Farewell to 1800s Britain

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Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby CasaMagni » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:53 pm

Somewhat offbeat perhaps, but Britain's oldest woman died today.

Grace Jones was 113 years old and was the last British survivor of the 1800s. So the era that gave us Keats, Shelley and the rest has now drawn to a close.
St. Agnes' Eve - Ah, bitter chill it was! The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold...
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby Saturn » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:06 am

She had a good innings as they say, how incredible to have lived [just] through 3 different centuries!

With the life-span ever increasing this will become more and more common. I wonder how long people in future will be able to live to with advances in medicine and science, and more importantly would one want to live so long?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:50 am

I agree saturn - who would want to live that long?
3 days ago my own dad passed away after 12 years of suffering terribly. The doctors said he was "the sickest person in St. Petersburg, Florida" and he was only 75. (There are 250,000 people in St. Pete). They weren't exaggerating. He had 2 open heart surgeries, 4 other surgeries, steroids for years, massive diabetes issues, renal issues, blood issues, lung issues, skin issues, food issues, etc....a nightmare for every doctor. I love my dad - he has been the most wonderful father to me - but I also am feeling relief for my mom who cared for him.

As my mom and I stood in the hospital room, seeing my dad on a ventilator, we slowly walked out while they unhooked all the tubes. He continued breathing on his own but no brain activity. When we left the room, I thought "I wish I could help my mom." Then oddly I thought of Keats and a lock of his hair that was taken from him before he died. So I asked for scissors, and cut a lock of my dad's hair for my mom and sister. That made her so incredibly happy.

"How did you ever think of that?" she asked me. I stated, "I was thinking of John Keats, and his hair. It made me think, 'Why not?' "
She said, "It figures...you and Keats!"

He's the man.
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby Saturn » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:46 am

How very sweet and moving. What a really nice idea. People really don't take locks of hair from each other anymore, well maybe from babies only, I've seen my own baby hair!
In those days a lock of hair was exchanged between courting lovers, as a rerembrance of a loved one or a relic of a famous person, like Keats or Beethoven or whoever. Before photographs and when mortality was so high a lock of hair, perhaps stored in a locket was a real and living reminder of someone dear.

Condolences to you and your family by the way, BrokenLyre, nothing makes one feel more their own mortality or vulnerability as the death of a parent.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby marwood » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:37 am

Very moving. My condolences Broken Lyre. When I saw a lock of Keats hair in Rome I just stood staring at it, thinking that's Keats hair!
Amazing feeling.
Take care.
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby Ennis » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:23 am

marwood wrote:Very moving. My condolences Broken Lyre. When I saw a lock of Keats hair in Rome I just stood staring at it, thinking that's Keats hair!
Amazing feeling.
Take care.


My heartfelt sympathy as well, Brokenlyre. I (unexpectedly) lost my dad in the late 80s, and I know how you feel. I wish then I had thought to clip a lock of his hair, but we didn't expect to lose him.

Marwood, I know what you mean about seeing Keats's hair. I thought the same thing when I visited the house in Hampstead in 1990 (it was closed due to renovations when I went back in the summer of 2009 :evil: ) and the apartment in Rome in 2009. I thought both times that that was as close as I could possibly ever get to him - in the physical sense. Those "personal" moments with Keats affects us Keatsians much more intensely than they do the average visitor with an interest in English literature. The gravesite inspired the heaviest feeling; all I could think then was that if anything remained of him, in the corporeal sense, it was probably less than six feet under the ground. Visiting the Non-Catholic Cemetery was extremely depressing to me, more so than #26, but I'd go back in a heartbeat if I could.
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby Cath » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:21 pm

Very sorry to hear that, BrokenLyre. It would have warmed Keats's heart, I think, to hear that he could be some consolation - if anyone understood the pain of physical suffering and familial loss, it's him.
"Why should we be owls, when we can be Eagles?" (Keats to Reynolds, 3 February 1818)
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby Raphael » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:47 pm

Condolences to you Broken Lyre. My brother died in May, and my Mum has a lock of his hair- she said she was going to give me some. I think people were so tender back in the 1800s- what a dear, intimate thing it is to keep a loved one's hair. I wish you and your family well. xx

And yes, John would understand your feelings of loss very well.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:28 am

Every single one of your wonderful replies above has touched me so very, very much. I cannot thank you enough for your kindness. Really - I am deeply moved by the friends I have found here. I apologize for being off topic Saturn, but I feel compelled to say "Thank you, Thank you" because you have truly helped me not feel so alone. Keats once wrote, "I cannot live without the love of my friends." Indeed.
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: Farewell to 1800s Britain

Postby Saturn » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:28 am

Why thank you Brokenlyre, but as Blanche Dubois said "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers", this little community is small but lovers of poetry,and people who have a heart susceptible are always the best people I find.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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