Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Dear Doctor, I Have Read Your Play, published 1830
Dear Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way,
Purges the eyes, and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery!
Your dialogue is apt and smart;
The play's concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
All stab, and everybody dies;
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see;
And for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible
To merits in themselves ostensible,
But--and I grieve to speak it--plays
Are drugs--mere drugs, Sir, nowadays.
I had a heavy loss by Manuel --
Too lucky if it prove not annual--
And Sotheby, with his damn'd Orestes
(Which, by the way, the old bore's best is),
Has lain so very long on hand
That I despair of all demand;
I've advertis'd--but see my books,
Or only watch my shopman's looks;
Still Ivan , Ina and such lumber
My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
There's Byron too, who once did better,
Has sent me--folded in a letter--
A sort of--it's no more a drama
Than Darnley , Ivan or Kehama :
So alter'd since last year his pen is,
I think he's lost his wits at Venice,
Or drain'd his brains away as stallion
To some dark-eyed and warm Italian;
In short, Sir, what with one and t'other,
I dare not venture on another.
I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
The coaches through the street so thunder!
My room's so full; we've Gifford here
Reading MSS with Hookham Frere,
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
Of some of our forthcoming articles,
The Quarterly --ah, Sir, if you
Had but the genius to review!
A smart critique upon St. Helena,
Or if you only would but tell in a
Short compass what--but, to resume;
As I was saying, Sir, the room--
The room's so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres and Wards,
And others, neither bards nor wits--
My humble tenement admits
All persons in the dress of Gent.,
From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
A party dines with me today,
All clever men who make their way:
Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton and Chantrey
Are all partakers of my pantry.
They're at this moment in discussion
On poor De Sta{:e}l's late dissolution.
Her book, they say, was in advance--
Pray Heaven she tell the truth of France!
'Tis said she certainly was married
To Rocca, and had twice miscarried,
No--not miscarried, I opine--
But brought to bed at forty nine.
Some say she died a Papist; some
Are of opinion that's a hum;
I don't know that--the fellow, Schlegel,
Was very likely to inveigle
A dying person in compunction
To try the extremity of unction.
But peace be with her! for a woman
Her talents surely were uncommon.
Her publisher (and public too)
The hour of her demise may rue,
For never more within his shop he--
Pray--was she not interr'd at Coppet?
Thus run our time and tongues away;
But, to return, Sir, to your play;
Sorry, Sir, but I cannot deal,
Unless 'twere acted by O'Neill.
My hands are full--my head so busy,
I'm almost dead--and always dizzy;
And so, with endless truth and hurry,
Dear Doctor, I am yours,

JOHN MURRAY

John Murray? It's Lord Byron, who I think was really Gordon George, but don't quote me. No particular reason why that poem caught my eye today, but I like it. Now I want to see a play.

In Knitting News: Worked a bit on the turquoise scarf which went much faster when I just eyeballed where the drop-four-rows-and-pick-up-the-5th-row-down-yarn stitch went instead of counting. I continue to add and subtract stitches with wild abandon, but I don't care as long as it's not unraveling, which it doesn't seem to be doing, so maybe it's another case of I can't count stitches.

Did I mention I gave up spending money for Lent? Not bills mind you (although I would love to have that conversation with say, PG&E and Cable) so of course, the very first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, I see this. I want it. Not to mention, I spend money like water. Not lots of it, but a fairly steady trickle. Coffee in the morning, lunch, books, yarn, the vending machine down the hall.....lots of little things here and there. I had no idea.

There was a suggestion on KFOG (local radio station) that we give up something random, like, say, punctuation, which appeals to me, but I don't think I could do it, as even text messages make me want to pull out a red pen and fix 'em.

House is on tonight! Scubs looks sad. That Risk Takers/History Makers show on The History Channel followed a 19th century exploration of the Grand Canyon last week, but it was a little too Amazing Race/Survivor for me.

What's up with all the concerts on the PBS stations? Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have a venue for them, but all the time? I'd like a little educational content occasionally. Newsflash for The History Channel. There's more to history than World War II.

I'm getting ready to cancel my subscription to the TV Guide. I can figure out that "various programs" are on during the day without having to verify that with their increasingly useless rag. They're not doing the local stations, their online magazine won't look up movies and programs by the actor, director or name of the movie and tell you all the showings anymore, the SF Chronicle thinks that there' nothing on TV between midnight and 6am (which, possibly, no, but I'd like to see for myself). Thank goodness for the Contra Costa Times TV Guide.

Now if TCM would just fold. AMC doesn't show movies much that I consider classic and you hardly ever see any movies made before 1980 on any of the basic channels. Bah.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Imbrium said...

It can be kind of startling to see where the money goes. I started tracking my spending a couple years ago and I was appaled to find out how much money I spend on dining out (I hate to cook.)

Now, if only make the next step and stop spending so much....

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Julia said...

Amen on the History Channel! I liked the poem, and the sheep photo! But TCM must never be allowed to fold. It just needs to be added to everyone's Basic Cable lineup!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Cute sheep picture!

We your blog readers are very glad you didn't give up punctuation.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Most cable companies have that handy dandy tv guide on the TV. I love that thing. I've never looked back to TV guide.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

I will allow TCM to continue if it's folded into basic cable. It does have the best movies.

Sadly, Astound doesn't have that TV Guide channel, Jennifer. Comcast did, but they wanted both legs and an arm for net and cable access.

Forty Days. I can not spend money (on me) for 40 days. I think.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I should have given up sepnding money for lent. What a great idea! That would be something I would really feel.

4:22 PM  
Blogger lyssa said...

I feel the pain...lately I have been trying to spend less money myself and it is hard! I spend a lot of money on coffee, books, and fiber stuff if I am not really on myself about it.

8:03 PM  

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