Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Astronomer's Dream (1898)
Looks like nine haikus about a dead elephant are more popular than a 1,100 word essay on a three-hour Scandinavian epic. I’m SHOCKED.
So here’s some more verse (I hope it’s not worse) than the last one. First though, you should watch the film itself, which is a mere three minutes long or so on YouTube.
Méliès’ The Astronomer’s Dream, Realized in Modified Anglo-Saxon Alliterative Verse
(To be declared in a loud voice, accompanied by small harp or ukulele)
Behold the bold and brilliant man
whose scouring scope the sky-fields raked:
for hours, orbs both old and new
his lens did locate, light, and grow.
But slowly, Sleep demanded slake,
and quicker quaked the questor’s quill
’till dim the discs before him drew
and deskward did his wise head drop.
Alas, Athene, by day abided,
now by night did love him not;
this sovereign, sought for sober thought.
A princess proved; she propped him not.
Instead she paused, while stared an imp
upon our prone and powerless man;
a dream-time demon, devious,
that great Athene could've thrown with ease.
The imp slipped in, and Imperiling Fear
the Man of Measurements’ mind now faced!
Gone, then back; gone again his furnishings—
in blinks his bearings borne away!
The scattered scholar’s schooling taught
that such a scene unlikely seemed,
so fierce he thought, and fixed his scope
to spy in space some spiteful source.
But fierce, too, the fouled firmament replied,
by swelling swift its swarthy Moon,
whose large and looming lunar mouth
soon ruled the room, and rent the scope.
His tools thus trashed, our thinker fled,
but nowhere now the nightmare led
but to the teeth of the terrible Moon,
which duly did dismember him.
Be warned, oh ye who over-work:
The amusements of minds made too weary to wake
wage their battles with might,
though might they be fakes.
Where to find The Astronomer’s Dream:
This film can be found on disc one of Flicker Alley’s magnificent five-disc set, George Méliès: First Wizard of Cinema (1896 – 1913).
Silent Volume has reviewed several other Méliès films (all in prose): Jeanne d'Arc (1899); A Trip to the Moon (1902); and The Impossible Voyage (1904).