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Tony Grist

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We Three Kings [Dec. 22nd, 2008|11:28 am]
Tony Grist
We were lying in bed last night trying to remember the words to We Three Kings. I don't suppose I've sung it in 30 years. Nonetheless I dug deep and came up with a version that was 85 % correct. The only verse I had serious problems with was the last one-  in which the author- John H. Hopkins Jnr, who composed it for a seminary pageant in the 1850s- ran out of inspiration and fell back on hallelujahing.

I wrote a humorous little play about the magi once. It was far too smart-ass for its context- it was performed in place of a sermon at some Christmastide service or other- and deservedly fell flat on its face. Even the guy who played Herod (the juciest part) told me afterwards that he'd have preferred something "more traditional".

Andrew Graham Dixon had a programme about the Medici the other day. Cosimo, founder of the dynasty, had a particular devotion to the magi- probably because, as Graham Dixon pointed out,  they're the only rich dudes who emerge from the New Testament with any credit.  He had the painter Gozzoli represent them in a couple of murals- one, in the chaste style of Fra Angelico, in the monastery cell where he (Cosimo) used to go on retreat- and the second in the Medici palace- which is thoroughly blingtastic.

File:Gozzoli magi.jpg

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Comments:
From: mamadar
2008-12-22 02:09 pm (UTC)
I am quite certain I can sing all the verses of "We Three Kings" from memory, *plus* the little interlude between verses in the American Hymnal 1940. I can also sing all the verses to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and have concluded that the vicar who no longer wants to sing it had a bad case of Missing The Point.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-12-22 04:38 pm (UTC)
You know What? I've run through it in my head- and I can sing nearly all of "O Little Town" too. I just seem to have mislaid half a verse somewhere along the way.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2008-12-22 07:23 pm (UTC)
What an amazing work! Is this a painting or a tapestry?
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2008-12-22 07:28 pm (UTC)
Oops! I just answered my own question. I looked it up on Wikipedia - it's a fresco! It's amazing that the colors have remained so vivid, especially in such fine work.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-12-22 08:29 pm (UTC)
It's gorgeous, isn't it!
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-12-22 08:15 pm (UTC)
IIRC, the fellow on horseback on the lower right, who is staring so arrogantly at the viewer, is Cosimo himself.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-12-22 08:47 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think you'll find that Cosimo is the old chap in the red cap with the black archer standing in front of him. The gorgeous young man is his grandson Lorenzo- later Lorenzo il Magnifico.

I believe there's a theory- a little far-fetched- that one of the supporting figures is Vlad Tepes- none other than Dracula himself.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-12-22 09:17 pm (UTC)
That's what was the matter with the partial memory I dredged up. I was thinking of Cosimo the Younger, Lorenzo's short-lived brother. (My Art History degree isn't in Renaissance Italian art, nor yet anything near it. *g*)

I've seen the Vlad Tepes claim (isn't it supposed to be the fellow behind Cosimo?), and I agree it's a little far-fetched. Not impossible, but not a probable-possible IMO.
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