"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
This last line of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's great poem Ulysses will be engraved in the 2012 Olympic village, to serve as inspiration to the world's athletes when they come to London later this summer for the Olympics. For the entire poem, which is one of my favorites, click here. It is a beautifully written dramatic monologue, in which the now aged hero of the Trojan War, and ruler of the kingdom of Ithaca, looks back on his past exploits and longs for the freedom to explore new worlds. (Yes, I am an English Literature nerd.)
The poem was originally published in 1842. My copy shown here is in an 1873 edition, published in Boston. The pages are thin and delicate, and hard to read. My favorite part of the book, though, is the inscription written on the fly-leaf. I always wonder about Emma and John -- were they friends, lovers? Was she happy with his gift? What were their lives like in 1874?
Of course I will never know the answers to any of my questions. But this is why I love antiques, for the real and undeniable connection to past lives and history. Come to think of it, that is probably why I love literature, too. :)
Don't forget to enter my giveaway here! Drawing to be held on Wednesday morning. :)