Monday, 30 June 2014

'half a pair of gloves…'

"For this, ere Phoebus rose, he had implor'd
Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd.
But chiefly Love - to Love an altar built,
Of twelve vast French Romances, neatly gilt.
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves;
And all the trophies of his former loves.
With tender Billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
The Pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air."

From The Rape of the Lock  Alexander Pope

Friday, 27 June 2014

Eve's apple

"When Eve upon the first of Men
The Apple press'd with specious cant,
Oh what a thousand pities then
That Adam was not Adamant."

Thomas Hood

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

"this lovely green"

"No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name:
Little, alas, they know or heed
How far these beauties her exceed!
Fair trees! where'er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods, who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race:
Apollo hunted Daphne so
Only that she might laurel grow:
And Pan did after Syrinx speed
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

What wond'rous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass."

from The Garden  Andrew Marvell

Saturday, 21 June 2014

"Sylva, (….to which is annexed Pomona)"

"I this day delivered my Discourse concerning Forest-trees to our Society upon occasion of certain Queries sent us by the Commissioners of his Majesties Navy: being the first Booke that was Printed by Order of the Society, & their Printer, since it was a Corporation:  "  Diary, 15 October 1662

John Evelyn, author of Sylva, by Godfrey Kneller  c. 1687
© The Royal Society

Thursday, 19 June 2014

A Library portrait

"I sat for my picture to Mr Kneller, for Mr Pepys late Secretary of the Admiralty, holding my Sylva in my right hand:  It was upon his long and earnest request; & is placed in his Library: nor did Kneller ever paint better & more masterly work:"

Diary   John Evelyn, edited E. S. de Beer

Monday, 9 June 2014

June 9th, 1698

"I went to Deptford to view how miserably the Tzar of Moscovy had left my house after three moneths making it his Court, having gotten Sir. Cr: Wren his Majesties Surveyor & Mr London his Gardener to go down & make an estimat of the repairs, for which they allowed 150 pounds in their Report to the L: of the Treasury: Then I went to see the foundations of the Hall & Chapell, wharfe & other parts of the Greenwich Hospital: & so returned."

The Diary of John Evelyn  edited by E.S. De Beer

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Ghosts at Ham

"I went yesterday to see my niece in her new principality of Ham.  It delighted me and made me peevish.  Close to the Thames in the centre of all rich and verdant beauty, it is so blocked up, barricaded with walls, vast trees, and gates, that you think yourself a hundred miles off and a hundred years back.  The old furniture is so magnificently ancient, dreary, and decayed, that at every step one's spirits sink, and all my passion for antiquity could not keep them up.  Every minute I expected to see ghosts sweeping by -- ghosts that I would not give sixpence to see, Lauderdales, Tollemaches, and Maitlands.  There is one old brown gallery full of Vandycks and Lelys, charming miniatures , delightful Wouvermans and Poelemburghs, china, japan, bronzes, ivory cabinets, and silver dogs, pokers, bellows, &c., without end.  One pair of bellows is of filagree.  In this state of pomp and tatters my nephew intends it shall remain, and is so religious an observer of the venerable rites of his house, that because they were never opened by his father but once, for the late Lord Granville, you are locked out and locked in, and after journeying all around the house, as you do round an old French fortified town, you are at last admitted through the stable-yard, to creep along a dark passage by the housekeeper's room, and so by a back door into the great hall. "

Correspondence of Horace Walpole
Letter to Lord Montagu, June 11, 1770