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About jfp

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  • Birthday February 20


  • Biography
    jfp = John from Paris [where I've now been "from" for over 28 years]
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    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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  1. To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V scene v
  2. April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, My cousin’s, he to
  3. ANTONY Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest— For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men— Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Br
  4. ANTONY O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man That ever lived in the tide of times. Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood! Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,— Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips, To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue— A curse shall light upon the limbs of men; Domestic fury and fierce civil strife Shall cumber all the parts of Italy; Blood and destruction shall be so in use And dreadful objects so familiar That mothers shall but smile
  5. ‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller, Knocking on the moonlit door; And his horse in the silence champed the grasses Of the forest’s ferny floor: And a bird flew up out of the turret, Above the Traveller’s head: And he smote upon the door again a second time; ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said. But no one descended to the Traveller; No head from the leaf-fringed sill Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes, Where he stood perplexed and still
  6. The first chapter of Part II of Charles Moore’s presumably definitive biography of Margaret Thatcher is entitled “Liberal imperialist”. The title of the last chapter is “The last victory”. The titles are astutely chosen: this second volume covers the five years between the British victory in the Falklands War (1982) and Mrs Thatcher’s third general election victory (1987). Charles Moore’s biography is to be seen as a labour of love: not necessarily love for its subject, but most emphatically love for the biographer’s art. A work of art it certainly is, with painstaking atten
  7. For the second time (following her win with The Blind Assassin in 2000), Margaret Atwood has (jointly) scooped the Booker prize for a novel which will doubtless not be remembered as being among her best. There are those that say the sequel to – or spin-off from (opinions differ…) – The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t have been written. The open ending of The Handmaid’s Tale was gaping wide open, and was an essential element in the whole novel. But now that ambiguous ending has been rendered less so, albeit with a lack of details. And it seems abundantly clear that the sequel/spin-
  8. MACBETH I am sick at heart, When I behold—Seyton, I say!—This push Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now. I have lived long enough: my way of life Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf; And that which should accompany old age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath, Which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. Shakespeare, Macbeth V/iii (This will be my last post on BGO. In this increasingly uncertain world, I wish you all well.)
  9. OTHELLO Soft you; a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know't. No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Ara
  10. Come into the garden, Maud, For the black bat, night, has flown, Come into the garden, Maud, I am here at the gate alone; And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, And the musk of the rose is blown. For a breeze of morning moves, And the planet of Love is on high, Beginning to faint in the light that she loves On a bed of daffodil sky, To faint in the light of the sun she loves, To faint in his light, and to die. All night have the roses heard The flute, violin, bassoon; All night ha
  11. I had a dove and the sweet dove died ; And I have thought it died of grieving : O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied, With a silken thread of my own hand's weaving ; Sweet little red feet! why should you die - Shy should you leave me, sweet dove ! why ? You liv'd alone on the forest-tree, Why, pretty thing ! could you not live with me ? I kiss'd you oft and gave you white peas ; Why not live sweetly, as in the green trees ? John KEATS, "Song"
  12. GERTRUDE Sweets to the sweet! Farewell. I hop'd thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife; I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid, And not have strew'd thy grave. LAERTES O, treble woe Fall ten times treble on that cursed head Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense Depriv'd thee of! Hold off the earth awhile, Till I have caught her once more in mine arms. [Leaps in the grave.] Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead Till of this flat a mountain you have made T' o'ertop old Pelion or the skyish head Of blue Olympus. Shakespear
  13. This empty street, this sky to blandness scoured, This air, a little indistinct with autumn Like a reflection, constitute the present - A time traditionally soured, A time unrecommended by event. But equally they make up something else: This is the future furthest childhood saw Between long houses, under travelling skies, Heard in contending bells - An air lambent with adult enterprise, And on another day will be the past, A valley cropped by fat neglected chances That we insensately forbore to fleece. On this we blame
  14. My heartfelt advice would be not to read either of them... You're not supposed to say so, of course, given the subject matter, but both books are distinctly overrated, and distinctly boring. (And poorly written... I read them in the original French... )
  15. We were a noisy crew, the sun in heaven Beheld not vales more beautiful than ours, Nor saw a race in happiness and joy More worthy of the ground where they were sown. I would record with no reluctant voice The woods of autumn and their hazel bowers With milk-white clusters hung; the rod and line, True symbol of the foolishness of hope, Which with its strong enchantment led us on By rocks and pools, shut out from every star All the green summer, to forlorn cascades Among the windings of the mountain brooks. From William Wordsworth, The Prelu
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