As promised a few visuals to go with one of my new tracks…and plenty of info about the lyrics below. (The oil painting is ‘The Billowing Seas’ by Ivan Aivazovsky 1889, and Philip Palmer took most of the photographs.)
The seventeenth century English poet and politician, Edmund Waller, provides the lyrics for this Benjamin Brelain interpretation of The Seas Are Quiet. By the time of writing, Waller was already an old man. His life was not without incident (or, as the poem puts it, ‘passion’). At the age of eighteen he entered parliament and in later years became, in addition, a notable poet. His poetry was set to music by one or two leading composers of the time. In the 1640′s he was accused of treason and faced the threat of being hung, drawn and quartered. He escaped this fate but was financially ruined and exiled to France. In his early seventies, his wife, some fifteen years his junior, died and he retreated (and bought back) the property where he had been born. As I understand it, it was in this moment that he wrote his meditation on life and the hear-after.
THE seas are quiet when the winds give o’er;
So calm are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.
The soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view
That stand upon the threshold of the new.
As always, hope you like!