Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ubi Sunt 2009

Medieval Anglo Saxon poetry contains a number of works by unknown authors with the theme of "ubi sunt". Ubi sunt is from the Latin for "Where have they gone?" One poem, "The Ruin", goes like this:

This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it
courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.
Roofs are fallen, ruinous towers,
the frosty gate with frost on cement is ravaged,
chipped roofs are torn, fallen,
undermined by old age. The grasp of the earth possesses
the mighty builders, perished and fallen,
the hard grasp of earth, until a hundred generations
of people have departed. Often this wall,
lichen-grey and stained with red, experienced one reign after another,
remained standing under storms...*
Anybody know what town the local police are patrolling? It sure isn't the Gettysburg area. They must have gone down the shore for the weekend because they sure ain't around here!

I guess we know who pulls the strings in the Gettysburg area. Has to be the merchants. They're the only ones having a successful weekend. Well, the police certainly are...wherever they are.

...Bright were the castle buildings, many the bathing-halls,
high the abundance of gables, great the noise of the multitude,
many a meadhall full of festivity,
until Fate the mighty changed that.
Far and wide the slain perished, days of pestilence came,
death took all the brave men away;
their places of war became deserted places,
the city decayed. The rebuilders perished,
the armies to earth. And so these buildings grow desolate,
and this red-curved roof parts from its tiles
of the ceiling-vault. The ruin has fallen to the ground
broken into mounds, where at one time many a warrior,
joyous and ornamented with gold-bright splendour,
proud and flushed with wine shone in war-trappings;
looked at treasure, at silver, at precious stones,
at wealth, at prosperity, at jewellery,
at this bright castle of a broad kingdom...*
[*The Ruin on Wikipedia.]

We suppose, then, that this is the future of Gettysburg. Some time in the future a wanderer might stumble upon the ruins here and compose a song along just those lines. And we know the cause...the abandonment of the people by authority.

Perhaps this also explains why last year there were only 6 arrests.


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