Archive for January 24th, 2011

The Cat

The Cat ©

On stealth he moves
No wake he follows
But his own:
Jewels with starburst scan
And silently he settles
To his own wake;
Furry tail with a butt,
All-still to a world
Mad with desire.
reprinted from my blog Pup of my Doggerels 24-1-11


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Richelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis de (1585-1642)

Richelieu called the Red Eminence (L’Eminence Rouge)and feared. He was crafty and ruthless in his attempt to lift France from medieval backwardness to the glory she was destined for. He dominated French politics from 1610 till his death.
A bright child, Armand-Jean du Plessis studied theology as a teen and at the young age of 21 was appointed Bishop of Luçon. In 1622 he was made a cardinal and from there rose to become head of the Royal Council and prime minister of France in 1624. He was adviser to the widow of Henri IV and her son Louis XIII. King Louis XIII was a weak ruler and Richelieu filled the void, more or less running the empire. He established royal absolutism in France by suppressing the political power of the Huguenots. The siege and capture of Rochelle, which he conducted in person (1628) was followed by the submission of other Huguenot strongholds. Richelieu, however, secured for the Huguenot body a certain measure of religious toleration. His astuteness is evident in the way he used his success in this conflict with moderation.
He reduced the influence of the nobles by blowing up their castles and banning private armies. In foreign policy, he sought to weaken Habsburg control of Europe and involved France in the Thirty Years’ War. Though France was a Catholic country he supported Protestant countries in order to diminish the hold of the Catholic league of states. The asuteness of his foreign policy saw France emerge at the end of Thirty Years War as the most powerful nation in Europe. In order to cut the power of Spain he supported the Portuguese in their struggle for independence. Devious and brilliant, he increased the power of the Bourbon dynasty and established orderly government in France.
One of the less known but of far reaching influence he exerted was in the way he encouraged arts. He founded the Académie Française and rebuilt the Sorbonne.
He brought innovation in administering the kingdom through superindents of regions who exerted extensive powers but were directly responsible to the central government that was in himself.
He encouraged road and canal constructions throughout the length and breadth to spur trade and industry. He also encouraged French colonial expansion in the Far East,India and the West indies.
Ever since Dumas’ novel Three Musketeers (1844)in Richelieu’s name has become synonymous with political intrigue and ambitious power “behind the throne.”


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Bapu’s Lament©

I lived a dream, and paid with lead shots
Fired from an assassin’s hand.
Never thought my life was precious
To be lived out in craven fear.
A nation yet to be born
Needs lives of men, paid
Freely and in blood; this price
I paid and deemed it not too dear.

My body is dead but where be my soul?
The assassins they all, to make it seem a foul thing!

I lived a dream, and fought for people
Long lived as slaves in torpor,
Unstirred by fine ideals of noble race
Who would rather break the fetters
And die than live a lie.
In my soul I saw their soul mirrored,
A dream it was to give the soul my all,-
Paid the price to be made as one.

My body is dead but where be my soul?
It’s dragged round and through dust uncared for.

I lived a dream, and home-spun spirit
Cared not for things that people
Buy and sell with an eye to profit;
In my soul I thought their spirit
Would follow and soar far above
To nobler realms of freedom,-
In thought and actions inspire,
Vivid and bold like the pole-star!

My body is dead but where be my soul?
It is safe now in the vaults of some Swiss Banks.


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