Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fancy feathers

Thanks to Sara for sending over this photo: white peacocks strutting their stuff at the Botanical Gardens here.

Al Pacino spoke at Trinity College a few months back, and part of the interview was broadcast. He recited - quite beautifully - this speech from Oscar Wilde's Salome. Salome has demanded the head of John the Baptist, and Herod is trying to wriggle out of his promise...

Salome, thou knowest my white peacocks, my beautiful white peacocks, that walk in the garden between the myrtles and the tall cypress-trees. Their beaks are gilded with gold and the grains that they eat are smeared with gold, and their feet are stained with purple. When they cry out the rain comes, and the moon shows herself in the heavens when they spread their tails.

Two by two they walk between the cypress-trees and the black myrtles, and each has a slave to tend it. Sometimes they fly across the trees, and anon they couch in the grass, and round the pools of the water. There are not in all the world birds so wonderful.

I know that Caesar himself has no birds so fair as my birds.

I will give thee fifty of my peacocks.

They will follow thee whithersoever thou goest, and in the midst of them thou wilt be like unto the moon in the midst of a great white cloud . . .

I will give them to thee, all.

I have but a hundred, and in the whole world there is no king who has peacocks like unto my peacocks.

But I will give them all to thee.

Only thou must loose me from my oath, and must not ask of me that which thy lips have asked of me.

Quite doomed.

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