Friday, June 28, 2019


Paddling About Among Philologers

A Barfield Sampler: Poetry and Fiction by Owen Barfield (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), p. 33:

I am much inclined towards a life of ease
And should not scorn to spend my dwindling years
In places where my sort of fancy stirs;
Perched up on ladders in old libraries
With several quartos pouring off my knees...
Translating Ariosto into verse...
Paddling about among philologers
And Dictionaries and concordances!

There, on some dark oak table, more and more
Voluminous each day, ye should perceive
My Magnum Opus...that one which untwists
Their bays from poets who shirk metaphor
And make rich words grow obsolete, and leave
Imagination to Psychiatrists.

Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885), The Bookworm
("Perched up on ladders in old libraries")

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