Friday, 24 July 2020

There is a willow grows aslant a brook

Sometimes I have to question the thinking behind my human's urge to explore new places. 

I mean, would you really want to visit the place where Ophelia drowned? Or to be strictly accurate, the location where the drowning scene in Franco Zeffirelli's film of 'Hamlet' (that's the Mel Gibson one) was shot? 

Well here we are, in a steep gully beneath some cliffs, near the coastal village of Muchalls, about ten miles south of Aberdeen. 

This is 'Ophelia's Pool', a local, well-hidden beauty spot.

So how did Shakespeare have Gertrude describe the scene? 

There is a willow grows aslant a brook, 
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream. 
There with fantastic garlands did she come 
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, 
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name, 
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them. 
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds 
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke, 
When down her weedy trophies and herself 
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide 
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up; 
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes, 
As one incapable of her own distress, 
Or like a creature native and indued 
Unto that element; but long it could not be 
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, 
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay 
To muddy death.

Well I have to say I had no plans to fall in the 'weeping brook' and risk dying a 'muddy death', no matter how good a photo opportunity it might have made.

I took care to steer well clear of those weeds and keep my paws firmly planted.

I'll concede that 'Ophelia's Pool' is a pretty spot...

...but if you want the full picture of garlands of cornflowers, coronets of weeds, and aesthetically pleasing drowning, I refer you to the painting by John Everett Millais, as found a long way from here, in the Tate Gallery, London. 

Happy Nature Friday friends! And once again thank you to the ever wonderful LLB Gang for hosting this blog hop.


  1. oh you found such a famous place Bertie... we are deep impressed... that's beautiful!!!!!

  2. Hari OM
    Bertie lad, you and Gail found the pawfect place for NF and described it sublimely!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  3. No Bertie, I wouldn't want to fall in there either! It looks cold and the black water doesn't look in the least bit inviting. You're very brave to even put your paws in. Perhaps it would look prettier if the sun was shining?

    Inca xx

  4. It's pretty, but yeah, I'd pass on a muddy death too.

  5. Good thing you are a sensible fellow, Bertie. Nice job kind of pleasing your mom yet staying safe.

  6. Mr. Shakespheare certainly knew how to paint a picture for our mind's eye. "Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
    Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
    To muddy death."

    Mr. Michael Hamlet was my literature teacher in the 11th grade. He used that name to it's fullest too. Loved to have us read in parts and explain the meaning.. BOL BOL BOL

    Lastly what a beautiful place for a stroll
    Hugs cecilia

    1. Michael Hamlet was your literature teacher? We call that 'nominative determinism'!

  7. I have to admit that's a lovely spot! But you're much better to look at than some dead crazy girl.

  8. What a beautiful place you found, Bertie. It looks like you were having fun padding around in the pond and getting your paws nice and muddy.

  9. It looks like a very peaceful spot but mom would have never let me wade in there, Bertie. Thank goodness that you have a more adventurous mom.

  10. Eeek! I definitely like the picture of smiling Bertie next to the pool rather than the scary painting of the human! It really is a very pretty spot!

  11. Bertie, you are so funny, but you have to admit that pool was a fun place to see AND to dip your paws in. No mud?

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  12. Wow, that is cooler than seeing the house they used for the exteriors on Golden Girls.

  13. We think your muddy legs are handsome.

  14. I love how far you sunk in, Bertie! I am so glad that you were careful. That would be a muddy death. It's a gorgeous spot.

  15. You always take us to the most lovely places Bertie! And the pool looks so beautiful..and refreshing! (and the painting kind of creeps us out!)

    Kiki and Rosie

  16. Hi hi hi! Ojo here! I know nothing of this Shakespeare bloke... But I know a beautiful spot when I see one! What a great place to go sniffing and wading!