domingo, 6 de noviembre de 2016

IN MEMORIAM GUSTAVI ADOLPHI 2016 - I

Since this is the Fourth Centennial year, now we'll go for something completely different: a little crossover mashup with pre-Lützen cooing and post-Lützen tension (or: the one where Gustavus and Eleanor are Othello and Desdemona, while Wallenstein may be Iago and Herr Oxenstierna ---Moor or less--- does Cassio, but there is no cheating plot involved; rather, only the story about the risk of losing a loved one).


A LITTLE "MOOR" CONVERSATION, PLEASE!
or
The One Where Othello Gets Inevitably Crossed Over With The Battle of Lützen (or, at Least, the Eve and the Aftermath of the Battle)


Scene the First: Weissenfels, early November 1632
At the feet of the local keep. Queen Eleanor awaiting her spouse.
Trumpet within
The King! I know his trumpet.
Axel
'Tis truly so.
Eleanor
Let's meet him and receive him.
Axel
Lo, where he comes!
Enter GUSTAVUS and Attendants
Gustavus
Oh my fair warrior!
Eleanor
My dear Gustavus!
Gustavus
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. Oh, my soul's joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
may the winds blow till they have waken'd death!
And let the labouring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high and duck again as low
as hell's from heaven! If it were now to die,
'twere now to be most happy; for, I fear,
my soul hath her content so absolute
that not another comfort like to this
succeeds in unknown fate.
Eleanor
The heavens forbid
but that our loves and comforts should increase,
even as our days do grow!
Gustavus
Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content;
it stops me here; it is too much of joy:
And this, and this, the greatest discords be...
Kissing her after each "and this"
...that e'er our hearts shall make!
Come, let us to the castle.
News, friends; our wars on Friedland sure are done.
How does my old acquaintance of this land?
Honey, you shall be well desired in Leipzig;
I have found great love amongst them. O my sweet,
I prattle out of fashion, and I dote
in mine own comforts. 
Come, Eleanora,
once more, well met in Leipzig.
Exeunt GUSTAVUS, ELEANOR, and Attendants

Scene the Second: Weissenfels, 6th of November 1632.
The Queen's bedchamber, where she is with her lady in waiting.
Ebba
How goes it now? he looks gentler than he did.
Eleanor
He says he will return incontinent:
He hath commanded me to go to bed,
and bade me to dismiss you.
Ebba
Dismiss me!
Eleanor
It was his bidding: therefore, good Frau Ebba,
give me my nightly wearing, and adieu:
We must not now displease him.
Ebba
I would you had never seen him!
Eleanor
So would not I my love doth so approve him,
That even his stubbornness, his cheques, his frowns--
Prithee, unpin me,--have grace and favour in them.
Ebba
I have laid those sheets you bade me on the bed.
Eleanor
All's one. Good faith, how foolish are our minds!
If I do die before thee prithee, shroud me
In one of those same sheets.
Ebba
Come, come you talk.
Eleanor
My mother had a maid called Kasia:
She was in love, and he she loved proved mad
and did forsake her: she had a song of 'willow;'
an old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune,
and she died singing it: that song tonight
will not go from my mind; I have much to do,
but to go hang my head all at one side,
and sing it like poor Kasia. Prithee, dispatch.
Ebba
Shall I go fetch your night-gown?
Eleanor
No, unpin me here.
Singing The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Sing all a green willow:
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow:
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur'd her moans;
Sing willow, willow, willow;
Her salt tears fell from her, and soften'd the stones;
Lay by these:--
Singing
Sing willow, willow, willow;
Prithee, hie thee; he'll come anon:--
Singing
Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,-
Nay, that's not next.--Hark! who is't that knocks?
Ebba
It's the wind.
Eleanor
Singing I call'd my love false love; but what
said he then?
Sing willow, willow, willow:
If I court more women, you'll couch with more men!
So, get thee gone; good night, your eyes do itch;
doth that bode weeping?
Ebba
'Tis neither here nor there.
Eleanor
I have heard it said so. Oh, these men, these men!
Dost thou in conscience think,--tell me, Frau Ebba,--
That there be women do abuse their husbands
In such gross kind?
Ebba
There be some such, no question.
Eleanor
Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?
Ebba
Why, would not you?
Eleanor
No, by this heavenly light!
Ebba
Nor I neither by this heavenly light;
I might do't as well i' the dark.
Eleanor
Wouldst thou do such a deed for all the world?
Ebba
The world's a huge thing: it is a great price
for a small vice.
Eleanor
In troth, I think thou wouldst not.
Ebba
In troth, I think I should; and undo't when I had
done. Marry, I would not do such a thing for a
joint-ring, nor for measures of lawn, nor for
gowns, petticoats, nor caps, nor any petty
exhibition; but for the whole world,--why, who would
not make her husband a cuckold to make him a
monarch? I should venture purgatory for't.
Eleanor
Beshrew me, if I would do such a wrong
for the whole world.
Ebba
Why the wrong is but a wrong i' the world: and
having the world for your labour, tis a wrong in your
own world, and you might quickly make it right.
Eleanor
I do not think there is any such woman.
Ebbaa
Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as would
store the world they played for.
But I do think it is their husbands' faults
if wives do fall: say that they slack their duties,
and pour our treasures into foreign laps,
or else break out in peevish jealousies,
throwing restraint upon us; or say they strike us,
or scant our former having in despite;
why, we have galls, and though we have some grace,
yet have we some revenge. Let husbands know
their wives have sense like them. What is it that they do
when they change us for others? Is it sport?
I think it is: and doth affection breed it?
I think it doth: is't frailty that thus errs?
It is so too: and have not we affections,
desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?
Then let them use us well: else let them know,
the ills we do, their ills instruct us so.
Eleanor
Good night, good night: heaven me such uses send,
not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!


Scene the Third: A Weissenfels Chapel in Mourning the Week After,
Gustavus Laid in State, Eleanor in Weeds
Eleanor
Now, how dost thou look now? Oh ill-starr'd man!
Pale as thy shirt! when we shall meet at compt,
this look of thine will hurl my soul from heaven,
and fiends will snatch at it. Cold, cold, my lad!
Even like thy ice-blue eyes. Oh cursed fate!
Whip me, ye devils,
from the possession of this heavenly sight!
Blow me about in winds! roast me in sulphur!
Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!
Oh Gustav Adolf! Gustav Adolf! dead!
Oh! Oh! Oh!
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak
of one that loved not wisely but too well;
of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
perplex'd in the extreme...



This year, for Gustavus Adolphus, I made pear-chestnut-raisin ryschewys (crescent-shaped beignets with a fruit and spice filling, served with sugar on top).
They're a rather easy to make recipe, with ingredients that would have been costly in cold climates in the past, such as eastern spices and raisins, not to mention the sugar. Think of these as the five-star version of the beignets our Spanish and French churro/beignet stands sell in winter. The recipe can be varied ad infinitum as long as there's cinnamon, black pepper, and some fruit (fresh, dried, and/or nutty) of various kinds...
These treats are what I imagine as typical of Stormlands nobility. Methinks little Renly was pining for warm ryschewys when they rationed everything and ate the cats and the rats of the keep, as the Tyrell host beleaguered Storm's End. Methinks, as a young man, he offered his beloved Loras some of them in exchange for costlier Reacher treats of marzipan and sugar paste (so beautiful that they should be called pieces of art).

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