Sunday, 22 January 2017

Aquarius, the water carrier: "this frosty night"

Aquarius, from a set of zodiac plates, designed by James Thornhill* 1711
© British Museum
(of whom more anon.)

This is the penultimate zodiac sign I have featured, and this poem by Robert Graves brings many of their stars together on a frosty night. The  fishy last verse will lead us into Pisces, the twelfth sign, in February.

Star Talk

"'Are you awake, Gemelli,
This frosty night?'
'We'll be awake till reveille,
Which is Sunrise,' say the Gemelli,
'It's no good trying to go to sleep:
If there's wine to be got we'll drink it deep,
But rest is hopeless tonight,
But rest is hopeless tonight.'

'Are you cold too, poor Pleiads,
This frosty night?'
'Yes, and so are the Hyads:
See us cuddle and hug,' say the Pleiads,
'All six in a ring: it keeps us warm:
We huddle together like birds in a storm:
It's bitter weather tonight,
It's bitter weather tonight.'"

 Constellation of Aquarius  (from Secrets of Space)


'What do you hunt, Orion,
This starry night?'
'The Ram, the Bull and the Lion,
And the Great Bear,' says Orion,
'With my starry quiver and beautiful belt
I am trying to find a good thick pelt
To warm my shoulders tonight,
To warm my shoulders tonight.'

'Did you hear that, Great She-bear,
This frosty night?'
'Yes, he's talking of stripping me bare
Of my own big fur,' says the She-bear.
'I'm afraid of the man and his terrible arrow:
The thought of it chills my bones to the marrow,
And the frost so cruel tonight!
And the frost so cruel tonight!'

'How is your trade, Aquarius,
This frosty night?'
'Complaints are many and various
And my feet are cold,' says Aquarius,
There's Venus objects to Dolphin-scales,
And Mars to Crab-spawn found in my pails,
And the pump has frozen tonight,
And the pump has frozen tonight.'"

Star Talk  Robert Graves


The stars of Aquarius  (from ScienceandArt.com)

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