So, would you rather visit Tory party conference or the 1660 Foire de Saint-Germain?

Given the choice (we believe in choice). Featuring castanets, monkeys, marionettes, and human and tortoise castles.

These tumblers are said to have come from Holland, but they sound like (apprentices of) Venetians, of whom more another day:

La belle foire Saint-Germain
Aujourd’hui se ferme, ou demain:
Ainsi, trêve de castagnettes,
De singes, de marionnettes;
Trêve de ces sauts périlleux,
Trêve de ces tours merveilleux.

Hath suffered a we-change:

The splendid fair of Saint Germain,
Here today, or gone demain:
And so, a truce of castanets,
Of monkeys, and of marionettes;
A truce of those bold parlous leaps,
A truce of marvellous human heaps.

Illiterate Southern Occitans and the UNESCO mafia would have you believe that biological pyramids were invented towards the end of the War of the Spanish Succession at Valls, just up the River Francolí from Tarragona. Sed testudines nos non assentimur:

the Tortoise Brothers and their incredible Pyramid of Death

Organ-grinding tweets for August 2017

The latest barrel organ news from Hackney, London.

[:en]Rhyme vs reason[:]

[:en]Restif de la Bretonne goes one step beyond Shakespeare and says that poetry is the language of Gods and beasts, and that reason speaks in prose.[:]

[:en]I’m neither a logician nor a Shakespeare scholar, but I think that the following from The comedy of errors means that there can be rhyme without reason, and reason without rhyme, but that the two are not necessarily incompatible:

Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?

I’ve been reading Restif de la Bretonne’s Le nouvel Abeilard recently, basically because of an interest in the fairy tales (and particularly the first known version of demi-coq) included therein. In it he goes a step further and makes rhyme and reason mutually exclusive:

–Mais, mon Ami, voila déja bien des fois que j’ai envie de te demander, Pourquoi la Rivière, le Coq, le Loup & le Renard ne parlent-ils donc qu’en rimes?
–C’est, ma chère Phylis, que la Poésie est le langage des Dieux & des Bêtes. La Raison ne parle qu’en prose.

Aka Rétif opens with an epigraph from Pope ( “The art of writing, Abeilard, was doubtless invented/By the captive loveress and the agitated lover./Everything lives by the heat of an eloquent letter/Feeling is painted by the fingers of the lover” ), so I suppose this might be another reference to our own poxy dwarf and thence heroic coupler, who in 1714 “in an ungrateful and splenetic fit” wrote

I should be sorry and ashamed to go on jingling to the last step, like a waggoner’s horse, in the same road, and so leave my bells to the next silly animal that will be proud of them. A man makes but a mean figure, in the eyes of reason, who is measuring syllables and coupling rhymes.

The same Monthly review review of some tract called Aesthetische Gespraeche also points to the blind French poet-courtier Houdar de la Motte’s campaign against the use of rhyme in tragedy, without which the French apparently regarded it “not only as unpleasing, but unnatural.” Wikipedia implies that La Motte was struggling against excess rather than against rhyme per se. Anyway, I’m off to sing trad jazz, where the issues are not in doubt.[:]