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?