Co działo się w roku 1743? Sporo! Papieżem był Benedykt XIV, Królem Polski był August III, Franciszek Dąbrowski dokonał pierwszej renowacji kolumny Zygmunta III Wazy (tej z placu zamkowego), podpisano rosyjsko-szwedzkie porozumienie w Abo, w ramach którego Rosja zagarnęła Finlandię (zalewając ją później znaczącymi ilościami vodki) Brytyjczyk, Jack Broughton opublikował pierwsze przepisy w historii nowożytnego boksu (dla ograniczenia brutalności walk) a szkocki prawnik Thomas Mathison opublikował poemat heroikomiczny Goff
Czym jest poemat heroikomiczny?? To utwór literacki, opierający się na połączeniu podniosłego stylu wypowiedzi z błahą, przyziemną tematyką, co tworzy efekt komiczny.
I tak właśnie jest w tym przypadku. Jest to historia dwóch golfistów SPRZED 274 LAT: „Pygmaliona” wzorowanego na samym autorze („…który choć drobnej postury, serce ma nieustraszone…”) oraz „Castalio” wzorowanym na Alexandrze Duningu, sprzedawcy książek z Edynburga, prywatnie szwagra Thomasa Mathisona, „...który całą swą moc zbiera, by szlachetnym ciosem kulę posłać…”) , którzy staczają bój na pięcio dołkowym Leith Links w Edina’s tow”rs czyli właśnie w Edynburgu
Chociaż pierwsza książka w której wspomniano o golfie czyli „Glotta”ujrzała światło dzienne 20 lat wcześniej to jednak właśnie ta pozycja rozbudza najbardziej wyobraźnie kolekcjonerów. Ostatnio jeden z nielicznych egzemplarzy osiągnął niewiarygodną wysokość 60 TYSIĘCY DOLARÓW. Wcale się nie dziwimy
Tak to właśnie się prezentuje (dla odważnych w nowoangielskim ale pełnym archaizmów)
GOFF, and the Man, I sing, who, em’lous, plies
The jointed club, whose balls invade the skies,
Who from Edina’s tow’rs, his peaceful home,
In quest of fame o’er Letha’s plains did roam.
Long toil’d the hero, on the verdant field,
Strain’d his stout arm the weighty club to wield;
Such toils it cost, such labours to obtain
The bays of conquest, and the bowl to gain.
O thou Golfinia, Goddess of these plains!
Great Patroness of GOFF! indulge my strains;
Whether beneath the thorn-tree shade you lie,
Or from Mercerian tow’rs the game survey,
Or round the green the flying ball you chase,
Or make your bed in some hot sandy face:
Leave your much-lov’d abode, inspire his lays
Who sings of Goff, and sings thy fav’rite’s praise.
North from Edina eight furlongs and more,
Lies that fam’d field, on Fortha’s sounding shore.
Here Caledonian Chiefs for health resort,
Confirm their sinews by the manly sport.
Macdonald and unmatch’d Dalrymple ply
Their pond’rous weapons, and the green defy;
Rattray for skill, and Corse for strength renown’d,
Stewart and Lesly beat the sandy ground,
And Brown and Alston, Chiefs well known to fame,
And numbers more the Muse forbears to name.
Gigantic Biggar here full oft is seen,
Like huge behemoth on an Indian green;
His bulk enormous scarce can ‚scape the eyes,
Amaz’d spectators wonder how he plies.
Yea, here great Forbes, patron of the just,
The dread of villains and the good man’s trust,
When spent with toils in serving human kind,
His body recreates, and unbends his mind.
Bright Phœbus now had measur’d half the day,
And warm’d the earth with genial noon-tide ray;
Forth rush’d Castalio and his daring foe,
Both arm’d with clubs, and eager for the blow.
Of finest ash Castalio’s shaft was made,
Pond’rous with lead, and fenc’d with horn the head
(The work of Dickson, who in Letha dwells,
And in the art of making clubs excels),
Which late beneath great Claro’s arm did bend,
But now is wielded by his greater friend.
Not with more fury Norris cleav’d the main,
To pour his thund’ring arms on guilty Spain;
Nor with more haste brave Haddock bent his course
To guard Minorca from Iberian force,—
Than thou, intrepid hero, urg’d thy way
O’er roads and sands, impatient for the fray.
With equal warmth Pygmalion fast pursu’d
(With courage oft are little wights endued),
‚Till to Golfinia’s downs the heroes came,
The scene of combat and the field of fame.
Upon a verdant bank by Flora grac’d,
Two sister Fairies found the Goddess plac’d;
Propp’d by her snowy hand her head reclin’d,
Her curling locks hung waving in the wind.
She eyes intent the consecrated green,
Crowded with waving clubs and vot’ries keen,
And hears the prayers of youths to her address’d,
And from the hollow face relieves the ball distress’d.
On either side the sprightly Dryads sat,
And entertained the Goddess with their chat.
First Verdurilla, thus: O rural Queen!
What chiefs are those that drive along the green?
With brandish’d clubs the mighty heroes threat,
Their eager looks foretell a keen debate.
To whom Golfinia: Nymph, your eyes behold
Pygmalion stout, Castalio brave and bold.
From silver Ierna’s banks Castalio came,
But first on Andrean plains he courted fame.
His sire, a Druid, taught (one day of seven)
The paths of virtue, the sure road to heaven.
In Pictish capital the good man passed
His virtuous life, and there he breath’d his last.
The son now dwells in fair Edina’s town,
And on our sandy plains pursues renown.
See low Pygmalion, skilled in GOFFING art,
Small is his size, but dauntless is his heart:
Fast by a desk in Edin’s domes he sits,
With saids and sicklikes length’ning out the writs.
For no mean prize the rival chiefs contend,
But full rewards the victor’s toils attend.
The vanquish’d hero for the victor fills
A mighty bowl containing thirty gills;
With noblest liquor is the bowl replete;
Here sweets and acids, strength and weakness meet.
From Indian isles the strength and sweetness flow,
And Tagus’ banks their golden fruits bestow;
Cold Caledonia’s lucid streams controul
The fiery spirits, and fulfil the bowl;
For Albion’s peace and Albion’s friends they pray,
And drown in Punch the labours of the day.
The Goddess spoke, and thus Gambolia pray’d:
Permit to join in brave Pygmalion’s aid,
O’er each deep road the hero to sustain,
And guide his ball to the desired plain.
To this the Goddess of the manly sport:
Go, and be thou that daring chief’s support.
Let Verdurilla be Castalio’s stay;
I from this flow’ry seat will view the fray.
She said: the nymphs trip nimbly o’er the green,
And to the combatants approach unseen.
Ye rural powers that on these plains preside,
Ye nymphs that dance on Fortha’s flow’ry side,
Assist the Muse that in your fields delights,
And guide her course in these uncommon flights.
But chief, thee, O Golfinia! I implore,
High as thy balls instruct my Muse to soar:
So may thy green for ever crowded be,
And balls on balls invade the azure sky.
Now at that hole the chiefs begin the game,
Which from the neighb’ring thorn-tree takes its name;
Ardent they grasp the ball-compelling clubs,
And stretch their arms t’ attack the little globes;
Not as our warriors brandish’d dreadful arms,
When fierce Bellona sounded war’s alarms;
When conqu’ring Cromwell stain’d fair Eska’s flood,
And soak’d her banks with Caledonian blood;
Or when our bold ancestors madly fought,
And clans engaged for trifles or for nought.
That Fury now from our bless’d fields is driv’n,
To scourge unhappy nations doom’d by heav’n.
Let Kouli Kan destroy the fertile East,
Victorious Vernon thunder in the West;
Let horrid war involve perfidious Spain,
And George assert his empire o’er the main:
But on our plains Britannia’s sons engage,
And void of ire the sportive war they wage.
Lo, tatter’d Irus, who their armour bears,
Upon the green two little pyr’mids rears;
On these they place two balls with careful eye,
That with Clarinda’s breasts for colour vie,—
The work of Bobson, who, with matchless art,
Shapes the firm hide, connecting ev’ry part,—
Then in a socket sets the well-stitched void,
And thro’ the eyelet drives the downy tide;
Crowds urging crowds the forceful brogue impels,
The feathers harden and the leather swells;
He crams and sweats, yet crams and urges more,
Till scarce the turgid globe contains its store;
The dreadful falcon’s pride here blended lies
With pigeons’ glossy down of various dyes;
The lark’s small pinions join the common stock,
And yellow glory of the martial cock.
Soon as Hyperion gilds old Andrea’s spires,
From bed the artist to his cell retires,
With bended back, there plies his steely awls,
And shapes, and stuffs, and finishes the balls.
But when the glorious God of day has driv’n
His flaming chariot down the steep of heav’n,
He ends his labour, and with rural strains
Enchants the lovely maids and weary swains:
As thro’ the streets the blythsome piper plays,
In antic dance they answer to his lays;
At ev’ry pause the ravish’d crowd acclaim,
And rends the skies with tuneful Bobson’s name.
Not more rewarded was old Amphion’s song,
That reared a town, and this drags one along.
Such is fam’d Bobson, who in Andrea thrives,
And such the balls each vig’rous hero drives.
First, bold Castalio, ere he struck the blow,
Lean’d on his club, and thus address’d his foe:
Dares weak Pygmalion this stout arm defy,
Which brave Matthias doth with terror try?
Strong as he is, Moravio owns my might,
Distrusts his vigour, and declines the fight.
Renown’d Clephanio I constrain’d to yield,
And drove the haughty vet’ran from the field.
Weak is thine arm, rash youth! thy courage vain;
Vanquish’d, with shame you’ll curse the fatal plain.
The half-struck balls your weak endeavours mock,
Slowly proceed, and soon forget the stroke.
Not so the orb eludes my thund’ring force,
Thro’ fields of air it holds its rapid course;
Swift as the balls from martial engines driv’n,
Streams like a comet thro’ the arch of heav’n.
Vaunter, go on! (Pygmalion thus replies);
Thine empty boasts with justice I despise!
Hadst thou the strength Goliah’s spear to wield,
Like its great master thunder on the field,
And with that strength Culloden’s matchless art,
Not one unmanly thought should daunt my heart.
He said: and sign’d to Irus, who before
With frequent warnings fill’d the sounding shore.
Then great Castalio his whole strength collects,
And on the orb a noble blow directs;
Swift as a thought the ball obedient flies,
Sings high in air, and seems to cleave the skies;
Then on the level plain its fury spends;
And Irus to the chief the welcome tidings sends.
Next in his turn Pygmalion strikes the globe;
On the upper half descends the erring club;
Along the green the ball confounded scours;
No lofty flight the ill-sped stroke impow’rs.
Thus, when the trembling hare descries the hounds,
She from her whinny mansion swiftly bounds;
O’er hills and fields she scours, outstrips the wind;
The hounds and huntsmen follow far behind.
Gambolia now afforded timely aid,
She o’er the sand the fainting ball convey’d;
Renew’d its force, and urg’d it on its way,
Till on the summit of the hill it lay.
Now all on fire the chiefs their orbs pursue,
With the next stroke the orbs their flight renew;
Thrice round the green they urge the whizzing ball,
And thrice three holes to great Castalio fall:
The other six Pygmalion bore away,
And saved a while the honours of the day.
Had some brave champion of the sandy field
The chiefs attended, and the game beheld,
With ev’ry stroke his wonder had increas’d,
And em’lous fires had kindled in his breast.
Harmonious Nine, that from Parnassus view
The subject world, and all that’s done below;
Who from oblivion snatch the patriot’s name,
And to the stars extol the hero’s fame;
Bring each your lyre, and to my song repair,
Nor think Golfinia’s train below the Muses’ care.
Declining Sol with milder beams invades
The Scotian fields, and lengthens out the shades;
Hastes to survey the conquered golden plains,
Where captive Indians mourn in Spanish chains,
To gild the waves where hapless Hosier dy’d,
Where Vernon late proud Bourbon’s force defied,
Triumphant rode along the wat’ry plain,
Britannia’s glory and the scourge of Spain.
Still from her seat the Power of GOFF beheld
Th’ unwearied heroes toiling on the field:
The light-foot fairies in their labours share,
Each nymph her hero seconds in the war;
Pygmalion and Gambolia there appear,
And Verdurilla with Castalio here.
The Goddess saw, and op’d the book of Fate,
To search the issue of the grand debate.
Bright silver plates the sacred leaves enfold,
Bound with twelve shining clasps of solid gold.
The wond’rous book contains the fate of all
That lift the club, and strike the missive ball;
Mysterious rhymes, that thro’ the pages flow,
The past, the present, and the future show.
Golfinia reads the fate-foretelling lines,
And soon the sequel of the war divines;
Sees conquest doom’d Castalio’s toils to crown,
Pygmalion doom’d superior might to own.
Then at her side Victoria straight appears,
Her sister goddess, arbitress of wars;
Upon her head a wreath of bays she wore,
And in her hand a laurel sceptre bore;
Anxious to know the will of Fate, she stands,
And waits obsequious on the Queen’s commands.
To whom Golfinia: Fate-fulfilling maid,
Hear the Fates’ will, and be their will obey’d:
Straight to the field of fight thyself convey,
Where brave Castalio and Pygmalion stray;
There bid the long-protracted combat cease,
And with thy bays Castalio’s temples grace.—
She said; and swift, as Hermes from above
Shoots to perform the high behests of Jove,
Victoria from her sister’s presence flies,
Pleased to bestow the long-disputed prize.
Meanwhile the chiefs for the last hole contend,
The last great hole, which should their labours end;
For this the chiefs exert their skill and might,
To drive the balls, and to direct their flight.
Thus two fleet coursers for the Royal plate
(The others distanc’d) run the final heat;
With all his might each gen’rous racer flies,
And all his art each panting rider tries,
While show’rs of gold and praises warm his breast,
And gen’rous emulation fires the beast.
His trusty club Pygmalion dauntless plies:
The ball ambitious climbs the lofty skies;
But soon, ah! soon, descends upon the field,
The adverse winds the lab’ring orb repell’d.
Thus when a fowl, whom wand’ring sportsmen scare,
Leaves the sown land, and mounts the fields of air,
Short is his flight; the fiery Furies wound,
And bring him tumbling headlong to the ground.
Not so Castalio lifts th’ unerring club,
But with superior art attacks the globe;
The well-struck ball the stormy wind beguil’d,
And like a swallow skimm’d along the field.
An harmless sheep, by Fate decreed to fall,
Feels the dire fury of the rapid ball;
Full on her front the raging bullet flew,
And sudden anguish seiz’d the silent ewe;
Stagg’ring, she falls upon the verdant plain,
Convulsive pangs distract her wounded brain.
Great Pan beheld her stretch’d upon the grass,
Nor unreveng’d permits the crime to pass:
Th’ Arcadian God, with grief and fury stung,
Snatch’d his stout crook, and fierce to vengeance sprung;
His faithful dogs their master’s steps pursue;
The fleecy flocks before their father bow,—
With bleatings hoarse salute him as he strode;
And frisking lambkins dance around the God.
The sire of sheep then lifted from the ground
The panting dam, and piss’d upon the wound:
The stream divine soon eas’d the mother’s pain;
The wise immortals never piss in vain.
Then to the ball his horny foot applies,
Before his foot the kick’d offender flies.
The hapless orb a gaping face detain’d;
Deep sunk in sand the hapless orb remain’d.
As Verdurilla mark’d the ball’s arrest,
She with resentment fired Castalio’s breast.
The nymph assum’d Patrico’s shape and mien,
Like great Patrico stalk’d along the green;
So well his manner and his accent feign’d,
Castalio deemed Patrico’s self complain’d.
Ah, sad disgrace! see rustic herds invade
Golfinian plains, the angry fairy said:
Your ball abus’d, your hopes and projects cross’d,
The game endanger’d, and the hole nigh lost.
Thus brutal Pan resents his wounded ewe,
Tho’ chance, not you, did guide the fatal blow.
Incens’d Castalio makes her no replies,
T’ attack the God, the furious mortal flies;
His iron-headed club around he swings,
And fierce at Pan the pond’rous weapon flings.
Affrighted Pan the dreadful missive shunn’d,
But blameless Tray receiv’d a deadly wound:
Ill-fated Tray no more the flocks shall tend,
In anguish doom’d his shorten’d life to end.
Nor could great Pan afford a timely aid;
Great Pan himself before the hero fled:
Even he—a God—a mortal’s fury dreads,
And far and fast from bold Castalio speeds.
To free the ball the chief now turns his mind,
Flies to the bank where lay the orb confined;
The pond’rous club upon the ball descends,
Involv’d in dust th’ exulting orb ascends.
Their loud applause the pleas’d spectators raise;
The hollow bank resounds Castalio’s praise.
A mighty blow Pygmalion then lets fall,
Straight from th’ impulsive engine starts the ball,
Answ’ring its master’s just design, it hastes,
And from the hole scarce twice two clubs’ length rests.
Ah! what avails thy skill, since fate decrees
Thy conqu’ring foe to bear away the prize?
Full fifteen clubs’ length from the hole he lay
A wide cart-road before him cross’d his way;
The deep-cut tracks th’ intrepid chief defies;
High o’er the road the ball triumphing flies,
Lights on the green, and scours into the hole;
Down with it sinks depress’d Pygmalion’s soul.
Seiz’d with surprise, th’ affrighted hero stands,
And feebly tips the ball with trembling hands.
The creeping ball its want of force complains,
A grassy tuft the loit’ring orb detains.
Surrounding crowds the victor’s praise proclaim,
The echoing shore resounds Castalio’s name.
For him Pygmalion must the bowl prepare,
To him must yield the honours of the war;
On fame’s triumphant wings his name shall soar
Till time shall end, or GOFFING be no more.