January 08, 2007

Two things on Charles Mason & Jeremiah Dixon

For all of those taking the same journey as Mr Quill & me, there is a very rough, incomplete Wiki on Pynchon's pre-postcolonialist epic: http://masondixon.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page.

Also, the below-referenced Mr Darren Southworth gave me a stack of cds six months ago, several of which finally made it into my computer. Among them was Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia, a 2000 solo album from the Dire Straits singer. Lo, the titular song is based on Pynchon's characters. I'll quote the lyrics in full here - the argumentative tone is appropriate, even if when sung in the song it is sweet & complacent. (James Taylor plays Mason).

I am Jeremiah Dixon
I am a Geordie boy
A glass of wine with you, sir
And the ladies I'll enjoy
All Durham and Northumberland
Is measured up by my own hand
It was my fate from birth
To make my mark upon the earth...

He calls me Charlie Mason
A stargazer am I
It seems that I was born
To chart the evening sky
They'd cut me out for baking bread
But I had other dreams instead
This baker's boy from the west country
Would join the Royal Society...

We are sailing to Philadelphia
A world away from the coaly Tyne
Sailing to Philadelphia
To draw the line
A Mason-Dixon Line

Now you're a good surveyor, Dixon
But I swear you'll make me mad
The West will kill us both
You gullible Geordie lad
You talk of liberty
How can America be free
A Geordie and a baker's boy
In the forests of the Iroquois...

Now hold your head up, Mason
See America lies there
The morning tide has raised
The capes of Delaware
Come up and feel the sun
A new morning has begun
Another day will make it clear
Why your stars should guide us here...

We are sailing to Philadelphia
A world away from the coaly Tyne
Sailing to Philadelphia
To draw the line
A Mason-Dixon Line

2 comments:

James said...

James,

I don't understand what this means: "obviously, he may have been among the truest enthusiasts there - unless you read his famous tone into the quote"

What's my famous tone? And what does it mean if you read it into the quote?

James

James said...

This retraction of sorts was printed in the Globe:

Call him Starbuck

January 8, 2007

REGARDING "AHAB'S apostles" (City & Region, Jan. 5): In a feature purporting to celebrate the preservation of great literature, your reporter, in unconscious irony, names Ahab's first mate Starbucks. Whoever allowed this gaffe to go to print should be harpooned.

LEEORE SCHNAIRSOHN
Jamaica Plain