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Well, what DO you do when there is no power all day? Read. There's lots of time for it, in between the still-life studio.
No, I didn't read the whole Ring of the Nibelung in one sitting, thankfully.
On the political side (since this IS in the "Political Power" theme) :-
The "Dictionary of Select and Popular Quotations (1817) is a mine of usable quotes from the ancient Greeks up to the early 1800's. My favourite is unattributed, but says "Rex datur propter regnum, non regnum propter regem." Translated, "A king is given to serve the kingdom, not the kingdom to serve the king."
The "Nibelungenlied" is a German epic centred on the murder of the dragon-slayer Seigfried and the revenge of his wife Kreimhild. It was the basis for Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung", which was a favourite of Hitler.
Lalla Rookh is another epic poem in four parts written by Thomas Moore, and set in ancient Persia (now Iraq) and revolves around the fate of a Princess, Lalla Rookh ("Tulip-cheeked" in Persian) who is engaged to a prince, but in love with a poet. As Wikipedia says :-
"Engaged to the young king of Bactria, Lalla Rookh goes forth to meet him, but falls in love with Feramorz, a poet from her entourage. The bulk of the work consists of four interpolated tales sung by the poet: The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan (loosely based upon the story of Al-Muqanna), Paradise and the Peri, The Fire-Worshippers, and The Light of the Harem. When Lalla Rookh enters the palace of her bridegroom she swoons away, but revives at the sound of a familiar voice. She awakes with rapture to find that the poet she loves is none other than the prince to whom she is engaged."
Interestingly, the most romantic of these is the one set in what is now Iran. A country reviled in the US, but not that long ago a nation steeped in romance and fairy-tales. How times change - and it's all down to politics.
Also by Steve Baker
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