to Wales to be buried. Far-fetched, some may think, but there is ample evidence that at least a local ruler called Arthmael (‘Iron Bear’) or Arthwys (‘called to lead/instruct’) did exist.

However, a researcher into the sixth century who has rather more academic credentials is Professor Mike Baillie of Queen’s University, Belfast. Professor Baillie has helped to develop the science of dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating. This relatively accurate means to gauge the growth conditions of trees from many thousands of years ago shows that—to quote Baillie and his co-author—“from European oaks, through pine chronologies from Sweden, across to Mongolia, and from California to Chile, dramatic effects in trees have been observed across the years from 536 to 545 AD.”

David Keys has written one book on this very event, titled Catastrophe—An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World. Keys describes the evidence from historic sources, including a persistent dry fog across the Mediterranean, that lasted for 12 to 18 months and caused “a spring without mildness and a summer without heat,” to use the words of one Latin chronicler.

In northern Europe, the Irish Annals record “a failure of bread” in 536 and 539, while the Welsh Annals report that from 537 there were plagues in Britain and Ireland for nearly the next 20 years. 

This was referred to as the Yellow Pestilence. It could be linked to the Justinian Plague, named after Roman Emperor Justinian, which erupted in the eastern Mediterranean in the early 540s.

Other parts of the world were not spared from what was taking place. For example, in South America around this time, the Moche and Nasca cultures were devastated by drought, whilst in the lands of the Maya in Central America there was a lapse in construction and inscription activity. Over in China, there are contemporary records of yellow dust raining like snow, severe drought, unusual summer frosts, massive flooding, and deaths from famine.

In light of these events, David Keys suggests that mankind was hit by one of the greatest natural disasters ever to occur, which led to climate chaos, famine, migration, war, and massive political change on virtually every continent. It displayed all the hallmarks of a nuclear winter. Keys believed that a major volcanic event was probably to blame. Indeed, he favored Krakatoa, in modern day Indonesia, as the prime culprit and even suggested that a loud noise recorded in China in AD 535 might have been the volcano exploding.

Nonetheless, although recently ice core workers have found evidence of mid sixth century volcanic activity, there is also evidence of cometary phenomenon at the time. Astronomers believe that in the period between AD 400 and 600 there was an increased risk from bombardment. Two such astronomers, Victor Clube and Bill Napier, explain that, “the significant feature is not collision with comets themselves, but with their debris.” 

This means that on occasion the Earth would find itself in the wake of a large, active, disintegrating comet, and would experience firsthand the dust and rocks being left behind.

Various scientists have come out in support of cometary influence. Cardiff University researchers have concluded that the event of around AD 535 could have been caused by a comet fragment of around half a kilometer (1640 feet) in size exploding the upper atmosphere. Dallas Abbott of Columbia University has suggested that a similar-sized object broke up and impacted the earth off the coast of Australia around fifteen hundred years ago.

Another researcher, Leroy Ellenberger, has proposed that rather than one major comet-related event, the climatic chaos was caused by “periodic heavy fireball storms, punctuated by recurring Tunguska-class events.” Here he is referring to the strange event in 1908 that caused trees to be toppled like dominoes over a vast swathe of Siberia, while the skies in Europe and Asia were lit up for several nights in a row.

Whatever the theory, there is certainly historical evidence of what scientists call a ‘cosmic vector’—something more than terrestrial volcanic activity causing the climatic chaos. This evidence starts with shooting stars and meteor showers being recorded around AD 530 in China and the Mediterranean, which led one contemporary writer to comment that “something mysterious and unusual seems to be coming on us from the stars.” However, later on there was more specific cometary evidence.

In 538, a comet was sighted according to the historian Edward Gibbon. The comet “appeared to follow the Sagittary: the size was gradually increasing; the head was in the east, the tail in the west, and it remained visible above 40 days. The nations who gazed with astonishment, expected wars and calamities from their baleful influence; and these expectations were abundantly fulfilled.”

Zachariah of Mitylene recorded that in around 538/9, “a great and terrible comet appeared in the sky at evening-time for 100 days.” 

Similarly, medieval historian Roger of Wendover stated that, “in the year of grace AD 541, there appeared a comet in Gaul, so vast that the whole sky seemed on fire. In the same year, there dropped real blood from the clouds, and a dreadful mortality ensued.” Although historians often dismiss this as medieval fantasy, it does appear to tally with other evidence and points towards the heavens as the cause of the climate chaos.

The monk, Gildas, writing around AD 540, recorded that “the island of Britain was on fire from sea to sea … until it had burned almost the whole surface of the island and was licking the western ocean with its fierce red tongue.” This is one of the pieces of evidence used by Wilson and Blackett to support their theory that Britain was ravaged, and in part was rendered uninhabitable, by a comet. They and others think this is why the Saxons had such an easy time settling in Britain—there weren’t many surviving Britons to stop them.

There is also later evidence from John of Asia (554 AD), who described “the world shaking like a tree before the wind for 10 days.” 

The walls of Constantinople collapsed, areas of the eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa were inundated by the sea, while whole nations and cities are said to have been hit by a “rod,” which has been equated by one author to the tail of a comet.

Even Geoffrey of Monmouth gets in on the act, referring to the appearance of “a star of great magnitude and brilliance, with a single beam shining from it. At the end of this beam was a ball of fire, spread out in the shape of a dragon.” Rays of light from this ‘dragon’ stretched towards Gaul and the Irish Sea. This star is said to have appeared three times, and “all who saw it were struck with fear and wonder.” It is unclear when in the sixth century this event took place, but it certainly supports the influence of comets on sixth century life.

It may also provide a link between the Arthurian legend of Geoffrey and what actually may have taken place in the sixth century. Geoffrey is generally considered to have introduced the figure of Uther Pendragon, said to be the father of Arthur. Given that ‘Uther’ is translated as ‘terrible’ (or awful or wonderful), and ‘pen’ means ‘head’, there is good reason to believe Uther Pendragon itself meant, ‘Terrible Head of Dragons,’ with ‘dragons’ being in the plural.

Dragons may well refer to comets and/or fireballs—as can be seen from various graphic depictions of dragon-like comets over the ages. In addition, Chinese records note that when ‘dragons’ passed by, “all the trees were broken.” Leroy Ellenberger has therefore suggested that much of the sixth century ‘dragon’ lore associated with Arthur and Beowulf was inspired by cometary debris detonating in the upper atmosphere.

Given that comets and fireballs are bright objects in the sky, could ancient peoples have linked them to the other rather more stationary bright object in the sky: the Sun? Perhaps the Sun was seen as the terrible head (or leader) of the comets that were plaguing the earth. If so, and if Arthur was indeed the son of Uther, was Arthur actually a comet? Surprisingly, a case can be constructed in favor of this idea.




Professor Baillie, who wrote or co-authored the books Exodus to Arthur and The Celtic Gods—Comets in Irish Mythology, links Arthur and Merlin with the stories of Celtic gods. Baillie concludes that underlying all of these figures there is comet symbolism. For example, he notes that a fifteenth century author described Arthur’s sword ‘Excalibur’ as being “so bright in his enemies eyes that it gave light like 30 torches.” This ‘bright’ blade of Excalibur could potentially represent a comet’s tail.




Furthermore, Arthur was said to lead the Wild Hunt in the Sky. This consisted of a pack of white hounds, sometimes with red ears, that coursed through the skies on thundery nights. 



There is an old tale goes that Herne the hunter,


Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree and takes the cattle
And makes milch-kine yield blood and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner:
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Received and did deliver to our age

This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.





Enter FALSTAFF disguised as Herne

FALSTAFF
The Windsor bell hath struck twelve; the minute
draws on. Now, the hot-blooded gods assist me!
Remember, Jove, thou wast a bull for thy Europa; love
set on thy horns. O powerful love! that, in some
respects, makes a beast a man, in some other, a man
a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love
of Leda. O omnipotent Love! how near the god drew
to the complexion of a goose! A fault done first in
the form of a beast. O Jove, a beastly fault! And
then another fault in the semblance of a fowl; think
on 't, Jove; a foul fault! When gods have hot
backs, what shall poor men do? For me, I am here a
Windsor stag; and the fattest, I think, i' the
forest. Send me a cool rut-time, Jove, or who can
blame me to piss my tallow? Who comes here? my doe?



Arthur is also portrayed in folklore as a rushing wind whose passage cannot be stopped. This could all be seen as further symbolism of comets and cometary debris encountering the earth, and its links to Arthur are strengthened by the later appearance in Arthurian legend of a ‘wasteland’—the kind that might be produced following a close encounter with a ‘cosmic vector’.

Finally, the Welsh Annals stated that in the strife of Camlann in the late 530s “Arthur and Mordred fell, and there was mortalitas in Britain and Ireland.” If both Arthur and Mordred were disintegrating comets rather than human combatants in battle, might that explain the lack of reference to Camlann in Nennius’s list of earthly battles?




One of the flaws with this ‘Arthur-equals-comet’ theory is that Arthur, certainly in later legend, was considered to be a hero figure. In addition, although both Arthur and Mordred “fell” at Camlann, it is Mordred who is portrayed as a notorious villain. 

Indeed, the Welsh Triads say that in one of the three ‘unrestrained ravagings of Britain’, a figure called Medrawd (Mordred) came to Arthur’s court, consumed all the food and drink there, and dragged Guinevere from her throne and struck her.

A broad-minded interpretation of that event could be that Arthur was the earth, Mordred was the arriving comet, and Guinevere (Arthur’s consort) was the Moon, which was struck by cometary debris and briefly varied its orbit.  However, there is a final theory: that Arthur was the Sun and Arthur’s court was our solar system. 

This is supported by the fact that one ancient Celtic sun-god was called Artaois, and that Arthur was described in ancient Welsh tales as having flaming red hair but being clean shaven with hair cropped short. Given that comets were considered to be ‘hairy stars’ due to their tails trailing away from them, logically the sun would be seen as ‘clean shaven.

Whatever the solution, there is good evidence that any volcanic eruptions that contributed to the mid-sixth-century climate catastrophe need to be viewed in light of cometary phenomenon that may have been the primary cause. And given that Arthur is supposed to have died at the very time that this event took place, there is also good reason to attempt to interpret Arthurian legend as a ‘mythologized’ version of events that happened in the sky.

Related

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

In "Myths & Legends"


Avalon in America?

In the late sixteenth century Queen Elizabeth had watched as Spain and Portugal, the Netherlands and France established themselves in the New World. They all made legitimate claims to the Americas that England could not match. Then she consulted her advisor, Dr. John Dee. Dee and his ally Sir Francis…
In "Lost History"
The Return of the Djedi

The Return of the Djedi

In "Ancient Mysteries"

Satire


There are three orders against whom no weapon can be bared—
  • the herald, 
  • the bard, 
  • the head of a clan.

There are three sons of captives who free themselves,—
  • a bard, 
  • a scholar, 
  • a mechanic.


There are three orders who are exempt from bearing arms,—
  • the bard
  • the judge,
  • the graduate in law or religion.

“Now, as I understand it, the bards were feared. They were respected, but more than that they were feared. If you were just some magician, if you'd pissed off some witch, then what's she gonna do, she's gonna put a curse on you, and what's gonna happen? Your hens are gonna lay funny, your milk's gonna go sour, maybe one of your kids is gonna get a hare-lip or something like that — no big deal. 

You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community, it shows you up as ridiculous, lame, pathetic, worthless, in the eyes of your community, in the eyes of your family, in the eyes of your children, in the eyes of yourself, and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were.”


― Alan Moore


The sex tape everyone is talking about! 
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Angel Wicky plays Melania and she gets down and dirty in this VR3000 excluisve



A Plague Upon the House of Plantagenet

"If the subject of a Poem is obscure, or not generally known, or not interesting, and if it abounds with allusions, and facts of this improper, and uninteresting character, the writer who chuses the subject, and introduces those improper, and unaffecting allusions, and facts, betrays a great want of poetical judgment, and taste. Mr. Gray had a vitiated fondness for such insipid fable, narrative, and references."



Based on a Thomas Gray poem, inspired by a Welsh tradition that said that Edward I had put to death any bards he found, to extinguish Welsh culture; the poem depicts the escape of a single bard.


THE BARD. A PINDARIC ODE18 EXPLANATORY13 TEXTUAL




The following Ode is founded on a Tradition current in Wales,
that EDWARD the First, when he compleated the conquest of
that country, ordered all the Bards, that fell into his hands,
to be put to death.

I. 1.

1'Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!3 Explanatory
2'Confusion on thy banners wait,2 Explanatory
3'Though fanned by Conquest's crimson wing2 Explanatory
4'They mock the air with idle state.3 Explanatory
5'Helm nor hauberk's twisted mail,2 Explanatory
6'Nor even thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail1 Textual
7'To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,1 Explanatory
8'From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!'3 Explanatory
9Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride2 Explanatory
10Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay,
11As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side4 Explanatory
12He wound with toilsome march his long array.3 Explanatory
13Stout Gloucester stood aghast in speechless trance:3 Explanatory
14'To arms!' cried Mortimer, and couched his quivering lance.5 Explanatory

I. 2.

15On a rock, whose haughty brow2 Explanatory
16Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,4 Explanatory1 Textual
17Robed in the sable garb of woe,2 Explanatory4 Textual
18With haggard eyes the poet stood;6 Explanatory4 Textual
19(Loose his beard, and hoary hair4 Explanatory
20Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air)6 Explanatory
21And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,1 Explanatory
22Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.
23'Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave,2 Explanatory
24'Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
25'O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave,
26'Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;2 Explanatory
27'Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,1 Explanatory
28'To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.12 Explanatory1 Textual

I. 3.

29'Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,9 Explanatory3 Textual
30'That hushed the stormy main:10 Explanatory3 Textual
31'Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:8 Explanatory3 Textual
32'Mountains, ye mourn in vain5 Explanatory
33'Modred, whose magic song10 Explanatory
34'Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped head.5 Explanatory
35'On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,5 Explanatory
36'Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale:1 Explanatory
37'Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail;2 Explanatory
38'The famished eagle screams, and passes by.3 Explanatory
39'Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,2 Explanatory
40'Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes,3 Explanatory
41'Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,2 Explanatory
42'Ye died amidst your dying country's cries—2 Explanatory
43'No more I weep. They do not sleep.4 Explanatory4 Textual
44'On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,3 Explanatory
45'I see them sit, they linger yet,3 Explanatory
46'Avengers of their native land:1 Explanatory
47'With me in dreadful harmony they join,4 Explanatory
48'And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.'5 Explanatory

II. 1.

49"Weave the warp, and weave the woof,8 Explanatory
50"The winding-sheet of Edward's race.1 Explanatory
51"Give ample room, and verge enough4 Explanatory
52"The characters of hell to trace.3 Explanatory
53"Mark the year and mark the night,1 Explanatory
54"When Severn shall re-echo with affright3 Explanatory
55"The shrieks of death, through Berkeley's roofs that ring,6 Explanatory
56"Shrieks of an agonizing King!6 Explanatory
57"She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,5 Explanatory
58"That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate,1 Explanatory
59"From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs2 Explanatory
60"The scourge of heaven. What terrors round him wait!4 Explanatory
61"Amazement in his van, with Flight combined,4 Explanatory
62"And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.2 Explanatory3 Textual

II. 2.

63"Mighty victor, mighty lord,1 Explanatory6 Textual
64"Low on his funeral couch he lies!3 Explanatory6 Textual
65"No pitying heart, no eye, afford1 Explanatory6 Textual
66"A tear to grace his obsequies.1 Explanatory1 Textual
67"Is the sable warrior fled?3 Explanatory
68"Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
69"The swarm that in thy noon-tide beam were born?4 Explanatory6 Textual
70"Gone to salute the rising morn.2 Explanatory6 Textual
71"Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,7 Explanatory6 Textual
72"While proudly riding o'er the azure realm7 Explanatory6 Textual
73"In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;6 Explanatory6 Textual
74"Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;7 Explanatory6 Textual
75"Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,8 Explanatory6 Textual
76"That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening-prey.6 Explanatory6 Textual

II. 3.

77"Fill high the sparkling bowl,3 Explanatory
78"The rich repast prepare,2 Explanatory
79"Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:3 Explanatory
80"Close by the regal chair3 Explanatory
81"Fell Thirst and Famine scowl3 Explanatory
82"A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.5 Explanatory6 Textual
83"Heard ye the din of battle bray,3 Explanatory
84"Lance to lance, and horse to horse?2 Explanatory1 Textual
85"Long years of havoc urge their destined course,2 Explanatory
86"And through the kindred squadrons mow their way.2 Explanatory
87"Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,5 Explanatory6 Textual
88"With many a foul and midnight murther fed,2 Explanatory1 Textual
89"Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame,
90"And spare the meek usurper's holy head.4 Explanatory6 Textual
91"Above, below, the rose of snow,5 Explanatory
92"Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:4 Explanatory
93"The bristled Boar in infant-gore5 Explanatory
94"Wallows beneath the thorny shade.2 Explanatory
95"Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed loom,
96"Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.3 Explanatory

III. 1.

97"Edward, lo! to sudden fate2 Explanatory
98"(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun)2 Explanatory
99"Half of thy heart we consecrate.7 Explanatory
100"(The web is wove. The work is done.)"1 Explanatory
101'Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn4 Explanatory6 Textual
102'Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to mourn:4 Explanatory7 Textual
103'In yon bright track, that fires the western skies,1 Explanatory6 Textual
104'They melt, they vanish from my eyes.1 Explanatory6 Textual
105'But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height1 Explanatory8 Textual
106'Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?3 Explanatory6 Textual
107'Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,2 Explanatory
108'Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!3 Explanatory
109'No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail.5 Explanatory6 Textual
110'All-hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail!8 Explanatory6 Textual

III. 2.

111'Girt with many a baron bold3 Explanatory6 Textual
112'Sublime their starry fronts they rear;4 Explanatory6 Textual
113'And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old1 Explanatory
114'In bearded majesty, appear.2 Explanatory4 Textual
115'In the midst a form divine!7 Explanatory
116'Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line;6 Explanatory4 Textual
117'Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,3 Explanatory6 Textual
118'Attempered sweet to virgin-grace.2 Explanatory
119'What strings symphonious tremble in the air,2 Explanatory1 Textual
120'What strains of vocal transport round her play!1 Explanatory1 Textual
121'Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear;4 Explanatory
122'They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.1 Explanatory1 Textual
123'Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,3 Explanatory4 Textual
124'Waves in the eye of heaven her many-coloured wings.1 Explanatory

III. 3.

125'The verse adorn again1 Explanatory3 Textual
126'Fierce war and faithful love,4 Explanatory
127'And truth severe, by fairy fiction dressed.4 Explanatory
128'In buskined measures move6 Explanatory3 Textual
129'Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,4 Explanatory
130'With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.2 Explanatory4 Textual
131'A voice, as of the cherub-choir,5 Explanatory
132'Gales from blooming Eden bear;2 Explanatory
133'And distant warblings lessen on my ear,2 Explanatory
134'That lost in long futurity expire.3 Explanatory
135'Fond impious man, think'st thou, yon sanguine cloud,4 Explanatory
136'Raised by thy breath, has quenched the orb of day?4 Explanatory
137'Tomorrow he repairs the golden flood,7 Explanatory
138'And warms the nations with redoubled ray.3 Explanatory
139'Enough for me: with joy I see2 Explanatory
140'The different doom our fates assign.4 Explanatory
141'Be thine despair and sceptered care;1 Explanatory
142'To triumph, and to die, are mine.'2 Explanatory1 Textual
143He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height3 Explanatory
144Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night.4 Explanatory3 Textual

Gray's annotations

4
Mocking the air with colours idly spread.
    Shakespear's King John. [V. i. 72]
5
The Hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail, that sate close to the body, and adapted itself to every motion.
9
— [By] The crested adder's pride.
    Dryden's Indian Queen. [III. i. 84]
11
Snowdon was a name given by the Saxons to that mountainous tract, which the Welch themselves call Craigian-eryri: it included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden[,] speaking of the castle of Conway built by King Edward the first, says, ''Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery [At the source of the River Conway on the slope of Mt. Erery];'' and Matthew of Westminster, (ad ann. 1283,) ''Apud Aberconway ad pedes montis Snowdoniae fecit erigi castrum forte [Near (or at) Aberconway at the foot of Mt. Snowdon, he caused a fortified camp to be constructed.].''
13
Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward.
14
Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore. They both were Lords-Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and probably accompanied the King in this expedition.
18
['... haggard, wch conveys to you the the Idea of a Witch, is indeed only a metaphor taken from an unreclaim'd Hawk, wch is called a Haggard, & looks wild & farouche & jealous of its liberty.' Letter to Wharton, 21 Aug. 1755, T & W no. 205.]
19
The image was taken from a well-known picture of Raphael, representing the Supreme Being in the vision of Ezekiel: there are two of these paintings (both believed original), one at Florence, the other at Paris.
20
Shone, like a meteor, streaming to the wind.
    Milton's Paradise Lost. [i. 537]
35
The shores of Caernarvonshire opposite to the isle of Anglesey.
38
Cambden and others observe, that eagles used annually to build their aerie among the rocks of Snowdon, which from thence (as some think) were named by the Welch Craigian-eryri, or the crags of the eagles. At this day (I am told) the highest point of Snowdon is called the eagle's nest. That bird is certainly no stranger to this island, as the Scots, and the people of Cumberland, Westmoreland, &c. can testify: it even has built its nest in the Peak of Derbyshire. [See Willoughby's Ornithol. published by Ray.] [John Ray (1627-1705) published (1676) and translated (London, 1678) the Ornithologia of his patron Francis Willughby (1635-72).]
40
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops,
That visit my sad heart—
    Shakesp. Jul. Caesar. [II. i. 289-90]
47
See the Norwegian Ode, that follows. [Fatal Sisters]
54
Edward the Second, cruelly butchered in Berkley-Castle [in 1327 near the Severn River in western England].
57
Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous Queen.
59
Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.
64
Death of that King, abandoned by his Children, and even robbed in his last moments by his Courtiers and his Mistress [Alice Perrers, in 1377].
67
Edward, the Black Prince, dead some time before his Father [in 1376].
71
Magnificence of Richard the Second's reign. See Froissard, and other contemporary Writers.
77
Richard the Second, (as we are told by Archbishop Scroop and the confederate Lords in their manifesto, by Thomas of Walsingham, and all the older Writers)[,] was starved to death [in 1400]. The story of his assassination by Sir Piers of Exon, is of much later date.
83
Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster.
87
Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward the Fifth, Richard Duke of York, &c. believed to be murthered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Caesar.
89
[Consort] Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her Husband and her Crown.
[Father] Henry the Fifth.
90
Henry the Sixth very near being canonized. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the Crown.
91
The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster [presumably woven above and below on the loom].
93
The silver Boar was the badge of Richard the Third; whence he was usually known in his own time by the name of the Boar.
99
Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her Lord [she is supposed to have sucked the poison from a wound Edward I received] is well known. The monuments of his regret, and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places.
109
It was the common belief of the Welch nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy-Land, and should return again to reign over Britain.
110
Both Merlin [Myrddin] and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welch should regain their sovereignty over this island; which seemed to be accomplished in the House of Tudor [1768].
Accession of the House of Tudor [1757].
117
Speed relating an audience given by Queen Elizabeth to Paul Dzialinski, Ambassadour of Poland, says, 'And thus she, lion-like rising, daunted the malapert Orator no less with her stately port and majestical deporture, than with the tartnesse of her princelie checkes.' [John Speed (1552-1629) published his History of Great Britaine ... to ... King James in 1611.]
121
Taliessin, Chief of the Bards, flourished in the VIth Century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his Countrymen. [His Book exists in only a thirteenth-century version and many of the poems in it may not be by Taliessin.]
126
Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralize my song.
    Spenser's Proëme to the Fairy Queen [l. 9].
128
Shakespear.
131
Milton.
133
The succession of Poets after Milton's time.

Works cited

  • The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. Reprinted edition. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1903 [1st edition 1891].
  • Gray: Poetry and Prose. With essays by Johnson, Goldsmith and others. With an Introduction and Notes by J. Crofts. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1948 [1st ed. 1926].
  • Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited by W. C. Eppstein. London and Glasgow: Blackie & Son Ltd., 1959.
  • Eighteenth-Century Poetry. An Annotated Anthology. Edited by David Fairer and Christine Gerrard. Blackwell annotated anthologies. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
  • The Works of Thomas Gray: In Prose and Verse. Ed. by Edmund Gosse, in four vols. London: MacMillan and Co., 1884, vol. i.
  • Thomas Gray: Selected Poems. Ed. by John Heath-Stubbs. Manchester: Carcanet New Press Ltd., 1981.
  • The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Roger Lonsdale. Longman Annotated English Poets Series. London and Harlow: Longmans, 1969.
  • The Poems of Gray and Collins. Edited by Austin Lane Poole. Revised by Leonard Whibley. Third edition. Oxford editions of standard authors series. London: Oxford UP, 1937, reprinted 1950 [1st ed. 1919].
  • Selections from the Poetry and Prose of Thomas Gray. Ed. with an introduction and notes by William Lyon Phelps. The Athenaeum press series. Boston: Ginn & company, 1894.
  • The Complete English Poems of Thomas Gray. Edited with an Introduction and Notes by James Reeves. The Poetry Bookshelf series. London: Heinemann; New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973.
  • The Complete Poems of Thomas Gray: English, Latin and Greek. Edited by Herbert W. Starr and J. R. Hendrickson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966.
  • Gray's English Poems, Original and Translated from the Norse and Welsh. Edited by Duncan C. Tovey. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1922 [1st ed. 1898].