Autumn Theme

Get a theme, they say. Pretty pictures are not enough, they say. Well, some of us like pretty pictures. I do have a theme–Latvian stuff. But I’m not a one-trick pony so I like to write about other things, too.

Here in western Washington, we’re getting a reprise of summer. Nights have not been cold enough to make many trees turn color just yet. This morning was foggy and more than a bit chilly. In the afternoon we’re supposed to get short-sleeve weather. We’ll see. Forecasts around here are often wrong. I have to photos from other autumns to get touches of seasonal colors.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold

Sonnet 73, Shakespeare

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel

“To Autumn” John Keats

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.”

Robert Frost

Stone wall by the parking lot at a library branch

I like the way the vines seem to embrace this rock and the moss that seems to be trying to soften the rock’s cold, hard nature. I like letting my imagination take over and go a little wild. Something I need to rein in when doing my posts about Latvia, even the ones about myths and legends.

Shakespeare Quote: A Prince of a Horse

Henry V, Act 3, Scene 7

DAUPHIN I will not change
my horse with any that treads but on four pasterns.
Çà, ha! He bounds from the earth, as if his
entrails were hairs, le cheval volant, the Pegasus, qui
a les narines de feu.
 When I bestride him, I soar; I
am a hawk; he trots the air. The earth sings when he
touches it. The basest horn of his hoof is more
musical than the pipe of Hermes.
ORLÉANS He’s of the color of the nutmeg.
DAUPHIN And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for
Perseus. He is pure air and fire, and the dull
elements of earth and water never appear in him,
but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts
him. He is indeed a horse, and all other jades you
may call beasts.
CONSTABLE Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and
excellent horse.
DAUPHIN It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like
the bidding of a monarch, and his countenance
enforces homage.

Oberon’s Monologue from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(Act 2, Scene 1)

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in...

This is one of my favorite passages from Shakespeare, from one of my favorite of his plays. It’s not the whole monologue. After these few lines, Oberon allows his jealousy, because his wife has adopted a mortal boy, to turn him mean. He anoints his fairy queen, Tatiana’s eyes with a magic potion that will make her fall in love with the first thing she sees, the weaver, Nick Bottom, who has been magically given a donkey’s head.

I had to look up the flowers.

Turns out the oxlips are actually primroses. Theyre also known as cowslips.

Musk rose and eglantine are both species of wild rose.
The name woodbine can apply to a number of different vines, including honeysuckle. I picked this photo because I thought it looks magical.

Weed is a synonym for a garment. So the snake’s enameled skin is a garment that would fit a fairy. If you’ve read novels set during the Nineteenth Century, you might have come across a reference to “widow’s weeds,” in other words, her mourning clothes.

And, of course, the fairy queen is accompanied by her court of, I guess you’d call them fairies-in-waiting. Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed.

In Shakespeare’s day summer was considered to begin on May first, thus, the summer solstice was midsummer, the time when the boundaries between the human world and the fairy world were particularly thin. Fairies could cross over then and meddle in human lives. Hopefully, for the better.