James Elroy Flecker – “On the Golden Journey to Samarkand”

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go

Always a little further; it may be

Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow

Across that angry or that glimmering sea,

White on a throne or guarded in a cave

There lies a prophet who can understand

Why men were born: but surely we are brave,

Who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

Flecker and his Journey

James Elroy Flecker (5 November 1884 – 3 January 1915) was an English poet, novelist and playwright. As a poet he was most influenced by the Parnassian poets. According to wikipedia Flecker was educated at Dean Close school in Cheltenham, where his father was the headmaster. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford, and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. While at Oxford he was greatly influenced by the last flowering of the Aesthetic movement there under John Addington Symonds, and became a close friend of the classicist and art historian John Beazley. In his poetic writings he would always return to Greece and the Middle East. It’s believed the few lines from his most well known poem The Journey to Samarkand (1913) has ancient has inspired thousands of people to take to the Silk Road city in southern Uzbekistan. And most people who journey there today will be arriving from Tashkent. From 1910 Flecker worked in the consular service in the Eastern Mediterranean. On a ship to Athens he met Helle Skiadaressi, and in 1911 he married her. Flecker died on 3 January 1915, of tuberculosis, in Davos, Switzerland. His death at the age of thirty was described at the time as “unquestionably the greatest premature loss that English literature has suffered since the death of Keats”.

Sources

Flecker’s Works on Archive.org

Hassan : the story of Hassan of Bagdad and how he came to make the golden journey to Samarkand: a play in five acts

The golden journey to Samarkand – A reading on YouTube

wikipedia.org

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Review : ‘A History of Scotland’ by Neil Oliver (2009)

IN THIS review I recommend Neil Oliver’s book A History of Scotland (2009) by Neil Oliver. Many of you readers may be familiar with Oliver since he’s hosted numerous BBC shows related to Scotland, Scottish history and landscape! Just open your YouTube and type a search! I’ve been to Edinburgh once and Aberdeen. Most of my travels in Scotland has been related to the Orkney Islands. Oliver touches briefly upon the history and nature of these islands.

THE Book consists of 14 chapters staring from the very beginning. He puts much effort to describe the natural environments of Scotland. Anyone interested in natural history would appreciate this.  Then, proceeding into the earliest history, the settlers, wanderers and then the Roman impact. He continues to write about the entire history of Scotland through the ages. And he is committed into telling it.

THE langauge is simple and makes it a smooth reading from start to finish! It’s not academic reading but still manage to produce sources to make it a credible reading. I appreciate that very much since I like details.  Next time I plan a trip to Scotland I will read this book once again.