C. S. Lewis on solemnity and the necessity of a certain pomp. From A Preface to Paradise Lost.

Like solemn it implies the opposite of what is familiar, free and easy, or ordinary. But unlike solemn it does not suggest gloom, oppression, or austerity. The ball in the first act of Romeo and Juliet was a ‘solemnity’. The feast at the beginning of Gawain and the Green Knight is very much a solemnity. A great mass by Mozart or Beethoven is as much a solemnity in its hilarious gloria as in its poignant crucifixus est. Feasts are, in this sense, more solemn than fasts. Easter is solempne, Good Friday is not. The Solempne is the festal which is also the stately and the ceremonial, the proper occasion for a pomp–and the very fact that pompous is now used only in a bad sense measures the degree to which we have lost the old idea of a ‘solemnity’. To recover it you must think of a court ball, or a coronation, or a victory march, as these things appear to people to enjoy them; in an age when every one puts on his oldest clothes to be happy in, you must re-awake the simpler state of mind in which people put on gold and scarlet to be happy in. Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connextion with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast–all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual… You are to expect pomp. You are to ‘assist’, as the French say, at a great festal action.

Robin Redbreast tunes his Note

Sometimes, I draw. That is—normally not only sometimes, as of lately not even that.

I am very fond of robins. (And all other birds. And animals. I don’t mean to say that I have a preference for robins. But I like them very, very much.) They are lovely to look at, given much attention in European mythology and culture, and a popular motif in art and literature—as a symbol of Christmas as much as a bringer of Spring, and according to an old story, the reason some trees are evergreens and others lose their leaves in Winter.

I actually have a book about robins near me, Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature by Andrew Lack, a biologist (specialised in botany) and son of the ornithologist David Lack. Redbreast is remarkable in particular because it pays equal attention to robin in a scientific as well as a cultural way. I recommend it immensely—plenty of pictures and poems within an abundance of knowledge!

As for my picture, you can buy prints and other nice, printed things on my redbubble shop. Cups, pillows, dresses—the usual. ♥