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jfp

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About jfp

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  • Birthday February 20

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  • Biography
    jfp = John from Paris [where I've now been "from" for over 28 years]
  • Location
    Paris
  • Interests
    Reading (mainly fiction, in English and French...); baritone in semi-professional choir; pianist.
  • How did you hear about this site?
    Thanks to my Aussie friend Kimberley

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    Male
  1. CASCA Are not you moved, when all the sway of earth Shakes like a thing unfirm? O Cicero, I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds Have rived the knotty oaks, and I have seen The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam, To be exalted with the threatening clouds: But never till to-night, never till now, Did I go through a tempest dropping fire. Either there is a civil strife in heaven, Or else the world, too saucy with the gods, Incenses them to send destruction. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar I/iii
  2. They that have power to hurt and will do none, That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmovèd, cold, and to temptation slow, They rightly do inherit heaven's graces And husband nature's riches from expense; They are the lords and owners of their faces, Others but stewards of their excellence. The summer's flower is to the summer sweet, Though to itself it only live and die, But if that flower with base infection meet, The basest weed outbraves his dignity: For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds. Shakespeare, Sonnet 94
  3. "Whenever I plunge my arm, like this, In a basin of water, I never miss The sweet sharp sense of a fugitive day Fetched back from the thickening shroud of grey.     Hence the only prime     And real love-rhyme     That I know by heart     And that leaves no smart, Is the purl of a little valley fall About three spans wide and two spans tall Over a table of solid rock And into a scoop of the self-same block; The purl of a runlet that never ceases In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces; With a hollow, boiling voice it speaks And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks." "And why gives this the only prime Idea to you of a real love-rhyme? And why does plunging your arm in a bowl Full of spring water, bring throbs to your soul?" "Well, under the fall, in a crease of the stone, Though where precisely none ever has known, Jammed darkly, nothing to show how prized, And by now with its smoothness opalised,     Is a drinking-glass:     For, down that pass,     My love and I     Walked under a sky Of blue with a leaf-wove awning of green, In the burn of August, to paint the scene, And we placed our basket of fruit and wine By the runlet's rim, where we sat to dine; And when we had drunk from the glass together, Arched by the oak-copse from the weather, I held the vessel to rinse in the fall, Where it slipped, and sank, and was past recall, Though we stooped and plumbed the little abyss With long bared arms. There the glass still is. And, as said, if I thrust my arm below Cold water in basin or bowl, a throe From the past awakens a sense of that time, And the glass we used, and the cascade's rhyme. The basin seems the pool, and its edge The hard smooth face of the brook-side ledge, And the leafy pattern of china-ware The hanging plants that were bathing there. "By night, by day, when it shines or lours, There lies intact that chalice of ours, And its presence adds to the rhyme of love Persistently sung by the fall above. No lip has touched it since his and mine In turn therefrom sipped lovers' wine." Thomas HARDY, "Under the Waterfall"
  4. CASSIUS Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life Cuts off so many years of fearing death. BRUTUS Grant that, and then is death a benefit: So are we Caesar's friends, that have abridged His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop, And let us bathe our hands in Caesar's blood Up to the elbows, and besmear our swords: Then walk we forth, even to the market-place, And, waving our red weapons o'er our heads, Let's all cry 'Peace, freedom and liberty!' CASSIUS Stoop, then, and wash. How many ages hence Shall this our lofty scene be acted over In states unborn and accents yet unknown! BRUTUS How many times shall Caesar bleed in sport, That now on Pompey's basis lies along No worthier than the dust! Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, III/i
  5. HORATIO Now, sir, young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, Shark'd up a list of lawless resolutes, For food and diet, to some enterprise That hath a stomach in't; which is no other, As it doth well appear unto our state, But to recover of us, by strong hand And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands So by his father lost; and this, I take it, Is the main motive of our preparations, The source of this our watch, and the chief head Of this post-haste and romage in the land. Shakespeare, Hamlet I/i
  6. Once I am sure there's nothing going on I step inside, letting the door thud shut. Another church: matting, seats, and stone, And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off My cycle-clips in awkward reverence. Move forward, run my hand around the font. From where I stand, the roof looks almost new - Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't. Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce 'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant. The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches will fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? Or, after dark, will dubious women come To make their children touch a particular stone; Pick simples for a cancer; or on some Advised night see walking a dead one? Power of some sort will go on In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; But superstition, like belief, must die, And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky, A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. I wonder who Will be the last, the very last, to seek This place for what it was; one of the crew That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation - marriage, and birth, And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built This special shell? For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognized, and robed as destinies. And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round. Philip Larkin, "Church-Going"
  7. JULIET Alack, alack, is it not like that I, So early waking, what with loathsome smells, And shrieks like mandrakes' torn out of the earth, That living mortals, hearing them, run mad:— O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught, Environed with all these hideous fears? And madly play with my forefather's joints? And pluck the mangled Tybalt from his shroud? And, in this rage, with some great kinsman's bone, As with a club, dash out my desperate brains? O, look! methinks I see my cousin's ghost Seeking out Romeo, that did spit his body Upon a rapier's point: stay, Tybalt, stay! Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, IV/iii
  8. Sexual intercourse began In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me) - Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban And the Beatles' first LP. Up to then there'd only been A sort of bargaining, A wrangle for the ring, A shame that started at sixteen And spread to everything. Then all at once the quarrel sank: Everyone felt the same, And every life became A brilliant breaking of the bank, A quite unlosable game. So life was never better than In nineteen sixty-three (Though just too late for me) - Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban And the Beatles' first LP. Philip LARKIN, "Annus Mirabilis"
  9. "Ah! how unlike those late terrific sleeps, And groans that rage of racking famine spoke; The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps, The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke, The shriek that from the distant battle broke, The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host Driven by the bomb's incessant thunderstroke To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish tossed, Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost! William Wordsworth, "Guilt and Sorrow", stanza XXXIX
  10. The forward violet thus did I chide: Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells, If not from my love's breath? The purple pride Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed. The lily I condemned for thy hand, And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair: The roses fearfully on thorns did stand, One blushing shame, another white despair; A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath; But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth A vengeful canker eat him up to death. More flowers I noted, yet I none could see But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee. Shakespeare, Sonnet 99
  11. When Bishop Berkeley said "there was no matter," And proved it—'twas no matter what he said: They say his system 'tis in vain to batter, Too subtle for the airiest human head; And yet who can believe it! I would shatter Gladly all matters down to stone or lead, Or adamant, to find the World a spirit, And wear my head, denying that I wear it. What a sublime discovery 'twas to make the Universe universal egotism, That all's ideal—all ourselves: I'll stake the World (be it what you will) that that's no schism. Oh Doubt!—if thou be'st Doubt, for which some take thee, But which I doubt extremely—thou sole prism Of the Truth's rays, spoil not my draught of spirit! Heaven's brandy, though our brain can hardly bear it. Lord BYRON, Don Juan, canto XI, stanzas I & II
  12. The leprous corpse, touch'd by this spirit tender, Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath; Like incarnations of the stars, when splendour Is chang'd to fragrance, they illumine death And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath; Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows Be as a sword consum'd before the sheath By sightless lightning?—the intense atom glows A moment, then is quench'd in a most cold repose. Shelley, "Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats", stanza XX
  13. ’Thus Evil triumphed, and the Spirit of Evil, One Power of many shapes which none may know, One Shape of many names; the Fiend did revel In victory, reigning o’er a world of woe, For the new race of man went to and fro, Famished and homeless, loathed and loathing, wild, And hating good--for his immortal foe, He changed from starry shape, beauteous and mild, To a dire Snake, with man and beast unreconciled. ’The darkness lingering o’er the dawn of things Was Evil’s breath and life; this made him strong To soar aloft with overshadowing wings; And the great Spirit of Good did creep among The nations of mankind, and every tongue Cursed and blasphemed him as he passed; for none Knew good from evil, though their names were hung In mockery o’er the fane where many a groan, As King, and Lord, and God, the conquering Fiend did own. Shelley, The Revolt of Islam, canto I, stanzas XXVII & XXVIII
  14. 'Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother. O heart, lose not thy nature. Let not ever The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom. Let me be cruel, not unnatural; I will speak daggers to her, but use none. My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites. How in my words somever she be shent, To give them seals never, my soul, consent! Shakespeare, Hamlet III/ii
  15. She kept a journal, where his faults were noted, And open'd certain trunks of books and letters, All which might, if occasion served, be quoted; And then she had all Seville for abettors, Besides her good old grandmother (who doted); The hearers of her case became repeaters, Then advocates, inquisitors, and judges, Some for amusement, others for old grudges. And then this best and weakest woman bore With such serenity her husband's woes, Just as the Spartan ladies did of yore, Who saw their spouses kill'd, and nobly chose Never to say a word about them more— Calmly she heard each calumny that rose, And saw his agonies with such sublimity, That all the world exclaim'd, "What magnanimity!" Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto I, stanzas XXVIII & XXIX
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