Sunday, September 8, 2013

You think there's any chance of it?

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! This view of London Town might not be as pleasant, pleasing or provocative as the sight of a never-ending street in Paris, but to some of us anglophiles this is a contemporary look at what once was the center of the world. It also has been among the homes to a number of the most remarkable, fascinating, narcissistic and long-gone individuals who remain as vibrant today as they were when, centuries ago, they last felt the breeze in their hair and the sun on their faces. As for the music accompanying this post, one of the songs is directly linked to the film, "The Lion in Winter," about an episode in the lives of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and about whom the words below sort of belong. The second musical piece is here for three or four reasons, which I hope you are bright enough to understand, appreciate, absorb and benefit from yourself.

Their words, not mine

As someone who is too old to feel the passion of youth, but too young to give up on finding lasting love, today I bring you the closing lines from a superb Broadway play, "The Lion in Winter," published by James Goldman in that far away year of 1966.

I doubt anyone reading this post other than myself actually has read the play (surprise me, and say you have), but a few of you may have seen the 1968 film version with Peter O'Toole (playing Henry II), Katharine Hepburn (as Henry's wife in exile, so to speak, Eleanor of Aquitaine) and Anthony Hopkins (as their last surviving son, Richard the Lionheart). And, not to be forgotten, probably the least-known actor among all those who have played James Bond -- Timothy Dalton -- here portraying King Philip of France.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Eleanor, do a bit of research. I think you will be amazed at her history -- astonished, if not genuinely shocked, at what a remarkable woman she was during her lifetime. She has to be one of the most fabulous women who ever walked the Earth, in my not so humble opinion. I doubt there has been one like her since her. Melding the ages by a few hundred years, I usually fancy myself in the image of Percival, but had Eleanor been Guinevere, I would prefer to have been Lancelot.

So, then, read the script, the words. Henry and Eleanor are about to part after having been together with "friends and family" at Chinon in France during the Christmas season in the year of our lord 1183. Imagine yourself, if you are able, to be walking near enough to Henry and Eleanor along the Vienne River in that medieval time -- near enough so that you are able to hear them as they speak to each other. Now, after you have read, have "listened" to them .... can you feel and understand what to be alive really is .... can you, do you?

Henry: We're in the cellar and you're going back to prison and my life is wasted and we've lost each other and you're smiling.

Eleanor: It's the way I register despair. There's everything in life but hope.

Henry: We have each other and for all I know that's what hope is.

Eleanor: We're jungle creatures, Henry, and the dark is all around us. See them? In the corners, you can see the eyes.

Henry: And they can see ours. I'm a match for anything. Aren't you?

Eleanor: I should have been a great fool not to love you.

Henry: Come along; I'll see you to your ship.

Eleanor: So soon?

Henry: There's always Easter Court.

Eleanor: You'll let me out for Easter?

Henry: Come the resurrection, you can strike me down again.

Eleanor: Perhaps I'll do it next time.

Henry: And perhaps you won't.

Eleanor: (Taking his arm, moving to go) It must be late and I don't want to miss the tide.

Henry: (As they go) You know, I hope we never die.

Eleanor: I hope so, too.

Henry: You think there's any chance of it?


A Cuban In London said...

Fascinating post which ties so different strands together that it's a pleasure to delve into each and every one of them. And get lost in them, too. I had the pleasure of visiting Ludlow castle a few weeks ago during my sojourn in Shropshire. There's a lot of history of the various "Henries" who graced the place. In fact there's a rather large and magnificent canvas with Catherine of Aragon first arriving at the town with her subjects.

Loved this post, really did. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

ANITA said...

i will see that movie!!the lion in winther seems such a nice thing!

Thanx Fram:))))

Fram Actual said...

It has occurred to me that had I been born and raised in a country such as England or France, the recorded history of the nation would overpower me. The United States has not been around so long, is much more superficial, has had few truly fascinating individuals in a political sense since the "founding fathers" and to study its history essentially is to study its wars. It is fairly easy to be a student of American history.

On the other hand, I read Will and Ariel Durant's "Story of Civilization" -- all ten thousand pages -- over a period of years. In a sense, it is a very superficial study, yet it is overwhelming. For someone -- like me -- who is fascinated by history and often is absorbed within it to the point of obsession, how does that person manage to live successfully in the present while his mind constantly dwells in the past?

Well, I will leave that question drifting in the wind and simply say I am glad you enjoyed the post, CiL. I am not sure why "The Lion in Winter" entered my mind a few days ago and turned into this post. I guess those last lines from the play are never far from my everyday thoughts, and I am anxious to "be on the road" again and to visit a few castles myself in search of ghosts such as those of Henry and Eleanor.

.... or, perhaps, their hopes became reality and they are just out of sight from those who dwell in the present ....

Fram Actual said...

I am curious, Anita. If you find the film and if you watch it, I hope you will tell me what you think of it -- of the play itself, of the characters, whether or not you would have liked to have known them.

By the way, I enjoyed your last post with its historical paintings and I wondered why you apparently did not choose to allow visitors to leave comments. Or did I miss something?

In the meanwhile, thank you, for your visit and your words here.

ANITA said...

I have seen the movie a long time ago[looked it up at you tube]
And its a very good movie.They had to do wvat they had to do at that time but truth always wins.I think of the ghost and the killing of the king.
Well.Of all persons i know online.You wonder why I deleted tve post and took away the comments?hah hah hah
I got a bad temper Ffam.Whe. someone piss me of I go away for a while.But I will be back.You can be sure of that.
Here we have had an election and our new state govenor is Erna
Solberg.We have not had blue politics in 28 years!That meAns a big change is gonne come.Out with all the fugetives.More money for the already rich.More conservative politics.We will have no more foreigners here eatkng up our money.And I agree.Before i was almost a commu.But now!!Hell

So now Stoltenberg and Støre has to go with their false byrådcratic
Iam off to work.Nice post Fram
That means a harder øo

ANITA said...

Sorry bad spelling.I am writing from my cellphone.I dont bother to log into my lap top.I am tired of the internet.and only wants to seek the mountains and let the chilly woods embrace me.See you soon.When the snow is falling.
Its already here.Tve snow.On hardangervidda:-)

Fram Actual said...

Merely saying a film is "good" is not offering much of an opinion, but if that is your mood and your verdict, so be it. I watched the original version of "The Thomas Crown Affair," with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway last night. That was "great entertainment," while "The Lion in Winter," is a "great story" -- at least, in my opinion. These are two "good" movies, but in very different ways.

Yes, I know you have a temper, Anita. How many times have you left me during the four years we have been visiting each other's blog? But, yes, you always find your way back. And, I am glad you do.

I know little regarding the political landscape of Norway, but I recently read that according to some survey/study, Norway is among the best countries in the world in which to live. Of course, each of us has our own criteria in selecting what is "best" for us in terms of living conditions. I am not sure I could live in any European country for more than a few months. Come to think of it, not living anywhere for more than a few years has been the story of my life.

ANITA said...

Its only in a land of milk and honey the voters choose something different.
Has it been 4 years now with you on the blogs?
Myh ohh myh!
So you plan to choose America for your basecamp and then visit beautiful places.A good idea.Tou should show us again something nice autumm pictures from your place.
About movies.I dont study them hard.Yesterday i watched copland.A movie that fits to truth.
Well.Thers nothing more to say.Thanks for good reply.
Take u always say..

Fram Actual said...

Yes, it is true what you said about voters and a land of milk and honey, Anita.

I arrived on the blogs five years ago last month -- in August 2008 -- and began my own blog about six months later. It seems like an "incarnation" ago. Hmmmm .... I suppose it has been, in a way.

I really have no plan right now, but, I guess, your base camp analogy is a good one. Although, I prefer to distinguish my location as a fire base. There is a difference, you know.

Anyway, in terms of movement, as soon as one obstacle is taken care of which releases me from the shackles of fate, another seems to come out of nowhere and I am again bound by circumstances beyond my control. Besides that, I am indecisive about what to do next or where to go next. It will be late autumn, at best, before current matters are resolved, and I am not sure what to do in terms of the arrival of winter. Autumn and spring are the best times to be out and about, it seems to me, so there is a dilemma unless I settle in somewhere for three or four months.

Well, my drink of choice this summer has been Southern Comfort, so I think I will have one.

Something special ....