17 October 2006
Is a Puzzlement
Awhile back I confessed that I can't stand to leave a question unanswered until the mania passes. Yesterday in preparation for today is a classic example. It started with noting that October 21 is the anniversary of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. How you can get from there to the King and I, politics and Budhism is the perfect example a gypsy brain on adrenalin making word associations.
Thinking about the anniversary led to the paintings of William Turner and the argument as to whether Nelson said, Kismet Hardy or Kiss Me Hardy. Either way, Nelson was dead, so the following by Robert Lewis Stevenson was appropriate:
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
Here he lies where he long’d to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
From there you make the leap to the story of why Stevenson died in Samoa, the lyrics to Rule Britania for a sing along at your neighborhood pub, the nature of leadership with Shakespeare's St. Crispin's Day speech which was an entirely different war. From there to another time and another tormented ruler, King Monghut, who was first featured in a somewhat embroidered history by Anna Leonowens to support her children that then became Anna and the King of Siam and finally resulted in "The King and I" with Yul Brynner lamenting a truism on the nature of politics:
Shall I join with other nations in alliance?
If allies are weak, am I not best alone?
If allies are strong with power to protect me,
Might they not protect me out of all I own?
Is a danger to be trusting one another,
One will seldom want to do what other wishes;
But unless someday somebody trust somebody
There'll be nothing left on earth excepting fishes!
The curiosity chain is still running to Budha, Samoa, the Battle of Britain, Sink the Bismark ... o never mind, you go do something useful, I'm busy. :-)