Sunday, 9 September 2007

Cuppalot Holds Forth

Myrtale: Empathagenia dear, do try to keep still while Pater Cuppalot is delivering one of his opium-fuelled monologues.
Empathagenia: But M'ma! Why won't he look for a perspective that embraces both the Platonic and the Aristotelian! It does irk me so!

The child in a dress pictured here above is not, in fact, the daughter, Empathogenia, but the son, Pathologicus. Empathogenia is the child dressed as a boy, standing with her hand on the lap of her mother, Myrtale. Her father Cuppalot stands arm on the mantlepiece sporting a fine smoking jacket. Proffessor Hatpins (left) and Thomas de Puggalot (right) make up his standing audience. In the background Hawaki Leafstrain prevents Henry F Tosser from gaining backdoor entry.

(Drawing, presumably by Hogarth, which hung in the White Horse pub, Ditchling. Sorry it's askew. Had a devil of a job taking the photo without light reflecting on it. Also some difficulty in explaining to barlady why I was standing on a chair taking the picture.)

The Song of Dijong

A muse of absurditoire charmant beswozzled my mind and utterethed the whimsical song of Dijon, of the massive harp, which pleases me most fully: I do not spend this hot August morning in busy Brighton But in leafy Ditchling, below the Downs Just as, upon the tip of Tehuti, Auset, leaving beaufully multi-stored Memphis, entrusted the young Heru to the countryfolk of Chemmis village Where Perseus too has his temple Perseus, who similarly found haven on sandy Seriphos, safe from the jealous wrath of Acrisius, floated there from the mouth of the Inachus, his ancestor, the River God who fathered Isis' priests. So do I entrust myself to this ancient Sussex village. And eat your heart out Seriphos, for this is Ditchling, And three turtles are in the village pool. So hot it is this morning that not even they choose to bask on the rocks that range around the water's edge, But float in the cool green Sun-water like islands in the sea. So eat your heart out Seriphos, for these very rocks, these megaliths from some ancient circle, they were petrified when Medusa, the Gorgon, cast here her glance. And mark you, O Seriphos, Surely it was here, in Ditchling, that Perseus came with the sickle, god-given; the three turtles, older still, remember it well. Only the heron, the Heron of Ditchling Pool, is older even than they. Today perhaps flying out somewhere on wide slow-beating wings, or wading silently deep there in the shady private foliage on the far side of the pool - this morning the heron has not been seen. In former times the Soul of the Ditchling Heron resided in a great king, his seat here in Ditchling, while the Beacon stood as Acropolis. The turtles, then too in human form, are his three daughters. The ducks an archestra of comedians, While at other times it was the doves who enchanted the palace with song. The moorehens paced from room to room carrying scrolls in hand and discussing or meditating upon high matters of state, While the coots their brothers padded through herb and vegetable gardens, for they were the king's own farmers. There was in Ditchling in those days a great harpest who played in the palace. His name was Dijon. He loved courgettes and soft, white pillows. He slept in a cave inside Ditchling Beacon. Beneath the Acropolis, with his enormous golden harp by his side. His tall boots were made from India Rubber - the first of their kind. He fell in love with one of the king's one-day-to-be-turtle-daughters, and wrote music for her of such beauty that the gods allowed him to live to the age of 373 so long as he promised to play the song every morning. As his 373rd birthday approached the people of Ditchling were sad that they were about to lose their harpest and not hear any longer his woundrous song, and feeling compassion for them he taught it to the local birds who repeat it once a year at dawn for seven days in May. Dijon then betook himself to his cave, with his harp, and fell asleep, but it is said that he will wake and play again when a cow and a goat are seen to walk along Ditchling highstreet of their own free will. The two animals must then be served golden ale from bronze or pewter dishes. Then Dijon will awake.

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