Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Spring is in the Air.

All the Flowers of the Spring
Meet to perfume our burying:
These have but their growing prime,
And man does flourish but his time.
Survey our progresse from our birth—
We are set, we grow, we turne to earth.
Courts adieu, and all delights,
All bewitching appetites!
Sweetest Breath and clearest eye
Like perfumes goe out and dye;
And consequently this is done
As shadowes wait upon the Sunne.
Vaine the ambition of Kings
Who seeke by trophies and dead things
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind.

Vanitas Vanitatum, above, from The Devil's Law Case by John Webster, neatly sums up the blossoming of early Spring and the vanity of humanity. Webster was a contemporary of Shakespeare and performed his plays not in the Globe but in the less well known Red Bull theatre as well as the quite upmarket indoor Blackfriars Theatre, which was probably near Saint Andrew by the Wardrobe and the present day Cockpit Pub, which is of passing interest if you happen by that way. Vanitas Vanitatum translates as 'vanity of vanities' and refers in this context to the vanity of earthly monuments and the pride of rulers and particularly the transient nature of things. This latter always occurs to me each year near the beginning of Spring as I put the rose lectern fall out, the only part of a High Mass set left from the Sisters at Haggerston who have themselves left their once great convent. Everything moves on, from one Spring to the next and to be planning moving on myself as the trees begin to bud and the early flowers burst into life is serene, at least it would be if I had not been up since five this morning painting my bedroom wall.

As I drove through the southern part of the centre of Manchester on Monday, the first day of Spring, the sun was shining brightly from a cloudless sky, silhouetting this bar, the Knott Bar, which is built into a railway arch on Deansgate, by the start of Castlefield. Castlefield is an area once home to heavy industry, canals and railway lines stacked up on to of each other, but which now has been heavily gentrified and is too expensive for your scribe. Nice to walk around though, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The Church you see above is the only one there, the Roman fort still remains, as do the symbols of industry, but the Church lies empty, once home to a record company which changed Manchester's fortunes. The great God money reigns in Castlefield, but then I should stop moaning.

A gratuitous picture of Deansgate in the Spring morning sun.

And on the first day of Spring, some hardy souls were sitting outside the bars having their lunch al fresco. Not many of them and they all had hats on, but like the cuckoo, they are another sign that Spring has sprung.