A Middle English Poem About the Assumption

As a footnote to my posts about the last days of Mary, here’s a lovely little Middle English poem about the Assumption. It’s a pretty easy read, but I translated it anyway to clarify a couple of obscure words.

Crist sayde to hur:
“Com, my swete, com, my flour,
Com, my culver, myn owne boure,
Com, my modyr, now wyth me:
For hevyn qwene I make thee.”

Then the body sat up, and lowted to Crist, and sayde:
“My swete sonne, with al my love
I com wyth thee to thyn above;
Wher thou art now, let me be,
For al my love ys layde on thee.”

Translation

Christ visited the body of Mary, and said:
“Come my sweet, come my flower,
Come my dove, come my bower,
Come, my mother, now with me,
For heaven’s Queen I make thee.”

Then the body sat up, bowed to Christ, and said:
“My sweet son, with all my love
I come with you to heaven above:
Where you are now, let me be
For all my love I lay on thee.”

The Dirty Little Secret About Ellen’s Oscar Selfie

You know, this one:

It was a wacky, seemingly spontaneous moment in which Ellen and a bunch of stars took a selfie, and then she urged people to make it the most retweeted photo ever.

And they did! I think it got almost 3 million retweets. That’s the only reason I even know about: it was all over Twitter.

Yeah, that was totally a bought-and-paid-for ad by Samsung for the Galaxy Note 3. And if you retweeted or shared it, you were doing a little unpaid marketing for Samsung. Congratulations!

Samsung spent about $20 million in a promotional deal with ABC, which included featuring the device during the broadcast. They even had their people at the rehearsals teaching Ellen how to use it. It worked, too: Samsung was being mentioned 900 times a minute on Twitter during the broadcast.

Did the stars in the photograph even know they were part of some tacky product placement stunt? If they did, would they have cared?

Try to keep this image in mind next time you hear some celebrity blathering on about freedom of expression or artistic integrity. In the end, entertainment is always about the almighty dollar. That’s not a problem, mind you: I write for a living and expect to be paid. But the pretense that it’s All About The Craft wears thin.

When WH Auden Helped Dorothy Day

Edward Mendelson, WH Auden’s executor, offers this anecdote in his article “The Secret Auden”:

At times, he went out of his way to seem selfish while doing something selfless. When NBC Television was producing a broadcast of The Magic Flute for which Auden, together with Chester Kallman, had translated the libretto, he stormed into the producer’s office demanding to be paid immediately, instead of on the date specified in his contract. He waited there, making himself unpleasant, until a check finally arrived. A few weeks later, when the canceled check came back to NBC, someone noticed that he had endorsed it, “Pay to the order of Dorothy Day.” The New York City Fire Department had recently ordered Day to make costly repairs to the homeless shelter she managed for the Catholic Worker Movement, and the shelter would have been shut down had she failed to come up with the money.

The article has many other examples of Auden’s secretive works of mercy.

Remember, it was Auden who said, “We are all here on earth to help others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.”