Tag: Bible

The human heart and face

Friday, 12 August, 2016 0 Comments

On this day in 1827, William Blake died. The English poet, painter, printmaker and visionary was largely unrecognised during his lifetime, but is now considered a pivotal figure in the arts of the Romantic Age. When he was 14, his family decided that he would be apprenticed to an engraver, so his father took him to William Ryland, a highly respected master of the trade. The boy, however, resisted the arrangement telling his father, “I do not like the man’s face: it looks as if he will live to be hanged!” The grim prophecy came true 12 years later.

William Blake’s uncanny ability to expose the face that lies behind the mask resulted in some revealing and enduring paintings and poetry.

A Divine Image

Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal’d
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

William Blake - Nebuchadnezzar

William Blake’s Nebuchadnezzar is a print portraying the Old Testament Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. The story of Nebuchadnezzar tells of a ruler who through hubris lost his mind and was reduced to madness and eating “grass as oxen.”


Angela Merkel: idiot or fool?

Tuesday, 12 January, 2016 0 Comments

The “open borders” migration policy instigated by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s could create a Germany with half its under-40 population consisting of Middle Eastern and North African immigrants and their children. The impact of such a demographic disruption would be explosive writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat in “Germany on the Brink.” He calls on Merkel to close her borders to new arrivals, asks Berlin to give up “the fond illusion that Germany’s past sins can be absolved with a reckless humanitarianism in the present,” and declares:

“If you believe that an aging, secularized, heretofore-mostly-homogeneous society is likely to peacefully absorb a migration of that size and scale of cultural difference, then you have a bright future as a spokesman for the current German government.

You’re also a fool.”

Douthat’s fulmination has shocked Germany’s chattering classes, who regard the New York Times with a kind of childlike awe as if it were a composite of Das Kapital, the Koran and the Bible. The main prints have rushed to translate the column and reader reaction has been enthusiastic, in part because the politically-correct mainstream German media dare not utter or think such thoughts. In the case of the highbrow weekly Die Zeit, the comment sections is filled with endorsements of Douthat’s positon, but part of the discussion is given over to the issue of how to translate that key word “fool”. In the original, “Idiot” was used, but this was later erased and replaced with “Narr.”

Most commentators, by the way, agree with Douthat’s conclusion: “It means that Angela Merkel must go — so that her country, and the continent it bestrides, can avoid paying too high a price for her high-minded folly.” The Duden, the standard dictionary of the German language, translates “folly” as “Narrheit f, Torheit f Verrücktheit f“. The “f” there, by the way, stands for “feminine”. Interestingly, “folly” is preceded in that dictionary by “follow-the-leader”. For many Germans, that’s the dilemma now.


Turn! Turn! Turn!

Thursday, 16 July, 2015 0 Comments

Continuing our summer series on the great albums made 50 years ago, here’s Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds from the band’s second album, which was released in 6 December 1965. The lyrics are adapted word-for-word from Chapter Three of the Book of Ecclesiastes, as found in the King James Version (1611) of the Bible. The song holds the distinction as the only No. hit authored by King Solomon.


The Times They Are A-Changin’ at 50

Wednesday, 12 February, 2014 0 Comments

The Times They Are a-Changin’, the third studio album by Bob Dylan and his first collection to feature only original compositions, was released in 1964. Speaking about the title track, Dylan told the film director Cameron Crowe, “This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads… Come All Ye Bold Highway Men, Come All Ye Tender Hearted Maidens. I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time.”

The Times They Are A-Changin'

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

The Times They Are A-Changin’

The pivotal line of the final verse, “And the first one now will later be last”, has a Biblical ring to it and critics have connected it with the Gospel of Mark, 10:31, “But many that are first shall be last, and the last first.”


Close-up calf

Sunday, 18 November, 2012 0 Comments

“The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won’t get much sleep,” noted Woody Allen. He was commenting on the Old Testament passage: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; […]

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