Nocturne Upon St Lucy’s Day

Two lovely black teas today. DavidsTea offered us a breakfast blend, so we had that with our oatmeal this morning. We’ve saved some of it for tomorrow too, because we love a good loose leaf breakfast blend, even if we’ve been living off of Yorkshire for months. There’s nothing wrong with Yorkshire tea, to be clear. We’re just infamously snobbish about tea and aren’t about to change any time soon.

Then we had Spring Darjeeling from Germany. This never got very dark, but insisted on pouring out in a lovely golden colour. But it still brewed up strong, so we checked to see if there was any green tea mixed in, because sometimes that happens with Darjeeling blends. Not this one. This is uncomplicated Indian black tea, thanks for asking, and that was or reminder that Indian tea always pours out lighter. We forgot because see above about all those months of Yorkshire.

(Fun fact: we can’t drink Twinnings any more. We thought at first it was the decaf blend up at the lake that was giving us headaches but it’s all Twinnings all the time. It just doesn’t have enough caffeine next to Yorkshire.)

But we were talking about Darjeelings. This one was a lovely blend. There were two packets and we used them to bookend the day; one at elevenses and another after a walk through the ravine in the dying light. The sunset was particularly lovely. We always try to catch the last of the light on St Lucy’s Day just because there’s so little of it. It’s not like Scotland, where the sun was down by half three, and no doubt even that is more than other places. Still, when you’re stuck at a computer talking into a camera all day you start to get starved for sun.

So we ran the dogs in the last of it and then we came back and gave them their tea (Northern English usage) while we had our tea (standard usage).

Because it’s St Lucy’s Day, here’s what Donne has to say about it. You really want to read this with the light dying at half three on the East Coast of Scotland, but ah well. We can’t be choosy.

Nocturne Upon St Lucy’s Day
John Donne

‘Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
         The sun is spent, and now his flasks
         Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
                The world’s whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed’s feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar’d with me, who am their epitaph.
 
Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;
         For I am every dead thing,
         In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
                For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.
 
All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
         I, by Love’s limbec, am the grave
         Of all that’s nothing. Oft a flood
                Have we two wept, and so
Drown’d the whole world, us two; oft did we grow
To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.
 
But I am by her death (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
         Were I a man, that I were one
         I needs must know; I should prefer,
                If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.
 
But I am none; nor will my sun renew.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
         At this time to the Goat is run
         To fetch new lust, and give it you,
                Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night’s festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year’s, and the day’s deep midnight is.

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