Tuesday, March 18, 2014

As you pass by

Epitaph in Canterbury Cathedral of Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Aquitaine, eldest son of King Edward III of England.  He died in 1399, one year before his father, leaving a minor son to inherit the throne.

Such as thou art, sometime was I.
Such as I am, such shalt thou be.
I thought little on th'our of Death
So long as I enjoyed breath.
But now a wretched captive am I,
Deep in the ground, lo here I lie.
My beauty great, is all quite gone,
My flesh is wasted to the bone.

This epitaph was paraphrased frequently in later years, and I saw it myself on a gravestone dating to the eighteenth century:

Behold, O man, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, you soon must be.
Repent, prepare to follow me.

Most of this past weekend was spent at the Northwest Coin Club’s annual Money Show.  I had volunteered to collect donations from the vendors for Sunday’s Youth Auction – and to serve as a “spotter” at the auction.  Between times, I sat at a long table in the “Bourse Room” – where coin vendors plied their trade – to answer questions.  I brought my laptop along and got some writing done.  I also bought three coins.  In ascending price they were a 2013 Sacegewea dollar, the one with a turtle, turkey and wolf on the reverse (I’ve been looking for that particular issue for over a year); a silver Peace Dollar, the one with the lovely young woman’s head on the obverse (face); and a King James I of England shilling.  (James was born in 1566 and a year later became King James VI of Scotland.  He succeeded to the English crown on the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.  He died in 1625.  James sponsored the translation of the Bible that is named after him.)  I also continued my education on the Morgan silver dollar, and will use it in the book I’m writing.

Another buy: I stopped at an antique store in Minneapolis and bought a small lidded Chinese box made of cinnabar – another item that will be featured in the book.  Well, the one in the book is bigger, much older, and far more costly than the little thing I bought.  But I needed to get a close-up look at some cinnabar, and our Institute of Arts, while they have some, would not let me handle any of it – and I needed to actually touch it for the book  The box I bought is about four and a quarter inches long, three and a quarter wide and maybe one and a half inches deep.


Linda O. Johnston said...

You do feature some interesting things in your books, Monica--and what a great excuse to buy examples!

Monica Ferris said...

Linda, I often think I have learned more about real things by reading and writing fiction than in any other way!

Betty Hechtman said...

Monica, I have a whole collection of stuff I've bought because I was going to feature it in a book including a small globe embedded with different stones for the assorted countries. In Dead Men Don't Crochet, it was a murder weapon.

The cinnabar box is beautiful and I'm sure having it to look at and touch will be a great help in writing about it.

Monica Ferris said...

When I was writing the Peter Brichter series, I bought something pertinent for each book. One was a hoof knife, which has a hooked blade, and was the murder weapon. I is very helpful to actually handle an item described in a book.

Anonymous said...

Will the box design feature in the book's needlework project?

Monica Ferris said...

No, Anonymous, the design for this book is going to be the crochet lace edging on the handkerchief Betsy gets in the mail - long story.

Helen said...

Hi Monica, A popular graffiti addition to the paraphrased epitaph here in the UK is:-
" To follow you I'd be content
If I could know which way you went,"