Oldie readers of this blog will know who I mean by Katharine Whitehorn. Journalist (Observer, mostly). Irreverent, no-nonsense, funny, nice. She’s now Saga magazine’s agony aunt.
I’ve just stumbled on the poem she wants to be read at her funeral. It’s by AE Housman and it’s called Parta Quies. I’d not come across it before.
Good-night; ensured release,
Have these for yours,
While sea abides, and land,
And earth’s foundations stand,
And heaven endures.
When earth’s foundations flee,
Nor sky nor land nor sea
At all is found,
Content you, let them burn:
It is not your concern;
Sleep on, sleep sound.
What’s that shuckleuckle sound I hear? Ah, countless celebrants typing it into their funeral poem anthologies.
What music does Katharine Whitehorn want? I don’t know. But this is what she chose when she was on Desert Island Discs. (Note to US readers: this is the highest accolade that can be conferred upon a Brit. Forget lordships and sirdoms and damehoods, an invitation to appear on Desert Island Discs is the one that cuts the mustard.)
Follow Me – John Denver
Chopin’s grand waltz – Brillante in A flat major, op.34 – Chopin
Je tire ma Révérence – Jean Sablon with Wal-Berg’s Orchestra. Composer Bastia
Part of Sibelius Finlandia
Every Time We Say Goodbye – Ella Fitzgerald
Slow movement of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto
Slow movement of Mozart’s 3rd Violin Concerto
Impromptu No 4 in F Minor – Schubert
Her favourite: Bach’s Double Violin Concerto