One down, two to go

July 1, 2009 § 3 Comments

Exams!

Portuguese: Dooooone! First thing I did was skip the class today, since I hate reurgitating exams. I do have to write a short paper until the 20th, but most of that’s done, too.

Translation: read one more article, type up Ulla’s stuff, study until my ears are bleeding. A lot of it is really obvious stuff – ‘Subjective translation problems depend on the skill and information of the translator’ ORLY? – but it’s so obvious you wouldn’t even think of writing it in an exam. Also, I need to buy a bilingual dictionary.

Anglistics: another 394 pages to read till the 14th, most of that in textbooks but 76 in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’. (which has amazingly gay subtext, by the way. I love it.) That plus the 200 pages of textbook I’ve read until now to summarize and learn. That shouldn’t be too hard though, I love history, and English history is thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe I should reread ‘Brave New World’, just in case. And ‘Dr Faustus’, definitely. Also, I have to prepare Shakespeare’s Sonnet 19 (Devouring time, blunt thou the lion’s paws) and a Scottish poem, but I’m pretty settled with the rest of my 10 Essential Texts of English Literature.

The Scottish poem! It’s me indulging myself, really. I don’t really get around to knitting much these days – I think in the past week, I’ve done, what, two half-socks? I.e. the second half of the second Mad Cow sock and the first half of a plain stockinette sock. And though I’ve started spinning up Wave’s hair, I don’t really have time for that either. So to satisfy my fibery needs… I selected ‘The Weaving of the Tartan’ by Alice Macdonnel.

The Weaving of the Tartan
I saw an old Dame weaving,
Weaving, weaving
I saw an old Dame weaving,
A web of tartan fine.
“Sing high,” she said, “sing low,” she said,
“Wild torrent to the sea,
That saw my exiled bairnies torn,
In sorrow far frae me.

And warp well the long threads,
The bright threads, the strong threads;
Woof well the cross threads,
To make the colours shine.”
She wove in red for every deed,
Of valour done for Scotia’s need:
She wove in green, the laurel’s sheen,
In memory of her glorious dead.

She spake of Alma’s steep incline,
The desert march, the “thin red line,”
Of how it fired the blood and stirred the heart,
Where’er a bairn of hers took part.
“‘Tis for the gallant lads,” she said,
“Who wear the kilt and tartan plaid:
‘Tis for the winsome lasses too,
Just like my dainty bells of blue.

So weave well the bright threads,
The red threads, the green threads;
Woof well the strong threads
That bind their hearts to mine.”
I saw an old Dame sighing,
Sighing, sighing;
I saw an old Dame sighing,
Beside a lonely glen.

“Sing high,” she said, “sing low,” she said,
Wild tempests to the sea,
The wailing of the pibroch’s note,
That bade farewell to me.
And wae fa’ the red deer,
The swift deer, the strong deer,
Wae fa’ the cursed deer,
That take the place o’ men.”

Where’er a noble deed is wrought,
Where’er the brightest realms of thought,
The artists’ skill, the martial thrill,
Be sure to Scotia’s land is wed.
She casts the glamour of her name,
O’er Britain’s throne and statesman’s fame;
From distant lands ‘neath foreign names,
Some brilliant son his birthright claims.

For ah! – she has reared them amid tempests,
And cradled them in snow,
To give the Scottish arms their strength,
Their hearts a kindly glow.
So weave well the bright threads,
The red threads, the green threads.
Woof well the strong threads
That bind their hearts to thine.

**

Speaking of Scotland: we are so totally going on a road trip through England, Wales and Scotland this summer! More about that at some later point, when we’ve planned more. Though the route was pretty much the first thing we mapped out. Wheeee!

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