Oak

  • A King Pursued by a Unicorn

    A King Pursued by a Unicorn

    Jean Duvet

    White oak, pine pitch, and a shattered shard of golden amber.

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  • A Phantasmagoria

    A Phantasmagoria: Scene – Conjuring Up an Armed Skeleton

    James Gillray
    Wig powder, amber-perfumed leather gloves, and rose petals with a sliver of oak bark and cauldron smoke.

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  • A Witch Riding a Dragon

    A Witch Riding on a Dragon

    Jan de Bisschop
    Blackened tonka, patchouli, dragon’s blood resin, and scorched oak.

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  • Kill Devil

    Kill-Devil

    “Rum punch is not improperly called Kill-Devil; for thousands lose their lives by its means. When newcomers use it to the least excess, they expose themselves to imminent peril, for it heats the blood and brings on fevers, which in a very few hours send them to their graves.”

    Sugar cane, molasses, oak wood, and honey.

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  • Lawful

    Lawful

    4.5 out of 5

    Rigid oak, blue chamomile, rhubarb, and fig leaf.

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  • AGWEB-mad sweeney

    Mad Sweeney

    “Coin tricks is it?” asked Sweeney, his chin raising, his scruffy beard bristling. “Why, if it’s coin tricks we’re doing, watch this.”

    He took an empty glass from the table. Then he reached out and took a large coin, golden and shining, from the air. He dropped it into the glass. He took another gold coin from the air and tossed it into the glass, where it clinked against the first. He took a coin from the candle flame of a candle on the wall, another from his beard, a third from Shadow’s empty left hand, and dropped them, one by one, into the glass. Then he curled his fingrs over the glass, and blew hard, and several more golden coins dropped into the glass from his hand. He tipped the glass of sticky coins into his jacket pocket, and then tapped the pocket to show, unmistakably, that it was empty.

    “There,” he said. “That’s a coin trick for you.”

    Barrel-aged whiskey and oak.

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  • Sic Erit

    Sic Erit

    Esse quid hoc dicam, quod tam mihi dura videntur
    strata, neque in lecto pallia nostra sedent,
    vacuus somno noctem, quam longa, peregi,
    lassaque versati corporis ossa dolent?
    nam, puto, sentirem, siquo temptarer amore.
    an subit et tecta callidus arte nocet?
    sic erit; haeserunt tenues in corde sagittae,
    et possessa ferus pectora versat Amor.
    Cedimus, an subitum luctando accendimus ignem?
    cedamus! leve fit, quod bene fertur, onus.
    vidi ego iactatas mota face crescere flammas
    et rursus nullo concutiente mori.
    verbera plura ferunt, quam quos iuvat usus aratri,
    detractant prensi dum iuga prima boves.
    asper equus duris contunditur ora lupatis,
    frena minus sentit, quisquis ad arma facit.
    acrius invitos multoque ferocius urget
    quam qui servitium ferre fatentur Amor.
    En ego confiteor! tua sum nova praeda, Cupido;
    porrigimus victas ad tua iura manus.
    nil opus est bello–veniam pacemque rogamus;
    nec tibi laus armis victus inermis ero.
    necte comam myrto, maternas iunge columbas;
    qui deceat, currum vitricus ipse dabit,
    inque dato curru, populo clamante triumphum,
    stabis et adiunctas arte movebis aves.
    ducentur capti iuvenes captaeque puellae;
    haec tibi magnificus pompa triumphus erit.
    ipse ego, praeda recens, factum modo vulnus habebo
    et nova captiva vincula mente feram.
    Mens Bona ducetur manibus post terga retortis,
    et Pudor, et castris quidquid Amoris obest.
    omnia te metuent; ad te sua bracchia tendens
    vulgus ‘io’ magna voce ‘triumphe!’ canet.
    blanditiae comites tibi erunt Errorque Furorque,
    adsidue partes turba secuta tuas.
    his tu militibus superas hominesque deosque;
    haec tibi si demas commoda, nudus eris.
    Laeta triumphanti de summo mater Olympo
    plaudet et adpositas sparget in ora rosas.
    tu pinnas gemma, gemma variante capillos
    ibis in auratis aureus ipse rotis.
    tunc quoque non paucos, si te bene novimus, ures;
    tunc quoque praeteriens vulnera multa dabis.
    non possunt, licet ipse velis, cessare sagittae;
    fervida vicino flamma vapore nocet.
    talis erat domita Bacchus Gangetide terra;
    tu gravis alitibus, tigribus ille fuit.
    Ergo cum possim sacri pars esse triumphi,
    parce tuas in me perdere, victor, opes!
    adspice cognati felicia Caesaris arma–
    qua vicit, victos protegit ille manu.

    WHO is it that can tell me why my bed seems so is hard and why the bedclothes will not stay upon it? Wherefore has this night–and oh, how long it was!–dragged on, bringing no sleep to my eyes? Why are my weary limbs visited with restlessness and pain? If it were Love that had come to make me suffer, surely I should know it. Or stay, what if he slips in like a thief, what if he comes, without a word of warning, to wound me with his cruel arts? Yes, ’tis he! His slender arrows have pierced my heart, and fell Love holds it like a conquered land. Shall I yield me to him? Or shall I strive against him, and so add fuel to this sudden flame? Well, I will yield; burdens willingly borne do lighter weigh. I know that the flames will leap from the shaken torch and die away in the one you leave alone. The young oxen which rebel against the yoke are more often beaten than those which willingly submit. And if a horse be fiery, harsh is the bit that tames him. When he takes to -the fray with a will, he feels the curb less galling. And so it is with Love; for hearts that struggle and rebel against him, he is more implacable and stern than for such as willingly confess his sway.

    Ah well, be it so, Cupid; thy prey am I. I am a poor captive kneeling with suppliant hands before my conqueror. What is the use of fighting? Pardon and peace is what I ask. And little, I trow, would it redound to your glory, armed as you are, to strike down a defenceless man. Crown thy brows with myrtle and thy mother’s doves yoke to thy car. Thy step-father will give thee the chariot that befits thee, and upon that chariot, amid the acclamations of the throng, thou shalt stand a conqueror, guiding with skill thy harnessed birds. Captives in thy train, youths and maidens shall follow, and splendid shall be thy triumph. And I, thy latest victim, shall be there with my fresh wound, and with submissive mien I will bear my new-wrought fetters. Prudence shall be led captive with hands bound behind her back, and Modesty, and whatsoever else is an obstacle to Love. All things shall be in awe of thee, and stretching forth their arms towards thee the throng with mighty voice shall thunder “Io Triumphe!” Caresses shall be thy escort, and Illusion and Madness, a troop that ever follows in thy train. With these fighting on thy side, nor men nor gods shall stand against thee; but if their aid be lacking, naked shalt thou be. Proud to behold thy triumph, thy mother will applaud thee from High Olympus and scatter roses on thy upturned face. Thy wings and thy locks shall be adorned with precious stones, and all with gold resplendent shalt thou drive thy golden car. Then too, if I know thee well, thou wilt set countless other hearts on fire, and many a wound shalt deal as thou passest on thy way. Repose, even when thou art fain to rest, cometh not to thine arrows. Thy ardent flame turns water itself to vapour. Such was Bacchus when he triumphed over the land of the Ganges. Thou art drawn along by doves; his car was drawn by tigers. Since, then, I am to have a part in thy godlike triumph, lose not the rights which thy victory gives thee over me. Bethink thee of the victories of thy kinsman Cæsar; he shields the conquered with the very hand that conquers them.

    – – –

    Thus it will be; slender arrows are lodged in my heart,
    and Love vexes the chest that it has seized.
    Should I surrender or stir up the sudden flame by battling it?
    I will surrender; a burden becomes light when it is carried willingly.
    – Ovid, translation by J. Lewis May

    Slender arrows lodged in my heart: red amber, benzoin, red musk, bourbon geranium, oak bark, Atlas cedar, and 13-year aged Sumatran patchouli.

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  • Antikythera Mechanism

    The Antikythera Mechanism

    4.47 out of 5

    Bronze gears spin inside a polished wooden case, and an entire universe dances within.

    Teakwood, oak, black vanilla, and tobacco.

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  • Ninth Cage

    The Ninth Cage

    The unicorn hardly heard him. She turned and turned in her prison, her body shrinking from the touch of the iron bars all around her. No creature of man’s night loves cold iron, and while the unicorn could endure its presence, the murderous smell of it seemed to turn her bones to sand and her blood to rain. The bars of her cage must have had some sort of spell on them, for they never stopped whispering evilly to one another in clawed, pattering voices.

    A claustrophobic blend of iron and oak.

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  • Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes

    Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes

    3 out of 5

    Thrice toss these oaken ashes in the air,
    Thrice sit thou mute in this enchanted chair,
    Then thrice three times tie up this true love’s knot,
    And murmur soft “She will, or she will not.”

    Go burn these pois’nous weeds in yon blue fire,
    These screech-owl’s feathers and this prickling briar,
    This cypress gathered at a dead man’s grave,
    That all my fears and cares an end may have.

    Then come, you fairies! dance with me a round;
    Melt her hard heart with your melodious sound.
    In vain are all the charms I can devise:
    She hath an art to break them with her eyes.

    Apple peel and oak ash, briar thorns and pine ash, and cypress gathered at a dead man’s grave.

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  • Ulalume

    Ulalume

    2 out of 5

    The skies they were ashen and sober;
    The leaves they were crisped and sere –
    The leaves they were withering and sere;
    It was night in the lonesome October
    Of my most immemorial year:
    It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
    In the misty mid region of Weir –
    It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
    In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

    Starry white lilies lend an eerie brightness to the deep black wooded scents of cypress and oak, layered with a touch of crushed dried leaves and the faintest aquatic note.

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  • Vedant Decay

    Verdant Decay

    Ligeia had brought me far more, very far more than ordinarily falls to the lot of mortals. After a few months, therefore, of weary and aimless wandering, I purchased, and put in some repair, an abbey, which I shall not name, in one of the wildest and least frequented portions of fair England. The gloomy and dreary grandeur of the building, the almost savage aspect of the domain, the many melancholy and time-honored memories connected with both, had much in unison with the feelings of utter abandonment which had driven me into that remote and unsocial region of the country. Yet although the external abbey, with its verdant decay hanging about it, suffered but little alteration, I gave way, with a child-like perversity, and perchance with a faint hope of alleviating my sorrows, to a display of more than regal magnificence within.

    A claustrophobic thicket of yew, cypress, and drooping oak grown wild with dense mounds of bittersweet nightshade, gleaming white foxglove, creeping black ivy, clusters of marshy false morel and fly agaric, and a smear of crushed, overripe baneberries.

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  • Walking the Prime Meridian

    Walking the Prime Meridian

    5 out of 5

    This is the scent of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich on a cold, stormy day in March: ancient oaks and deep green mosses dampened by rain and sea salt.

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  • Witch Cursed Castle

    Witch-Cursed Castle

    You whom Haggard holds in thrall,
    Share his feast and share his fall.
    You shall see your fortune flower
    Till the torrent takes the tower.
    Yet none but one of Hagsgate town
    May bring the castle swirling down.

    Beyond the town, darker than dark, King Haggard’s castle teetered like a lunatic on stilts, and beyond the castle the sea slid. Drinn stopped him as he raised his glass. “Not that toast, my friend. Will you drink to a woe fifty years old? It is that long since our sorrow fell, when King Haggard built his castle by the sea.”

    “When the witch built it, I think.” Schmendrick wagged a finger at him. “Credit where it’s due, after all.”

    “Ah, you know that story,” Drinn said. “Then you must also know that Haggard refused to pay the witch when her task was completed.”

    The magician nodded. “Aye,” and she cursed him for his greed – cursed the castle, rather. “But what had that to do with Hagsgate? The town had done the witch no wrong.”

    “No,” Drinn replied. “But neither had it done her any good. She could not unmake the castle – or would not, for she fancied herself an artistic sort and boasted that her work was years ahead of its time. Anyway, she came to the elders of Hagsgate and demanded that they force Haggard to pay what was due her. ‘Look at me and see yourselves,’ she rasped. ‘That’s the true test of a town, or of a king. A lord who cheats an ugly old witch will cheat his own folk by and by. Stop him while you can, before you grow used to him.’” Drinn sipped his wine and thoughtfully filled Schmendrick’s glass once more.

    “Haggard paid her no money,” he went on, “and Hagsgate, alas, paid her no heed. She was treated politely and referred to the proper authorities, whereupon she flew into a fury and screamed that in our eagerness to make no enemies at all, we had now made two.” He paused, covering his eyes with lids so thin that Molly was sure he could see through them, like a bird. With his eyes closed, he said, “It was then that she cursed Haggard’s castle, and cursed our town as well. Thus his greed brought ruin upon us all.”

    In the sighing silence, Molly Grue’s voice came down like a hammer on a horseshoe, as though she were again berating poor Captain Cully. “Haggard’s less at fault than you yourselves,” she mocked the folk of Hagsgate, “for he was only one thief, and you were many. You earned your trouble by your own avarice, not your king’s.”

    Drinn opened his eyes and gave her an angry look. “We earned nothing,” he protested. “It was our parents and grandparents whom the witch asked for help, and I’ll grant you that they were as much to blame as Haggard, in their way. We would have handled the matter quite differently.” And every middle-aged face in the room scowled at every older face.

    One of the old men spoke up in a voice that wheezed and miaowed. “You would have done just as we did. There were crops to harvest and stock to tend, as there still are. There was Haggard to live with, as there still is. We know very well how you would have behaved. You are our children.”

    Weed-strewn oak, opoponax, wet stone, creaking redwood, and desolate olibanum.

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