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Monday, 21 August 2017

William Barnes and Bridport; Bridport Harbour; Bridport School of Art; Literary and Scientific Institute

I spent a fascinating morning with Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes Gallery and Archive at the Dorset County Museum. I had booked a three-hour research slot at the Archive, and Marion had, almost miraculously, found the very items I was hoping to study.

I have a special connection with Bridport and West Bay, where my mother lived for twenty-five years, and I had always been interested in Barnes' poem Bridport Harbour, which I first read in the second volume of The Poems of William Barnes, edited by Bernard Jones (1962). Jones has a note on Bridport Harbour, which begins: "Barnes wrote these stanzas for Louisa Colfox who, as she wrote in a letter of thanks on the day after they were written, was trying 'to replenish the empty purse of the Treasurer of the Art School' at Bridport. They were printed by Frost of Bridport in a small, green paper backed booklet with a title page: A POEM,/WRITTEN BY THE/REV. WILLIAM BARNES,/FOR/THE BENEFIT/OF THE/BRIDPORT SCHOOL OF ART. Mrs. Colfox also had the booklet illustrated with views of Bridport Harbour, or West Bay as it became at the wish of the railways which are now leaving it to its fate, and two of these, though not the same two, were pasted into each copy. The text of the poem was signed and dated the 29th July, 1872".

Many years later, I bought a copy of the 1954 Jubilee Year edition of the Dorset Year Book (at Bridport's Saturday Market), which contained Bridport Harbour, and a note on the poem by Giles Dugdale.

Dugdale writes:

"The poem was written 'For the benefit of The Bridport School of Art' which, like the Institute, was founded and fostered by the Colfox family and their friends. William Barnes many times lectured for them to raise funds for its support...The Bridport poem was printed and illustrated by photographs of West Bay, looking east and west. It contained a misprint, as will be seen from the letter he wrote to Mrs. Colfox:

                                                                                                            Came Rectory,

                                                                                                              7th of August, 1872.

Dear Mrs. Colfox,

                I thank you for the booklings. You have made a nice little thing of my rhymes. I hope it will be of some service to the school. The compositor has misread one word. "Crest" in the 5th line should be "crew".          

                            With kind regards all round,

                                                                        Yours truly.

                                                                                     W. BARNES

I was very excited when Marion Tait produced for my inspection an original copy of the rare "bookling". This copy was presented to the Dorset County Museum by Mr. Henry Symonds in May 1931.

I reproduce my hasty photographs of some pages and the two illustrations here (with the permission of the archivist) with the intention that my posting will be linked to the excellent William Barnes Society website.

Marion Tait had also found other relevant items, posters and letters. William Barnes gave lectures and readings at the Literary and Scientific Institute in Bridport:

The members of the Literary and Scientific Institute wanted Barnes to read his poems rather than to give a lecture on a topic of his suggestion which "may not be so generally acceptable".

In Paris and New York - "Wish You Were Here"!

Family photos, just received. Can't keep up with them!

 In New York

A day later, watching the eclipse in Texas and Washington, DC:

In Texas, above

N. with colleague, DC 

In Paris:

Dorchester, Thomas Hardy Country (Facebook)

Although I'm not on Facebook, this seems a useful guide to what's going on in and around Dorchester

"This page is for everyone who loves Dorchester! We will be posting news, photos, stories and more about Dorset's historic county town. Mission -Join us to share stories, ideas, photos and videos of your favourite places in Dorchester. Become part of our community to discuss questions and ideas about visiting, living and working in Dorchester".

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Petrarch, Sir Thomas Wyatt and William Barnes: Sonnet 189, two translations from the Italian

Petrarch, Sonnet 189

Passa la nave mia colma d'oblio
per aspro mare, a mezza notte il verno,
enfra Scilla et Caribdi; et al governo
siede 'l signore, anzi 'l nimico mio.

A ciascun remo un penser pronto et rio
che la tempesta e 'l fin par ch'abbi a scherno;
la vela rompe un vento humido eterno
di sospir', di speranze, et di desio.

Pioggia di lagrimar, nebbia di sdegni
bagna et rallenta le già stanche sarte,
che son d'error con ignorantia attorto.

Celansi i duo mei dolci usati segni;
morta fra l'onde è la ragion et l'arte,
tal ch'incomincio a desperar del porto

Sir Thomas Wyatt's version:

My galley charged with forgetfulness
   Thorough sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
   ‘Tween rock and rock; and eke mine enemy, alas,
   That is my lord, steereth with cruelness;
And every oar a thought in readiness,
   As though that death were light in such a case.
   An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
   Of forced sighs, and trusty fearfulness.
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
   Hath done the wearied cords great hinderance;
   Wreathed with error and eke with ignorance,
The stars be hid that led me to this pain;
   Drowned is reason that should me consort,
And I remain despairing of the port.

William Barnes' translation (from William Barnes of Dorset, Giles Dugdale, 1953)

Barnes included his translation in a letter to Julia Miles (his wife-to-be), dated Mere, December 4, 1826. He tells her that he translated it for amusement, adding that "it suited my case at that that time in some points". 


Another Petrarch Sonnet, Una Candida Cerva, set to music by my great friend, the late Raul Scacchi

La Rochelle, France: Two Paintings of the Port

The Port at La Rochelle, Albert Marquet

Jean Rigaud, The entrance to the Port of La Rochelle

The "Best Places" to Live in the UK: Top Twenty, 2017, Halifax Quality of Life Index

Good news for some...

From Lauen Weymouth,  Love Money via MSN

"The tenth annual Halifax Quality of Life Index has ranked 250 districts across the UK to find out where living standards are highest. The research looked at 24 categories including average earnings, employment, health, life expectancy, personal well-being, education and broadband speed".

West Dorset at No. 15:

"The district of West Dorset, which includes towns such as Dorchester, Sherborne, Bridport and Beaminster, jumped up 19 places this year from position 34 in 2015. It is also ranked as the best place to retire to, due to high life expectancy, good health and general affluence".

Purbeck came No 7:

"This Dorset region, which is home to Corfe Castle, Wool, Swanage and Bovington, scored seventh place this year, after not making the top 50 last year. Much like the rest of Dorset, Purbeck is popular for retirees and families alike, as it is one of the safest, most affluent and picturesque areas in the UK".

Winchester came top:


"The district of Winchester in Hampshire won the top spot in this year's survey. It had one of the highest employment rates in all 250 districts included in the research at 83.1%, compared to a UK average of 73.7%. Crime rates are also among the lowest in the country and the adult population is among the happiest, satisfied, content and least anxious in the UK".

Another article, from The Sunday Times, Money section, August 20, 2017 : Sussex pips Dorset for best retirement

"West Sussex has overtaken Dorset as the best place to retire, according to research from the insurer Prudential last week. The group’s Quality of Retirement Index analyses data about the numbers of pensioners as a proportion of the population of each county; disability-free life expectancy; pension income; and indicators such as crime levels and what the weather is like. The index places Dorset in second place, with East Sussex, Devon and Norfolk following close behind".

Prudential report (pdf)

Last year, Dorset came top - "Best place to retire? Dorset is top of the pops!"

I keep thinking of Grenfell Tower - and the shocking North-South disparities and statistics that were published recently:

People in north England are 20 per cent more likely to die young, New Scientist 

Mississippi Fred McDowell - Write Me a Few Lines, 1969

From Dust-to-Digital

The same year I heard him perform live:

More wonderful blues and jazz videos

Greek Migration to the UK

A little Greece in Britain, Constantinos Zoulas, from eKathimerini

"The largest wave of Greek migration to Britain occurred after 2012. According to data from the UK’s National Insurance Fund, 7,500 Greeks started working in the country in 2012, 9,800 in 2013 and 12,000 in 2015. What kinds of jobs have they taken? “Any kind you can imagine,” said NP, who was among the first new immigrants to arrive. “In England you don’t just find Greeks employed in the finance sector, you also find them working as doctors, directors and musicians. There are Greeks in the construction sector too,” he said, explaining that few back home are aware of “how many thousands of engineers and architects have migrated here from our country, bringing their whole crews along with them.”

Souli, Epirus: Investment in the Historic Region of the Souliots

This could be a huge success story! Long overdue.

From Kathimerini (in Greek)


Chapter 4, from the book below

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Bridport and Dorchester, 19th August, 2017: Carnival and Cider Festival, Good music!

(but that was on September 23, 1651...)

"Hey Jude", Wessex Military Band in Bucky Doo Square, Bridport Carnival

Dorchester Cider Festival:

Carnivores' Hog Roast

The Leggomen, UK Indie Band from Weymouth

Ugo Foscolo, To Zakynthos; A Zacinto; Sonnet on Zante; Ζάκυνθος


Né più mai toccherò le sacre sponde
ove il mio corpo fanciulletto giacque,
Zacinto mia, che te specchi nell'onde
del greco mar da cui vergine nacque

Venere, e fea quelle isole feconde
col suo primo sorriso, onde non tacque
le tue limpide nubi e le tue fronde
l'inclito verso di colui che l'acque

cantò fatali, ed il diverso esiglio
per cui bello di fama e di sventura
baciò la sua petrosa Itaca Ulisse.

Tu non altro che il canto avrai del figlio,
o materna mia terra; a noi prescrisse
il fato illacrimata sepoltura.

English Translation - from

To Zakynthos

I'll never step ashore and feel your beach
the way I felt it as a barefoot child,
or see you waver in the windy reach
of goddess-bearing sea. You were the island
Venus made with her first smile,
Zakynthos, the moment she was born.
No song embraced your leafy sky,
not even his who sang the fatal storm
and how Ulysses, his misfortunes past
and beautiful with fame, sailed home at last.

Some will not return: I too
offend the powers that be, am banned
from home. Oh maternal land,
my words are all I have to send to you

The Hill of Strani: monument inspired by Solomos' Hymn to Liberty


Πλιά στη ζωή δεν θα πατεί το δύστυχο ποδάρι
Τις άγιες όχθες που άγγιζα στα χρόνια τα χρυσά, 
Ω ποθητή μου Ζάκυνθο, που πάντοτε με χάρη
Στο κύμα καθρεφτίζεσαι, στα Ελληνικά νερά.

Η Αφροδίτη ολόλαμπρη από κει μέσα βγήκε 
Κ’ έκαμε με το γέλιο της γόνιμα τα νησιά, 
Οπού απερίγραφτα ο λαμπρός ο στίχος δεν αφήκε 
Τα νέφη σου τα διάφανα, τα δένδρα τα πυκνά, 

Του ποιητή που έψαλλε τη διάφορη εξορία, 
Της μοίρας τ’ άγρια κύματα, που το μικρό νησί 
Ο Οδυσσέας εφίλησε τρανός στη δυστυχία. 

Απ’ το παιδί σου το άχαρο, ω μητρική μου γη, 
Μονάχα το τραγούδι του θα χεις για συντροφιά.
Σ’ εμένα η Μοίρα μου έγραψε αδάκρυτη ταφή.

Another version in a free Greek translation, by Anna Plaisa Antonopoulou:

Compare: Edgar Allen Poe's Sonnet

To Zante

Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take!
How many memories of what radiant hours
At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
How many scenes of what departed bliss!
How many thoughts of what entombed hopes!
How many visions of a maiden that is
No more- no more upon thy verdant slopes!
No more! alas, that magical sad sound
Transforming all! Thy charms shall please no more--
Thy memory no more! Accursed ground
Henceforth I hold thy flower-enameled shore,
O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante!
"Isola d'oro! Fior di Levante!"

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Realities of Brexit?

From EU Observer - Brexit realities dawn in UK

Leaving EU without deal would be no disaster, says thinktank, The Guardian

Hard Brexit 'offers £135bn annual boost' to economy, BBC News

European Court of Justice - "In All But Name", The Observer

Corfu Villages, Gallery of Corfu Village Photographs by Steve Ford


Steve Ford writes:

"Pictures from my travels around the villages of Central Corfu. There are over 100 photographs here and many have never appeared before on the internet or in books. I hope you like them".

Corfu Villages Book Paperback – 2014,

Vitsa Panigyri, Zagori, Greece: Chris King and Paul Duane - Τα πανηγύρια, ένας αμερικανός μουσικός και μια ιρλανδική ταινία

From - Τα πανηγύρια, ένας αμερικανός μουσικός και μια ιρλανδική ταινία, by Barbara Angeli

"It is clear from the film that King is a very demanding musician, but also quite romantic. For him, what was recorded on a 78 rpm record touches perfection. As for Zagori, it seems that he found the opposite of America in the way of life and thought. As he mentions, it is a place that has not been influenced by the Western way of life".


See also: Μια ταινία για το Ζαγόρι και τον Christopher King

"While You Live, Shine" , IMdB

"A moving, powerful journey deep into the oldest music in the Western world, guided by the eccentric musicologist who has dedicated his life to understanding and preserving it. An immersive sonic and visual feast that leaves the viewer feeling they've looked into a way of life that the 21st century has left behind. A call to arms for a different way of listening to music, understanding humanity and living as a community".

More information about the screening

Ο Christopher King έχει ήδη κυκλοφορήσει για το διεθνές κοινό, μια σειρά από ποιοτικές δισκογραφικές συλλογές για την Ελληνική Δημοτική Μουσική, όπως τα «Why The Mountains Are Black» (Γιατί είναι Μαύρα τα Βουνά) και «A Lament For Epirus» (Ένα Μοιρολόϊ για την Ήπειρο), βασισμένες αποκλειστικά σε παλιές ηχογραφήσεις σε δίσκους 78 στροφών. Το πρώτο βιβλίο του, που αφηγείται την ιστορία της γνωριμίας και της μετέπειτα βαθειάς σχέσης του με την Ηπειρώτικη Μουσική, θα κυκλοφορήσει στην Αγγλική γλώσσα το 2018, από τον γνωστό Αμερικανικό Εκδοτικό Οίκο W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Είναι αυτή τη στιγμή, ο παγκοσμίως μεγαλύτερος συλλέκτης δίσκων 78 στροφών με Ηπειρώτικη Μουσική, όπως επίσης ένας μουσικός παραγωγός, βραβευμένος για το έργο του με πέντε βραβεία Grammy.

Ο Paul Duane είναι Ιρλανδός σκηνοθέτης και παραγωγός, με μια σειρά από διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένα ντοκιμαντέρ στο ενεργητικό του.

Η εκδήλωση πραγματοποιείται με την ευγενική οικονομική υποστήριξη του Ριζαρείου Ιδρύματος καθώς και επιχειρηματιών του τουρισμού της περιοχής Ζαγορίου. Τελεί υπό την αιγίδα του Ριζαρείου Ιδρύματος, του Δήμου Ζαγορίου και του Πνευματικού Κέντρου Δήμου Ιωαννιτών. Στην εκδήλωση θα παρευρεθούν και θα απευθύνουν χαιρετισμό, μεταξύ των άλλων και οι βασικοί συντελεστές της, ο σκηνοθέτης Paul Duane και o συγγραφέας Christopher King.

Η αυθεντικότητα της Ηπειρωτικής μουσικής παράδοσης, και ιδιαίτερα αυτής του Ζαγορίου με τα παραδοσιακά πανηγύρια, που αντιστέκεται και μένει αναλλοίωτη στο χρόνο και στις ξένες επιρροές θα προβληθεί σε όλο τον κόσμο μέσα από τη νέα ταινία «While you Live, Shine» («Όσο ζεις, λάμπε») του Ιρλανδού σκηνοθέτη Paul Duane και την δουλειά του Αμερικανού μουσικού ερευνητή Christopher King που ήταν και ο εμπνευστής της....(

"While You Live, Shine" του Ιρλανδού σκηνοθέτη Paul Duane
Ώρα 8 μ.μ., Κυριακή 13 Αυγούστου, 2017

Με την οικονομική υποστήριξη
του Ριζαρείου Ιδρύματος


"While You Live, Shine" of the Irish filmmaker Paul Duane
8 PM Sunday 13 August, 2017

With the financial support
of the Rizarios Foundation