Raising a glass


Graham Greene described one of his characters as giving ‘an impression of unstable hilarity, as if perhaps he had been celebrating a birthday, alone.’ Suitable for some temperaments, perhaps, but certainly not all. Christina Rossetti seems, on the face of it, to have been unusually demanding in birthday terms:

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

We were a little less extravagant on the Librarian’s birthday but, should the idea appeal and funds be available, I’d certainly recommend a beach hut facing a brooding sea, a bottle of champagne and two glasses (clearly, mine is the one on the left).



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