Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Libera Nos, Domine
From Mahomet, and Paganisme,5 Glister-Pipes: clyster-pipes, i.e. pipes or syringes used to administer an enema
From Hereticks, and Sects and Schisme,
From high-way Rascals, and Cutpurses;
From carted Bawds, Scolds, and dry Nurses,
From Glister-Pipes, and Doctors Whistles, 5
From begging Schollars stale Epistles,
From Turn-stile Boots, and Long lane Beavers,
From Agues, and from drunken Feavers,
Libera nos Domine.
From all several kind of Itches, 10
From Pantaloons, and Cloak-bag Breeches,
From Carbinadoed Sutes on Serges,
From a Bastard that is the Clergies,
From thredden points, and Cap of Cruel,
From the danger of a Duel, 15
From a Tally full of Notches,
And from privy Seals of Botches,
Libera nos Domine.
From a Whore that's never pleasant,
But in lusty Wine or Pheasant, 20
From the Watch at twelve a clock,
And from Bess Broughtons button'd Smock,
From Hackney Coaches, and from Panders,
That do boast themselves Commanders,
From a Taylors tedious Bill, 25
And Pilgrimage up Holborn Hill,
Libera nos Domine.
From damages and restitutions,
From accursed Executions,
From all new-found waies of sinning, 30
From the scurf, and sables Linnen,
From the Pox, and the Physitian,
And from the Spanish Inquisition,
From a Wife that's wan and meager,
And from Lice and Winters Leaguer, 35
Libera nos Domine.
From a griping slavish Cullion,
From the Gout, and the Strangullion,
From a Mountibanks Potion,
From his scarrings and his Lotion, 40
From the Buttocks of Prisilla,
That diers so with Sarsapherilla,
From a Lecture to the Zealous,
And from the Tub of old Cornelius,
Libera nos Domine. 45
From bawdy Courts, and Civil Doctors,
From drunken Sumners and their Proctors,
From occasions for to revel
With a Lawyer at the Divel,
From Serjeants, Yeomen, and their Maces 50
And from false friends with double faces,
From an enemy More mighty
Than Usquebaugh or Aqua vitae,
Libera nos Domine.
7 Turn-stile Boots: ? There seems to be an echo of this line in "An Excellent Medley," in Broadside Black-letter Ballads, Printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; Chiefly in the Possession of J. Payne Collier ([London:] Thomas Richards, 1868), p. 123: "From Long-lane cloath and Turn-stile boots, / O, fie vpon these scabbed coots!" But J. Payne Collier was a forger.
Long lane: Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions (London: John Murray, 1891), II, 439: "Long Lane, a place of note for the sale of apparel, linen, and upholsterers' goods, both second hand and new, but chiefly for old, for which it is of note.—R.B., in Strype, B. iii. p. 122."
Beavers: beaver hats
9 etc. Libera nos Domine: Deliver us, Lord
12 Carbinadoed: cut, slashed, hacked
14 thredden points: thread lace
cruel: crewel, thin worsted yarn
22 Bess Broughton: a whore (see the account of her in John Aubrey's Brief Lives)
26 Pilgrimage up Holborn Hill: Wheatley, II, 220, s.v. Holborn: "This was the old road from Newgate and the Tower to the gallows at Tyburn."
35 Winters Leaguer: ?
37 Cullion: testicle, hence term of abuse = rascal
38 Strangullion: strangury, i.e. slow and painful urination
42 diers: ?
Sarsapherilla: sarsaparilla, i.e. medicinal preparation of Smilax, used to treat syphilis
44 Tub of old Cornelius: Robert Fletcher, Medical Lore in the Older English Dramatists and Poets (Baltimore: The Friedenwald Co., 1895), p. 20: "There are many and even copious allusions in the dramatists and poets to the treatment of syphilis by two methods: the one by sweating in the tub, and the other by guaiacum administered in decoction, the two methods being combined, or the latter following the former." Id., p. 23: "Many of my quotations speak of a 'Cornelius tub,' or 'Cornelius’s tub.' How the name came to be applied, or who Cornelius was, I have been unable to discover."
49 Divel: Devil's Tavern, on which see Wheatley, I, 497-501
53 Usquebaugh: whiskey
Aqua vitae: "A term of the alchemists applied to ardent spirits or unrectified alcohol; sometimes applied, in commerce, to ardent spirits of the first distillation" (OED)
The Steam Tyrant
On the other hand, true poverty—that is, the actual want of necessaries—is constantly trying to be decent, and one of the clearest signs of deserving poverty is the effort it makes to appear otherwise by scrupulous neatness.Id.:
Not a woman in the county but hates the threshing machine. The dust, the din, the sustained exertion demanded to keep up with the steam tyrant, are distasteful to all women but the coarsest. I am not sure whether, at the present time, women are employed to feed the machine, but some years ago a woman had frequently to stand just above the whizzing wire drum, and feed from morning to night—a performance for which she was quite unfitted, and many were the manoeuvres to escape that responsible position. A thin saucer-eyed woman of fifty-five, who had been feeding the machine all day, declared on one occasion that in crossing a field on her way home in the fog after dusk, she was so dizzy from the work as to be unable to find the opposite gate, and there she walked round and round the field, bewildered and terrified, till three o'clock in the morning, before she could get out. The farmer said that the ale had got into her head, but she maintained that it was the spinning of the machine. The point was never clearly settled between them; and the poor woman is now dead and buried.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
In 1964 the London Seminar on Epic was formed, a joint venture between Queen Mary College and SOAS [i.e. the School of Oriental and African Studies], bringing together a hand-picked elite of some two dozen leading specialists. Whereas the dawn-song project had been conducted through correspondence between the contributors and the editor, the members of the Seminar on Epic, their numbers sometimes fortified by visits from distinguished guests from afar such as Viktor Zhirmunsky, met regularly about six times a year until 1972 and gave papers on their field, followed by mild conviviality (at Hatto's suggestion, the reader of the paper rewarding his listeners with liquor as near as feasible to that drunk by the audiences of the epic tradition in question) and intensely focused discussion.Hat tip: Ian Jackson.
The Aim of Democracy
An aristocracy of intellect should be the aim of democracy: not less Greek and less Latin for the few, but more greek and more Latin for all.Hat tip: Ian Jackson.
Monday, May 20, 2013
The peaks and the gullies of the mountains are asleep, the headlands and the torrents, the forest and all four-footed creatures that the black earth nourishes, the wild beasts of the mountains and the race of bees and the monsters in the depth of the dark-blue sea, and the tribe of the long-winged birds are asleep.Text and translation are as printed in C.M. Bowra, Greek Lyric Poetry (1961; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 70-71. Bowra adopts the text of R. Pfeiffer, "Vom Schlaf der Erde und der Tiere (Alkman, fr. 58 D.)," Hermes 87 (1959) 1–6 (at 4). Bowra's comments on the fragment (p. 71):
εὕδουσιν δ' ὀρέων
κορυφαί τε καὶ φάραγγες,
πρώονές τε καὶ χαράδραι
ὕλά θ' ἑρπέτά θ' ὅσσα
τρέφει μέλαινα γαῖα,
θῆρές τ' ὀρεσκῷοι
καὶ γένος μελισσᾶν
καὶ κνώδαλ' ἐν βένθεσσι πορφυρέας ἁλός,
εὕδουσιν δ' οἰωνῶν
We do not know what the context of this was, but there is not the slightest need to assume that it is the first known example of a famous poetical theme in which the sleep of nature is contrasted with the busy doings of men and which makes its first appearance in the opening scene of Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis and has a long and distinguished history thenceforward.2 Alcman presents a natural scene, and it is entirely satisfying in itself. It may of course be a prelude to some nocturnal rite, and it would be perfectly appropriate as such, but we cannot say that it is.Another translation of this fragment, by E.R. Eddison in A Fish Dinner in Memison (New York: Dutton, 1941), p. 339 (hat tip: Phil Edgren):
The notion that nature sleeps is as old as Homer who uses it in a restricted form for the north wind, ὄφρ᾽ εὕδῃσι μένος Βορέαο,3 and it reappears in Simonides' εὑδέτω δὲ πόντος.4 But Alcman goes much farther than either of these and his conception is different. While Homer and Simonides speak of the slumber of wild elements like wind and sea, Alcman is concerned with the whole of nature, animate and inanimate, fierce and friendly. Though here Alcman relies on Homer for his language more than he usually does,5 the effect is not in the least Homeric. Even the conventional epithets come to life, and play their part in the whole picture.
2 A rich collection of passages may be found in A.S. Pease, Vergil: Aeneid IV, pp. 434 ff.
3 Il. 5.524.
4 Fr. 13.18 D.
5 Page, Alc. Parth, p. 161.
Sleep folds mountain and precipic'd ridge and steep abysm;
Wave-worn headland and deep chasm;
Creeping creatures as many as dark earth doth harbour;
Beasts too that live in the hills, and all the bee-folk;
And monsters in gulfs of the purple ocean;
Sleep folds all: folds
The tribes of the wide-wing'd birds.
No Right to Bliss
And we feel, day and night,
The burden of ourselves—
Well, then, the wiser wight
In his own bosom delves, 130
And asks what ails him so, and gets what cure he can.
The sophist sneers: Fool, take
Thy pleasure, right or wrong.
The pious wail: Forsake
A world these sophists throng.
Be neither saint nor sophist-led, but be a man!
These hundred doctors try
To preach thee to their school.
We have the truth! they cry;
And yet their oracle, 140
Trumpet it as they will, is but the same as thine.
Once read thy own breast right,
And thou hast done with fears;
Man gets no other light,
Search he a thousand years.
Sink in thyself! there ask what ails thee, at that shrine!
What makes thee struggle and rave?
Why are men ill at ease?—
'Tis that the lot they have
Fails their own will to please; 150
For man would make no murmuring, were his will obey'd.
And why is it, that still
Man with his lot thus fights?—
'Tis that he makes this will
The measure of his rights,
And believes Nature outraged if his will's gainsaid.
Couldst thou, Pausanias, learn
How deep a fault is this;
Couldst thou but once discern
Thou hast no right to bliss, 160
No title from the Gods to welfare and repose;
Then thou wouldst look less mazed
Whene'er of bliss debarr'd,
Nor think the Gods were crazed
When thy own lot went hard.
But we are all the same—the fools of our own woes!
Saturday, May 18, 2013
He is His Own Companion
The Solytarie Man contented with fewe meates (and fewer Servantes) haveinge the day before eaten moderately at his owne table and there meanly, yet cleanely furnished, ornefieth his Howse with no greater pompe then his owne presence. In steede of tumulte, he hath a small compaine, in steede of noyes, he useth silence, for want of familiers he is accompanied with himselfe. He is his owne companion: with himselfe he enterteyneth himself, and so he and himselfe doe eate together. His house is made of claye, the walles cleane, and poorely cladd. His buildinge not framed of stone, but of wood, covered with noe coste. There are noe roofes of silver or goulde, neyther be the Flores covered with carpetts or silke, yet maye he from thence behould the Heaven, which prospecte excelleth all others. Hee treadeth upon the Earth, not on purple silke: his Musike noe more then sweete Psalmes, with giving thanks to God, his purveyor noe other then a poore Baker, his Cooke a sillie woman. What they offer him thereof he eateth moderately, accomptinge yt pretious. All other Cates caught in woodes or farr fetched from fieldes and Rivers he doth not desire. Such is his fare, thankfull to God and Man: contented he is with common foode, not bought with money nor provided with muche payne: esteeminge his fare, not by the cost, but his owne appetite. He envieth noe man, nor hateth any bodie, but contente with his fortune, holdeth himselfe secure. He feareth nothinge, nor desireth any thinge. His cuppes are of earth and free from poyson. He knoweth true riches is to desire nothinge, and the most mightie commaunde to obay noe bodie. His life is pleasant and peaceable.Id., I.13 (p. 339):
For everie Man ignorant of letters and wantinge a companion to conferr with, knoweth not what to saie unto himselfe. But the learned Man, at all tymes, and in all places, can intertayne himselfe with readinge, or rumynatinge upon somewhat he had formerly founde in bookes. Therefore Solitude without learning is to those men not lesse displeasinge then exile, imprisonment and torture. But to him that is learned, everie place is as his owne countrie, libertie and delight.
It does not increase our confidence in the conclusions of the recent "Quellenforschung" among the Germans to find each of no less than five authors claimed as the main or even the sole source of Dio Cassius in his history of the second Punic war.But there is a slightly earlier example—James Bryce, "John Richard Green. In Memoriam," Macmillan's Magazine 48 (May 1883) 59-74 (at 70-71):
No one could be more keen and penetrating in what the Germans call Quellenforschung—the collection, and investigation, and testing of the sources of history—nor could any one be more painstaking.The OED, discussing the etymology of the word, says "< German Quellenforschung (1834 or earlier)..." It's possible to go further back here as well. The word appears in the Jenaische allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, no. 284 (December 12, 1811), col. 482.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Of Books and Cheese
No two things in all things can seem only one;In line 8, "nesh" means "soft".
Because two things so must be one thing alone.
Howbeit, reading of books and eating of cheese,
No two things, for some things, more like one than these.
The talent of one cheese in mouths of ten men
Hath ten different tastes in judgment—most times when
He saith “’tis too salt”; he saith “’tis too fresh”;
He saith “’tis too hard ”; he saith “’tis too nesh.”
“It is too strong of the rennet,” saith he;
“It is,” saith he, “not strong enough for me.”
“It is,” saith another, “well as can be.”
No two of any ten in one can agree;
And, as they judge of cheese, so judge they of books.
Onlookers on which, who that narrowly looks,
May look for this: Saith he, “that book is too long.”
“Tis too short,” saith he. “Nay,” saith he, “ye say wrong,
’Tis of meet length; and, so fine phrase, or fair style,
The like that book was not made a good while;
And, in touching the truth, invincibly wrought.”
“Tis all lies,” saith another, “the book is nought.”
No book, no cheese, be it good, be it bad,
But praise and dispraise it hath, and hath had.
John Harington (1561-1612), Epigrams IV.72 ("A comparison of a Booke, with Cheese"), in The Letters and Epigrams of Sir John Harington, together with The Prayse of Private Life, ed. Norman Egbert McClure (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930), pp. 276-277:
Old Haywood writes, & proues in some degrees,In line 9, "sent" is "scent," in modern spelling.
That one may wel compare a book with cheese;
At euery market some buy cheese to feed on,
At euery mart some men buy bookes to read on.
All sorts eate cheese; but how? there is the question,
The poore for food, the rich for good disgestion.
All sorts read bookes, but why? will you discerne?
The foole to laugh, the wiser sort to learne.
The sight, taste, sent of cheese to some is hateful,
The sight, taste, sense of bookes to some's vngratefull,
No cheese there was, that euer pleas'd all feeders,
No booke there is, that euer lik't all Readers.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I.iv (conversation between Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder):
'I wish I liked Catholics more.'II.i (conversation between Cordelia Flyte and Charles Ryder):
'They seem just like other people.'
'My dear Charles, that's exactly what they're not — particularly in this country, where they're so few. It's not just that they're a clique — as a matter of fact, they're at least four cliques all blackguarding each other half the time — but they've got an entirely different outlook on life; everything they think important is different from other people. They try and hide it as much as they can, but it comes out all the time.'
'Charles,' said Cordelia, 'Modern Art is all bosh, isn't it?'II.ii (Father Mowbray speaking):
'The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what's been taught and what's been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn't know existed.'
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
But if the frigid north wind roars or if winter storms descend in rain filled clouds, then let us remain at home and may the hearth shine forth with a great fire. Let the shepherd prepare logs of the huge beech or oak, easily split. Then let him place you in the fire, junipers, who are wont to spread sweet odors all around, and you too, olive trees of Athena. In front of the fire you will have young Giulio to play with, as he charms you and speaks words as yet incoherent. For my part, I will join you in reading the remains of great Vergil. How lucky we should be if fate allowed us to pass what is left of this life in one another's company.The Latin:
Frigidus at silvis Aquilo si increverit, aut siText and translation are as printed in Girolamo Fracastoro, Latin Poetry. Translated by James Gardner (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), pp. 258-259. One trivial comment: in the sixth line Gardner regards "suaves" as modifying "odores," and so the comma in the Latin should perhaps go after the vocative "iuniperi," not after the accusative "suaves."
hiberni pluviis descendent e nubibus imbres,
nos habeat domus, et multo lar luceat igne.
Upilio ingentem aut fagum vel scissile robur
sufficiat, tum vos, claro quando igne soletis,
iuniperi suaves, circum diffundere odores,
et vos Palladiae flammis imponat olivae.
Ante focum tibi parvus erit, qui ludat, Iulus,
blanditias ferat, et nondum constantia verba.
Ipse legam magni tecum monumenta Maronis.
O fortunatos nimium, si fata, quod aevi
nos manet, hanc una dederint producere vitam!
Update from Karl Maurer:
Michael, in the little poem by Fracastoro, in line 2 the prep. "e" is crudely unmetrical. An editor desperate to keep it could put it after "hiberni" (to elide with that) — but it isn't needed, and I suspect should just be excised.Hat tip: Ian Jackson.
In line 8 "Iulus" should get a mark of diaeresis to show that "I-" is there a vowel (is metrically a whole syllable).
In line 1 Gardner's "roars" seems a terribly free way to render "silvis... increverit".
The Fragility of Civilization
"In four months," Randy said, "we've regressed four thousand years. More, maybe. Four thousand years ago the Egyptians and Chinese were more civilized than Pistolville is right now."
Withered and Wizened and Stiff and Old
I am withered and wizened and stiff and old,
Sick and hot, and I sigh for the cold,
For the days when all of the world was fresh
And all of me, my soul and my flesh,—
When my lips and my mouth were cool as the dew,
And my eyes, now worn, as clear, as new.
I wish I were lying out in the rain
In the wood at home, that the waters might strain
And stream through me— But here I lie
In a clammy room, and my soul is dry,
And shall never be fresh again till I die.