Bachchan — 141
satyam | September 6, 2008, 9:20 PM | one comment | 0 views

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  1. satyam

    Satyam says:
    September 7th, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Here is one of my favorite bits of poetry from Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale in his Middle English:

    It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,
    For al day meeteth men at unset stevene

    ‘Unset stevene’ is basically an ‘unarranged rendezvous’ as Jill Mann tells us in her magnificent Penguin edition.

    I am however indebted to Harold Bloom for directing his readers to a marvelous paraphrasing of the above by the great Chaucer scholar, Talbot Donaldson:

    “It is good for a man to bear himself with equanimity for one is always keeping appointments one never made.”

    In the Western tradition beginning with Plato to ‘philosophize’ is to learn how to die. In other words one must always await this unexpected appointment. One thinks of Becket’s Vladimir and Estragon who always await Godot even though they do not know when he will arrive.

    Not too long ago I too managed to keep an appointment I had never made. It was a bit surreal. More in my reflection on it later on than it perhaps was at the time. The meeting was brief, ephemeral. Yet there was time for a little Shakespeare to emerge. No matter how unexpected the appointment Shakespeare always has the words to match the moment, the metaphors to guide one along. Once this meeting was over I was unsure if I would ever want another one like this. Why not let one remain vivid in one’s mind, like a dream and all its conjoined ‘unreality’? Why not let one remain as potent as a rich fiction?

    Another appointment? Another life? All in good time…


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