Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Notes about the BEES of Rilke & Balthus

"The word beauty is coming back into style, after having been under something of a cloud all during the twentieth century. . . . ' We are the bees of the invisible,' Rilke wrote to a friend in November, 1925: ' . . . our task is to impress this preliminary; transient earth upon ourselves with so much suffering and so passionately that its nature rises up again ‘invisibly' within us. . . . We ceaselessly gather the honey of the visible, to store it up in the great golden beehive of the Invisible.'" Louise Cowan, Ph.D. http://dallasinstitute.org/listenandview_read_thefrailstrengthofbeauty.html

"Everything beckons to us to perceive it,
murmurs at every turn, 'Remember me!'
A day we passed, too busy to receive it,
will yet unlock us all in its treasury.

"Who shall compute our harvest? Who shall bar
us from the former years the long-departed?
What have we learned from living since we started,
except to find in others what we are?

"Except to re-enkindle commonplace?
O house, O sloping field, O setting Sun!
Your features form into a face, you run,
you cling to us, returning our embrace!

"One space spreads through all creatures equally --
inner-world-space. Birds quietly flying go
flying through us. O, I that want to grow!
The tree I see outside it's growing in me!

"I have a house within when I need care.
I have a guard within when I need rest.
The love that I have had! -- Upon my breast
the beauty of the world clings, to weep there." Rainer Maria Rilke

"Balthus' adolescents are Rilke's 'bees of the invisible,' taking in from books, from daydreaming, from as yet ambiguous longing, from staring out windows at trees, sustenances that will be available in time as Proustian ripenesses, necessities of the heart.... Where in Greek writing you always find a running account of all the senses in intimate contact with the world, in Latin you find instead a pedantry accustomed to substituting some rhetorical convention for honest and immediate perception. Balthus has Greek wholeness." Guy Davenport, "Balthus" in 'Every Force Evolves A Form', North Point Press, San Francisco, 1987.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

ANACREONTA #12 : my translation

[ pro comiti mihi amicoque, SamWise ]


Folks say the girly Attis went
mad, howling in the highlands
after his lovely Kybaby; folks
drink the prophesying waters
of laureled god Phoibos Apollo
along Claros' slopes, go mad
and shout prophecy. I want to
get loose wi' the Loosener god.
Satiated with the sweets of my
girlfriend, I want more madness!

Greek Text:

οἱ μὲν καλὴν Κυβήβην
τὸν ἡμίθηλυν Ἄττιν
ἐν οὔρεσιν βοῶντα
λέγουσιν ἐκμανῆναι.
οἱ δὲ Κλάρουπαρ' ὄχθαις
δαφνηφόροιο Φοίβου
λάλον πιόντες ὕδωρ
μεμηνότες βοῶσιν.
ἐγὼ δὲ τοῦ Λυαίου
καὶ τοῦ μύρου κορεσθεὶς
καὶ τῆς ἐμῆς ἑταίρης
θέλω, θέλω μανῆναι.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

ANACREONTA #53 : my translation

Dedicated to my friends Paul Erdunast and Thomas Copley Catterall,
upon the occasion of their receiving accepts from the Worcester
and St. Anne's Colleges of the University of Oxford.

When I push my way into a throng of young men,
my youthful vigor returns, and then, I must dance;
although an old man, I turn into a bird on the wing;
then I am totally crazy; I am in an euphoric frenzy:
Hand me a garland! I want to be clad in a beast pelt!
Grey old age is at this moment far from me,
and I shall dance as a youth among youths.
Some one bring me the harvest wine of Bacchus,
so the god may see for himself the strong old man:
who has learned to celebrate;
who has learned to carouse;
who has learned to gracefully be mad.

Greek Text:
ὅτ ἐγὼ 'ς νέων ὅμιλον
ἐσορῶ, πάρεστιν ἥβα.
τότε δή, τότ' ἐς χορείην
ὁ γέρων ἐγὼ πτεροῦμαι,
παραμαίνομαι, κυβηβῶ.
παράδος· θέλω στεφέσθαι.
πολιὸν δ' ἑκὰς τὸ γῆρας·
νέος ἐν νέοις χορεύσω,
Διονυσίης δέ μοί τις
φερέτω ῥοὰν ὀπώρης,
ἵν ἴδῃ γέροντος ἀλκὴν
δεδαηκότος μὲν εἰπεῖν,
δεδαηκότος δὲ πίνειν,
χαριέντως τε μανῆναι.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Aphrodite Anadyomene

A First Century mural in Pompei thought to be a copy of Apelles' painting, with Campaspe, sexual initiator of Alexander the Great, as model. Alexander is said to have liked the painting so well that he gifted ( μπαξίσι ) Apelles with Campaspe.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seize the Day! EPODE XIII & ODE XI, L.1 of Horace

[ 'EPODE' conveys the sense of 'an enchantment' with special rhythm and repetition schemes (Xenophon & Plato), emerging participially from ἐπαείδω (Attic ἐπᾴδω ), future ἐπάσσομαι, meaning "to sing as an incantation"{Xen,Plat.) and later, "to sing to/in accompaniment"(Herodotus,Euripides). Absolutely, ἐπαείδων = "by means of charms"; 'ODE' derives from the Ancient Greek word for 'a song', and is a lyric, usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style.]


Horrida tempestas caelum contraxit et imbres
nivesque deducunt Iovem; nunc mare, nunc siluae
Threicio Aquilone sonant. rapiamus, amici,
Occasionem de die dumque virent genua
et decet, obducta solvatur fronte senectus.
tu vina Torquato move consule pressa meo.
cetera mitte loqui: deus haec fortasse benigna
reducet in sedem vice. nunc et Achaemenio
perfundi nardo iuvat et fide Cyllenea
levare diris pectora Sollicitudinibus,
nobilis ut grandi cecinit Centaurus alumno:
'invicte, mortalis dea nate puer Thetide,
te manet Assaraci tellus, quam frigida parvi
findunt Scamandri flumina lubricus et Simois,
unde tibi reditum certo Subtemine Parcae
rupere, nec mater domum caerula te revehet.
illic omne malum vino cantuque levato,
deformis aegrimoniae dulcibus adloquiis.

ODE XI, Liber 1

Tu ne quaesieris (scire nefas) quem mihi,quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. Ut melius quicquid erit pati!
Seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppsitis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur fugerit invida
aetas : carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Dangerous Experiment translated from the Latin of Fabulae Faciles

RUFUS Latin Fables Translation Group

This week’s participants are . . .

DJS David
DLP Diana
KAC Kathryn
LXD Lorcan
MJM Mark
YG Yaroslav


December 7 Collation
A Dangerous Experiment

TR 1 .. Dum fIliae rEgis hoc mIrAculum stupentEs intuentur, MEdEa ita
locUta est: "VidEtis quantum valeat medicIna.
TR 1 DJS As the king’s daughters observed this miracle, Medea spoke
thus : « Do you see how powerful this medicine is?
TR 1 DLP While the king’s daughters were looking upon this miracle in
astonishment, Medea said: “You see how powerful the art of healing
TR 1 KAC While the daughters of the king, astounded, regarded this
miracle, Medea spoke thus: “You see how strong the medicine is.
TR 1 LXD While the king's daughters, being astounded, are staring in
wonder at this prodigy, Medea spoke thus, "You are seeing how powerful
this medicine is. (Rev.ed. ars magica - magic)
TR 1 MJM While the King’s astounded daughters were intently watching
this wonder, Medea said this: “You all see how he may be healthy
through this medicine.
TR 1 YG While king’s daughters looked at this miracle in amazement,
Medea said so: “You see how strong medicine is.
NOTE: The editor of the edition in Gutenberg, Kirtland, made a few
minor changes in the text. That’s an interesting one. That Medea
uses herbs seems more in line with ‘medicina,’ but her results seem
more like ‘ars magica’; but then I’d expect eye of newt and toad

TR 2 .. VOs igitur, sI vultis patrem vestrum in adulEscentiam
redUcere, id quod fEcI ipsae faciEtis.
TR 2 DJS So if you want your father to be brought back to his youth,
do the same things I have done.
TR 2 DLP So, if you wish your father to be restored to youth, you
yourselves will do that which I have done.
TR 2 KAC You therefore, if you wish your father to turn back into a
young man, should do that which I did yourselves
TR 2 LXD So y'all, if you wish to take your father back to his
adolescence, you will do the same things that I did.
TR 2 MJM Therefore, if you want your father to be restored to youth,
that which I did you all may yourselves do.
TR 2 YG Therefore, if you want to bring your father back to youth, you
will do yourself what I have done.

TR 3 .. VOs patris membra in vAs conicite; ego herbAs magicAs praebEbO."
TR 3 DJS Throw your father’s members into the vessel; I shall furnish
the magic herbs.
TR 3 DLP You, toss your father’s’s limbs in a cauldron; I will provide
the magic herbs.”
TR 3 KAC Throw the limbs of your father into a vessel; I will provide
the magic herbs.
TR 3 LXD Put your father's limbs into the kettle; I shall supply the
magic herbs.
TR 3 MJM Pile your father’s limbs together into a vase; I will provide
the magical herbs.
TR 3 YG Throw limbs of your father into the vase; I shall supply magical herbs.

TR 4 .. Quod ubi audItum est, fIliae rEgis cOnsilium quod dedisset
MEdEa nOn omittendum putAvErunt.
TR 4 DJS When they heard this, the king’s daughters thought that the
advice which Medea had given them should not be disregarded.
TR 4 DLP When they heard this, the king’s daughters believed that
Medea’s instructions must be followed to the letter.
TR 4 KAC When they had heard this, the king’s daughters did not think
they should disregard the plan which Media had given them.
TR 4 LXD Which, when it was heard, the daughters of the king had
thought they should disregard what Medea would give them.
TR 4 MJM When this was heard, the King’s daughters decided not to
neglect the advice which Medea had offered.
TR 4 YG Once this was heard, king’s daughters thought that the advice
which Medea gave should not be neglected.

TR 5 .. Patrem igitur Peliam necAvErunt et membra eius in vAs aEneum
coniEcErunt; nihil autem dubitAbant quIn hoc maximE eI prOfutUrum
TR 5 DJS So they killed their father Pelias and threw his body into
the vessel; and they had no doubt but that this was going to be of
great advantage to him.
TR 5 DLP Therefore, they killed their father, Pelias, and threw his
limbs into a copper cauldron; for they had no doubt at all that this
would benefit him greatly.
TR 5 KAC Therefore they killed their father Pelias and threw his limbs
into a bronze vessel; however they doubted not that this would be of
great benefit to him.
TR 5 LXD So they killed their father Pelias and threw his limbs into
the copper kettle, for they didn't doubt that this would be very
beneficial for him.
TR 5 MJM Therefore they killed their father Pelias and piled his limbs
together into a bronze vase; moreover they did not doubt in any way
that this would be the greatest benefit for him.
TR 5 YG So they killed their father Pelias and threw his limbs into a
bronze vase; moreover, they didn’t doubt that by doing this they
helped him greatly.

TR 6 .. At rEs omnInO aliter EvEnit ac spErAverant, MEdEa enim nOn
eAsdem herbAs dedit quibus ipsa Usa erat.
TR 6 DJS But the king turned out completely otherwise from what they
were expecting, for Medea did not give them the same herbs which she
herself had used.
TR 6 DLP But the affair turned out altogether differently than they
had hoped; for Medea did not administer the same herbs which she had
used before.
TR 6 KAC But the matter came out entirely otherwise than they had
hoped, for Medea did not give them the same herbs as those which she
had used herself.
TR 6 LXD But it turned out altogether otherwise than they had hoped,
for Medea didn't give them the herbs which she had used.
TR 6 MJM But the affair turned out entirely otherwise then they had
hoped, for Medea did not give them the same herbs which she herself
had used.
TR 6 YG But things came out wholly different than they hoped, for
Medea didn’t give the same herbs that she had used herself.

TR 7 .. Itaque postquam diU frUstrA exspectAvErunt, patrem suum rE
vErA mortuum esse intellExErunt.
TR 7 DJS And so, after they had waited for a long time, they realized
that their father has in fact died.
TR 7 DLP And so, after they had waited a long time in vain, they
realized that their father was, in fact, dead.
TR 7 KAC And so after they had waited in vain for a long time, they
realized that their father was truly dead.
TR 7 LXD So they waited in vain for a long time afterwards, before
they knew for a fact that their father was truly dead.
TR 7 MJM Therefore after they waited for a long time in vain, they
realized that their father was really dead.
TR 7 YG And so after they waited in vain for a long time, they
understood that their father was really dead.

TR 8 .. HIs rEbus gestIs MEdEa sE cum coniuge suO rEgnum acceptUram
esse spErAbat; sed cIvEs cum intellegerent quO modO PeliAs periisset,
tantum scelus aegrE tulErunt.
TR 8 DJS Having accomplished all this, Medea was expecting that she,
together with her spouse would receive the throne; but when the
subject heard how Pelias had perished, they were greatly indignant.
TR 8 DLP With these deeds accomplished, Medea hoped that she would
receive the crown with her husband; but his subjects knew how Pelias
had perished, and they were indignant at so evil a crime.
TR 8 KAC Having managed this situation, Medea hoped that she would
seize the kingdom with her husband, but when the citizens understood
in what way Pelias had perished, they could scarcely bear such
TR 8 LXD After these deeds were carried out, Medea was hoping that she
was going to receive the royal authority along with her spouse, but
the citizens, when they learned how the king had been destroyed, took
such wickedness ill.
TR 8 MJM While these things were happening, Medea was hoping that she
along with her husband would receive royal power; but the citizens,
when they understood in what manner Pelias had perished, bore so great
a crime with difficulty.
TR 8 YG After these things carried out, Medea hoped that she and her
husband would receive the throne; but citizens, when they learned how
Pelias had perished, were indignant at such great crime.

TR 9 .. Itaque IAsone et MEdEA E rEgnO expulsIs Acastum rEgem creAvErunt.
TR 9 DJS And so with Jason and Medea expelled from the realm, they
made Acastus king.
TR 9 DLP Accordingly, they banished Jason and Medea from the realm,
and made Acastus king.
TR 9 KAC And so, with Jason and Media expelled from the kingdom, they
made Acastus king.
TR 9 LXD And so they made Acastus king, after Jason and Medea were driven out.
TR 9 MJM Therefore, when Jason and Medea were banished from the
kingdom, they appointed Acastus king.
TR 9 YG And after they banished Jason and Medea from the kingdom, they
made Acastus the king.

If interested in joining us in this or another Latin or Greek study group, see:


Exhibition on love in antiquity opens in Athens, Greece

Exhibition on love in antiquity opens in Athens


ATHENS, Greece — When it came to endearments, Philonides wasn't a man of subtlety.
The lid of a small 5th century B.C. Greek vase, intended as a gift to a
flute-player named Anemone, bore a picture of male and female genitalia. To avoid any
misunderstanding, Philonides and Anemone's names were inscribed next to the appropriate parts.

The 2,500-year-old find, from a Greek museum's collection, is part of a groundbreaking new exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens dedicated to the ancient Greek god of love Eros.

What organizers say is the biggest-ever display of its kind brings together more than 270 artifacts from Greek and international museums, spanning a millennium from the 6th century B.C. to early Christian times.

Exhibits, representing the sacred and profane, the graphic and mundane, range from a 2,500-year-old love note and a spurned lover's deadly curse to a recreation of a Roman brothel.

"It is very easy to write about love, to read about love, even easier perhaps to fall in love, but it is extremely difficult to convey love through art," Cycladic Museum director Nikos Stampolidis said Wednesday,"Which is why there have been very few (archaeological) exhibitions about love."

"We tried to look at it not only as an abstract force of fertility or a god
as represented in ancient sculpture or painting, but also as a human value and a daily act," Stampolidis said.

Most exhibits make for easy family viewing, including marble masterpieces such as the Louvre's winged Eros stringing his bow — a Roman copy of a late classical bronze — and the 2nd century A.D. complex of Eros kissing goddess of the soul, Psyche, from Rome's Capitoline Museums.

Early Greek writers refer to Eros, whom the Romans called Cupid, as a primordial force second only to Chaos and Earth in the order of creation. Others see him as a lesser divinity whose mother was Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty.

"Ancient writers used hundreds of adjectives for love," Stampolidis said.
"Invincible, immortal, uncertain, sleepless, thief of reason, sweet but also bitter, running swiftly on a path of fire."

The display unblushingly looks into love in religion and marriage, the status of women in ancient society, homosexuality and prostitution.

First comes Aphrodite suckling the baby Eros, a theme reflected in Christian
representations of the Virgin and Child, aiming his darts and even as an allegory of death.

The baroque affairs of the ancient gods are followed by love in everyday life: Demure vase paintings of marriage in classical Greece; a love note from one Arkesimos bidding his girlfriend Eumelis to come "with as much haste as possible;"
a curse on a lead tablet from a woman wishing a deadly fever on a certain Hermias who spurned her affections.

The earthier section is upstairs, where museum officials advise parents
accompany children under 16. There's a recreation of a room from a Roman brothel excavated in Pompeii, vase paintings with 'graphic sex scenes involving all imaginable combinations — what Stampolidis called "a kind of Kama Sutra" — even a stone altar shaped as a giant phallus.

"Nothing was obscene for the ancients," Stampolidis said. "We must look at things in an open way, and we wanted to present the beauty (of love) through the aesthetics of ancient Greek and Roman art so as to gain a different reading of the ancient world."

"Eros, from Hesiod's Theogony to late antiquity" opens Thursday and runs until April 5.

On the Net:


Σαλούστιος, Salustus the Philosopher

"The world, one may say, is a Myth in which bodies and things are visible; but souls and minds, hidden." Σαλούστιος, 'Sallustius the philosopher", or Sallust, a Fourth Century A.D. philosopher and a friend of the Roman (and Byzantine) Emperor Julian, wrote the treatise 'On the Gods and the Cosmos', which has been called a catechism of Fourth Century GrecoRoman Pagans. Sallustius' work owes much to Iamblichus of Chalcis, who synthesized Platonism with Pythagoreanism and theurgy, and also to the Emperor Julian's philosophical writings.




Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης (Diodorus Siculus)

Diodorus Siculus, whose name I first encountered this morning in Gregory Nagy's 'Greek Mythology and Poetics'is known for his universal history, 'Bibliotheca historica', which seems to have been the equivalent of an NYT bestseller among the literati of the GrecoRoman world around the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar and Jesus Christ.

One can get a taste of this important work at:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friendship & Community

"The great sociologist Max Weber identified a pattern in the development of religious groups that he called the 'routinisation of charisma'. This is the phenomenon whereby the followers of a 'charismatic' religious teacher attempt to perpetuate their cohesion and purpose by codifying a doctrine, formulating rules and founding institutions. This process is probably necessary, yet how often, in the history of religious movements, it seems to contribute to the loss of what was most vital in the founder's vision.
A striking historical example of this phenomenon is the rapid rise and equally rapid ossification of the Franciscan Order within the Catholic Church. The Order, inspired by the leadership and example of Saint Francis himself, grew very swiftly in his lifetime. Not long after his death, however, a serious conflict developed between two wings – the 'spirituals', who wanted to stick to the pure vision of Francis, and the 'conventuals', who wanted to establish the Franciscans on the same lines as the other monastic orders of the time. The conflict finally ended in the triumph of the conventuals and – tragically – the execution of some of the spirituals.
Although Franciscans remain numerous in the Catholic Church to this day, they are divided into many separate orders, for the same tension has been played out again and again since that time. What is more, the bitterness of the original conflict seems to show that Francis failed to transmit his own inspiration fully. The most likely explanation of his failure is that he allowed his order to grow too fast for the successful communication (and therefore the preservation) of his spiritual vision. There was no possibility that his influence – his spiritual friendship, as one might call it – could be transmitted throughout such a rapidly expanding body.
One lesson from this story is that a spiritual community can only expand at the speed at which a circle of friendships can grow. Otherwise it becomes merely an institution. An institution may still be a force for good in the world: it may still be animated here and there, from time to time, with flashes of the original fire, but in itself it is something less than a spiritual community. A mere institution lacks the spiritual community's harmonious unity – its 'oneness in mind' – and its spiritual vitality.
Let me emphasise that I am not saying that 'institutions' as such are the enemy of harmony or vitality. Actually, they are indispensable if a spiritual group wishes to grow beyond a small, private circle, to have a real influence on the world. But institutional growth must be the servant of an expanding network of friends, not a substitute for it.
A test of the spiritual vitality of any spiritual institution is therefore whether there are strong friendships among its members. A clue would be found in the relative importance given to friendship over other kinds of relationship. If, on examining such a group, one saw that even married members put more emphasis on their spiritual friendships than on their family relationships (while not shirking their family duties, of course) it would augur well for the survival of that fellowship as a true spiritual community. One should also, however, consider whether the members not only got on well among themselves, but were also friendly to people beyond their own charmed circle. True friendship is not exclusive; it always includes a willingness to make new friends."

Kuan Yin Myth http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma8/

Saturday, November 14, 2009

'The Red Pagan' by Alfred George Stephens (1865-1933)

"Literature is the human mind's effective manifestation in written language. That is put forward as the best definition attainable. For effective, if you like, read forceful or forcible. Everything is in the adjective. Artistic would be more satisfying in one sense; but what is artistic? — where is your criterion of art or of beauty? No; beauty must be construed in terms of strength — it is a mode of strength, as heat is a mode of motion. When you say effective, you do not eliminate the taste-cavil, the quality-cavil, but you refer it to a quantity standard that is more intelligible, more ponderable. How much, and how many, and for how long, does a book impress, and move, and thrill? What active energy does it disengage? What is its equivalent in thought-rays? in emotion-volts? What is its force, its effect? Estimate that, find that, judge that, and you will know a book's universal value as Literature. This standard of force is the ultimate standard. Tastes differ with individuals, countries, and eras; but three and two are five, and twice five are ten, everywhere in the universe. The scale inevitably adjusts itself. Uncle Tom's Cabin impressed many, and much; but for how long? Catullus has moved much, and long ; but how many? We argue that Catullus writes better Literature than Harriet Stowe — because people of 'taste', people of 'culture', people of 'learning', prefer Catullus. Well, if it be so, in the long run Catullus's total force of achieved impressions will outweigh Harriet Stowe's. Her work dies; his lives through the ages. His mind's 'effective manifestation' surpasses hers.

Style is a requisite of Literature ; but what is style ? Merely an aid to effect. Individual taste may prefer the florid or the simple ; but florid style or simple is valuable only in so far as it impresses, gives force. Having defined Literature as the mind's effective manifestation in written language, you can proceed to define the things that go to make effect, and style is one of them. But style, and thought, and emotion, and interest, and melody, and picture — these are only factors in the total. The total is force. In the last resort Literature must be judged, like everything else, by the force it develops — the quantity of latent energy which it makes active. Then one must wait ten thousand years to judge what is Literature. Yes; and longer than that. But you can make provisional judgments as you go along. If the literary effect of Mrs. Stowe is at this century's end equivalent to I0;r, and the literary effect of Catullus is equivalent to only Jx, you can still calculate on the future and defend your preference of Catullus, or of Mrs. Stowe. Nobody does, of course, but that is the only way to do it which will hold logic-water. Between any human mind, as agent, and the whole multitude of human minds, as objects, the sole fixed standard of measurement possible is a standard of how much force exerted, on how many, for how long. All the other standards shift with time, and place, and individuals, and circumstances.

So that, for humanity, Literature is the human mind's effective manifestation in written language. But, for the individual appraiser, there is a standard much more satisfactory, much more easily applied. Truth is — what you believe. Literature is — what you like. Admire the corollary: What I like is Literature....

Literature is one road to the Golden Age, one help to fix the date of the good time traditionally coming. And the object of existence on this earth is to have a good time. The only human way of having a good time is to get emotions, impressions, sensations — the most and most varied and most intense sensations that your brain can give. Every human being tries instinctively to live the most intensely conscious kind of life that he is capable of living, and to remain conscious for the longest possible period. A wise man would deliberately set himself to improve his brain and its attached body to the utmost limit of the cosmic and hereditary tether. He would get his sensations as he extended his capacity for sensations, but he would always look forward to the time when his brain would be as keen and full as he could make it by normal vital processes. Then, when his brain was full, he would start to absorb fully the world of sensations. Joy, grief, pleasure, pain, natural beauty, artistic beauty, the satisfaction of knowledge and the satisfaction of power, love, fatherhood, peace, war, the light of dawn and the light of woman's eyes, books and friends, music and mystery ; — he would welcome them all to the limit of his power to receive them all, when considered together with his mortality, his chance of continuing to receive all in the most intense measure. Deliberately he would milk the world of sensations into the bucket of his brain. And deliberately, if he understood that there was an intensity of sensation that transcended the normal power of his brain, he would artificially stimulate his brain, counting the cost, and realising that he was giving perhaps a day of normal life for a moment of life transcendent. Deliberately, a wise man would know excess and fatigue, intoxication and abstinence — for the pleasure of knowledge, and for the pleasure of excess and intoxication. And his motto would be, not 'Never too much', but 'Rarely too much' — 'Too much' accepted with the knowledge of his power to refuse if he so willed; 'Too much' welcomed because, on a calculation of chances, 'Too much' paid. Of course many philosophies contradict this philosophy. Yet observe that every philosopher adopts this philosophy. Disciples may swallow the universe in a pill of dogma, but the teacher compounds the pill from tested sensations.

Before the sheep can follow safely, the shepherd must know the path. Thus we see a long line of prophets, from Buddha to Tolstoy, engaged in regenerating the race with the elderly morals drawn from their unregenerate youth, and urging the duty of life-renunciation upon men who have never known the pleasure of life-acceptance. That is not pretty Nature's way. 'The world was made when a man was born. He must taste for himself the forbidden springs. He can never take warning from old-fashioned things. He must fight as a boy; he must drink as a youth. He must kiss, he must love; he must swear to the truth of the friend of his soul. He must laugh to scorn the hint of deceit in a woman's eyes that are clear as the wells of Paradise. And so he goes on till the world grows old; Till his tongue has grown cautious, his heart has grown cold; Till the smile leaves his mouth and the ring leaves his laugh. And he shirks the bright headache, you ask him to quaff. He grows formal with men, and with women polite, and distrustful of both when they're out of his sight. Then he eats for his palate and drinks for his head, And loves for his pleasure — and it's time he were dead....'

But, instead of dying, he lies down under a bo-tree or dons a peasant's smock, and distils delusive wisdom from the dregs of pomp and gayety that he can no longer enjoy. EXPERIENCE teaches; but only one's own experience. To gain your gospel you must earn your gospel. When Mrs. Besant visited our land Australia, I remember asking her if she could have accepted Theosophy at the outset of her public career. She reflected, and doubted, and opined, No; she had needed struggle: her life had fed a lamp to light her path. Ponder the exemplary case of Annie Besant. To many people she is a puzzle, a paradox. They contrast the creed she forsook with the creed she embraced, neo-Materialism with neo-Theosophy; and they see that the two are absolutely antagonistic, mutually exclusive. Yet here is a woman who passes from one to the other 'somewhat suddenly', in Bradlaugh's weighed and guarded phrase ; almost without a struggle, as it appears to others. In a moment she turns her mind upside-down, astounding friends by the ease with which she quits long-cherished convictions, and becoming immediately no less ardent and obstinate a champion of her new faith than of her old. The fruit of twenty years of strenuous thought tumbles at a single glance from the 'brilliant eyes' of Madame Blavatsky. Admitting her honesty, her sanity, how possibly account for a revolution so radical? But consider. The very violence of the contradiction between Annie Besant the Materialist and Annie Besant the Theosophist implies a close bond of unity. For it is of the essence of things that likeness breeds opposition, unlikeness apposition. Extremes meet ; complexity is nearest sim- plicity; and the universe rings with the chime of contraries. Perchance our paradox may sit on the in- most verge of harmony...."

There's a lot more to this book, 'The Red Pagan', from which this selection was excerpted; read more at:

Saturday, November 07, 2009

SATYRICON - a translation project 83.12 - 84.3

SATYRICON sentences 83.12 - 84.3

83.12 Ecce autem, ego dum cum ventis litigo, intravit
pinacothecam senex canus, exercitati vultus et qui videretur
nescio quid magnum promittere, sed cultu non proinde
speciosus, ut facile appareret eum hac nota
litteratum esse, quos odisse divites solent.

LXD But look, while I'm litigating with the breezes, an old white-haired man, with a troubled look, entered. There seemed to hang about him some nebulous promise of greatness. From his neglected grooming, it was evident that he was a man of letters, the sort whom wealthy men usually despise.

83.13 Is ergo ad latus constitit meum.

LXD Then he stood close beside me.

83.14 "Ego, inquit, poeta sum et, ut spero, non humillimi
spiritus, si modo coronis aliquid credendum est, quas etiam
ad imperitos deferre gratia solet.

LXD "I," said he, "am a poet and, I hope, not one lacking in talent, if one is to put any stock by laurels (which however grace is accustomed to grant also to the inexperienced).

83.15 'Quare ergo, inquis, tam male vestitus es?'

LXD "Why then," you ask, "are you so shabbily dressed?

83.16 Propter hoc ipsum.

LXD On account of this very fact.

83.17 Amor ingenii neminem unquam divitem fecit.

LXD The love of creative genius never made anyone rich.

83.18 "Qui pelago credit, magno se fenore tollit; qui pugnas
et castra petit, praecingitur auro; vilis adulator picto
iacet ebrius ostro, et qui sollicitat nuptas, ad praemia

LXD 'Whoever trusts the sea gains great profits for himself. Whoever seeks battles and barracks girds himself with gold.
The fawning flatterer lies drunk in his purple-bordered toga, and whoever wrecks marriages, sins for financial reward.

83.19 Sola pruinosis horret facundia pannis, atque inopi
lingua desertas invocat artes.

LXD Eloquence alone shivers from the frost in tattered rags, and calls upon the abandoned arts with his plaintive song.'

84.1 "Non dubie ita est: si quis vitiorum omnium inimicus
rectum iter vitae coepit insistere, primum propter morum
differentiam odium habet: quis enim potest probare diversa?

LXD "Without a doubt, it is thus: if anyone is unfriendly to all vices and sets in to conduct his life uprightly, he is regarded with hatred, primarily because his behavior is different; for who is able to tolerate differences?

84.2 Deinde qui solas exstruere divitias curant, nihil volunt
inter homines melius credi, quam quod ipsi tenent.

LXD And then, they who only care about accumulating wealth, don't want anything else to be considered better among all mankind than what they themselves possess.

84.3 Insectantur itaque, quacunque ratione possunt,
litterarum amatores, ut videantur illi quoque infra pecuniam

LXD So they persecute the lovers of letters in any way they are able, so that they may be seen as inferior to those with money.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Evelyn Waugh

"My knowledge of English literature derived chiefly from my home. Most of my hours in the form room for ten years had been spent on Latin and Greek, History, and Mathematics. Today I remember no Greek. I have never read Latin for pleasure and should now be hard put to compose a simple epitaph. But I do not regret my superficial classical studies. I believe that the conventional defence of them is valid; that only by them can a boy fully understand that a sentence is a logical construction and that words have basic inalienable meanings, departure from which is either conscious metaphor or inexcusable vulgarity. Those who have not been so taught — most Americans and most women — unless they are guided by some rare genius, betray their deprivation."
-- Evelyn Waugh


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kali & Shiva Bhairava in Union

SATYRICON - a translation project

SATYRICON lines 83.1-83.11 October 31, 2009 Happy Halloween!

83.1 In pinacothecam perveni vario genere tabularum

LXD I walked into a gallery displaying a variety of wonderful paintings.

83.2 Nam et Zeuxidos manus vidi nondum vetustatis iniuria
victas, et Protogenis rudimenta cum ipsius naturae veritate
certantia non sine quodam horrore tractavi.

LXD There I saw the work of Zeuxis not yet marred by the wounds of time, and also handled (not without some measure of awe) Protogenes' cartoons, which rivaled the Truth of Nature herself.

83.3 Jam vero Apellis quam Graeci mon(kthmon appellant, etiam adoravi.

LXD But when I saw Apelles', he whom the Greeks call 'peg-leg' ( μονοκνημον ), I even kowtowed.

83.4 Tanta enim subtilitate extremitates imaginum erant ad
similitudinem praecisae, ut crederes etiam animorum esse

LXD For his figures were limned with such subtlety that you would believe the picture to be of their souls as well.

83.5 Hinc aquila ferebat caelo sublimis Idaeum, illinc
candidus Hylas repellebat improbam Naida.

LXD In this one, the eagle was carrying the boy [Catamitus] from Mt. Ida up to the sublimity of heaven; in that, the candidly chaste Hylas was resisting the wicked Naiad.

83.6 Damnabat Apollo noxias manus lyramque resolutam modo
nato flore honorabat.

LXD Apollo was damning his noxious hands and decorating his harp, just now unstrung, with the new-born flower, Hyacinth.

83.7 Inter quos etiam pictorum amantium vultus tanquam in
solitudine exclamavi: "Ergo amor etiam deos tangit.

LXD Lost among which visions from beloved pictures, as though in a desert solitude, I yelled out,"So Love moves even the gods.!"

83.8 Iuppiter in caelo suo non invenit quod diligeret, sed
peccaturus in terris nemini tamen iniuriam fecit.

LXD Jupiter didn't get to find somebody in his heaven that he could love, so he was going to sow his wild oats on Earth, but wronged nobody.

83.9 Hylan Nympha praedata temperasset amori suo, si venturum
ad interdictum Herculem credidisset.

LXD The Nymph who ravished [deponent ppl.] Hylas would have had [plpf. subjunct. imperasset & credidisset] her longing under control, had she believed Hercules would be coming to debar her.

83.10 Apollo pueri umbram revocavit in florem, et omnes
fabulae quoque sine aemulo habuerunt complexus.

LXD Apollo brought back the shade of his beloved boy transformed into the Hyacinth flower. And they (of similar myths) all enjoyed unrivaled Love's embrace.

83.11 At ego in societatem recepi hospitem Lycurgo crudeliorem."

LXD But myself, I have attracted an elective affinity [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elective_Affinities] more harrowing than with that Spartan lawgiver, Lycurgus, himself.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Catullus : Lesbia Nostra

Catullus 58 :
Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,
illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam
plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,
nunc in quadriviis et angiportis
glubit magnanimi Remi nepotes.

My translation :
Caelius, our own dear Lesbia, that very Lesbia,
our adored Lesbia, her whom alone Catullus
loved more than himself, more than his all,
down the crossroads and dark alleys she is
cleaning the bongs of great Remus' godsons.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Belfort of Brugge (aka Belfry of Bruges)

"Drinking Song" from 'Belfry of Bruges & Other Poems'

"Come, old friend! Sit down and listen!
From the pitcher, placed between us,
How the waters laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!

Old Silenus, bloated, drunken,
Led by his inebriate Satyrs;
On his breast his head is sunken,
Vacantly he leers and chatters.

Fauns with youthful Bacchus follow;
Ivy crowns that brow supernal
As the forehead of Apollo'
And possessing youth eternal.

Round about him, fair Bacchantes,
Bearing cymbals, flutes, and thyrses,
Wild from Naxian groves,of Zante's
Vineyards, sing delirious verses.

Thus he won, through all the nations,
Bloodless victories, and the farmer
Bore, as trophies and oblations,
Vines for banners, ploughs for armor.

Judged by no o'erzealous rigor,
Much this mystic throng expresses:
Bacchus was the type of vigor,
And Silenus of excesses.

These are ancient ethnic revels,
Of a faith long since forsaken;
Now the Satyrs, changed to Devils,
Frighten mortals wine-o'ertaken.

Now to rivulets from the mountains
Point the rods of fortune-dowsers;
Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,---
Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.

Claudius, though he sang of flagons
And huge tankards filled with Rhenish,
From that fiery blood of dragons
Never would his own replenish.

Even Redi, though he chaunted
Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys,
Never drank the wine he vaunted
In his dithyrambic sallies.

Then with water fill the pitcher
Wreathed about with classic fables;
Ne'er Falernian threw a richer
Light upon Lucullus' tables.

Come, old friend, sit down and listen!
As it passes thus between us,
How its wavelets laugh and glisten
In the head of old Silenus!"

Nota Bene the prudent New England temperance the poet works into this 'drinking song'.

Here's another diamond from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's same book:

Sunday, October 25, 2009


What did ΑΡΕΤΗ (VIRTUS) actually mean to the Ancients?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

President Teddy Roosevelt with his family

President Theodore Roosevelt

Seems President Roosevelt is suddenly controversial.

I see some pundits claiming recently that Teddy Roosevelt was too this or that. Here's a pretty representative rundown on their opining:


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." T. Roosevelt

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cicero Denouncing Catiline in the Roman Senate (ed.2)

A Caricature by John Leech (1817-1864)
{Left clique will show more character in the caricature.)

My first translation from Sallustius : Bellum Catilinae

Here's my translation of a section of Gaius Sallustlus' The Catiline Conspiracy, from around 65 B.C. when the Roman Republic was on its last legs, about to succumb to tyranny. I was quite impressed with the contemporaneousness of this text which was written circa 2,070 years ago.

"Is cum se diceret indicaturum de coniuratione, si fides publica data esset, iussus a consule quae sciret edicere, eadem fere quae Volturcius de paratis incendiis, de caede bonorum, de itinere hostium senatum docet; praeterea se missum a M. Crasso, qui Catilinae nuntiaret ne eum Lentulus et Cethegus aliique ex coniuratione deprehensi terrerent, eoque magis properaret ad urbem accedere, quo et ceterorum animos reficeret et illi facilius e periculo eriperentur."

That fellow [L. Tarquinius] was declaring that he was ready to give information about the conspiracy if immunity (security of public faith) was granted him. Ordered by the consul to tell what he knew, he told the senate nearly the same things as [the previous witness] Volturcius about the preparations made for incendiary raids, about the slaughter of patriotic citizens, about the enemies' itinerary. Furthermore, that he had been sent by M. Crassus, who was wanting [optative subjunctive] to alert Catiline lest Lentulus and Cethegus and others from the conspiracy, having been taken into custody, might deter him, rather should he continue hastening toward the City to gain access, by which he may restore the courage of the others and they may be more easily snatched away from legal action.

"Sed ubi Tarquinius Crassum nominavit, hominem nobilem maxumis divitiis, summa potentia, alii rem incredibilem rati, pars tametsi verum existumabant, tamen quia in tali tempore tanta vis hominis magis leniunda quam exagitanda videbatur, plerique Crasso ex negotiis privatis obnoxii, conclamant indicem falsum esse, deque ea re postulant uti referatur."

And when Tarqinius denounced Crassus, an aristocrat with very great wealth and maximum political influence, some reckoned the denunciation untrustworthy, a portion of senators, even though considering the testimony true, yet, because the power of the man, was so great at such a time, glossing over the affair seemed better than stirring up trouble. Also a good many senators in their private affairs being corrupted by Crassus, all of a sudden the senators are wailing in coyote chorus that the informer is mistaken; and concerning that indictment, they beg that the legal processing be withdrawn.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bearded Dragon

Pogona vitticeps, native to Central Australia; also a popular pet in Europe and USA.
[Left Click to enlarge and see more colors]

Doesn't he have a look of intense devotion, rather like a SADHU?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vailala Madness

Caroline Mytinger combined her art with a natural bent for anthropology, painting fine pictures of the indigenes of the South Pacific. Years ago my good angel (eudaimwn) led me to buy a copy of her 'New Guinea Headhunt', which has now become a rather rare book. She wrote in it (pp.323ff) of a Papuan, 'Emp' ("as big and black as Eugene O'Neill's Emperor Jones"), suddenly doubling-up, clutching his belly in painful spasms. This sort of attack was known to the indigenes as 'iki haveve', translating as 'belly-go-round'. The attack was resolved by her guide grabbing the man by his hair, jerking his head back, and then giving "the boy a blistering smack across the side of the head." Later she had read a paper by anthropologist F.E.Williams entitled "Vailala Madness" which, she wrote, appeared to explain the phenomenon as a 'cargo cult' manifestation.

I can recall scenes in early 20th Century cinema, especially in detective and psycho-drama, where a sudden slap was utilized to cure the 'emotionally out-of-control'. Perhaps Ms. Mytinger, not having much access to American pop culture, only saw this among the South Pacific indigenes. One wonders if this is still a socially acceptable reponse to such phenomena, or is it now ruled out as 'politically incorrect'?

Other 'cargo cult' manifestations were said to resemble the phenomena called 'getting the Holy Ghost' among some Christian churches and assemblies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three exciting writers from the drab Forties & Fifties

"He was an erudite and an elegant writer and none of the artifices of rhetoric was unfamiliar to him. His style was rich in simile and metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and catachresis. He never let a noun go by without an escort of two stalwart adjectives. Images sprang to his mind as profuse and fat as mushrooms after rain, and being well read in the Scriptures, the works of the Fathers and the Latin moralists, he was never at a loss for recondite allusion. He was learned in sentence structure, simple, compound and compound-complex, and could not only compose a period, with clauses and subclauses, of the most choice elaboration, but bring it to a conclusion with a triumphant clang that had all the effect of a door slammed in your face. This manner of writing, to which an ingenious critic had given the name of Mandarin, is much admired by those who affect it, but it has the the trifling disadvantage of taking a long time to say what can be said in brief; and in any case it would be discordant with the plain, blunt style in which this narrative is written; and so, instead of making a vain attempt to reproduce the good father's grandiloquence, the author of these pages has thought it better to give the gist of the matter [Inquisition 'auto de fe'] in his own simple way."
W. Somerset Maugham: 'Catalina', Doubleday, 1948, pp.89-90


Maugham and Michener and Han Suyin are the writer of the postWW2 period that I most enjoy reading. Suyin's autobiographical works are quite excellent history.



Friday, September 04, 2009

Man's Rage for Chaos: Biology, Behavior & the Arts

Man's Rage for Chaos by Morse Peckham, Professor of English at Univ. of Pennsylvania,
later Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of
South Carolina, is his much neglected 1967 breakthrough analysis of behavior and the arts.
Cultural criticism has been too obsessed with the rage for order to be able to grasp
the import of Peckham's search for "some human activity, which serves to break up orientations,
to weaken and frustrate the tyrannous drive to order, to prepare the individual to observe
what the orientation tells him is irrelevant, but what may be very relevant."
This book is destined to force a sharp turn in critical cultural studies, because it addresses
the rage for chaos in traditional "high culture," not just in popular culture.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Human Blood Sacrifice in Qinghai, P.R.C.

Mountain Gods continue to receive human blood sacrifices (Bon tradition) in Qinghai Province, P.R.C. as seen in this news report video: http://tinyurl.com/n893q6

About Qinghai Province: http://tinyurl.com/4xdt2l

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Immanuel Velikovsky & Cultural Amnesia

Papers of the 1974 international symposium at the University of Lethbridge regarding Immamuel Velikovsky's works:

Especially interesting for me is the fifth paper, by Irving Wolfe, proposing that catastrophic experiences are metamorphosed in the Collective Consciousness of the artists' Unconscious, providing inspiration for works of narrative art:

Review: The Riverrun Trilogy by S.P. Somtow

The Riverrun Trilogy' by S.P. Somtow is one of the most enthralling novels I've read. The story is told in the first person, by several of the characters; each character relating individual perspective on events. Literary quotes, often poetic, occur in the beginnings of each long chapter, thus setting the mood for coming events. Characters are well developed and the story enrapturing, making one care how it may unfold.
This book makes me look into my own sociological workings, as well as the characters'. There are some memorable quotables to be found therein: for a little taste, "You've spent your entire life mythologizing the mundane. . . . Is that not the function of poetry?"p. 148; "Sometimes when I dream of Katastrofa she is like a dragon and she sucks me into herself and folds her wings around me---"p. 21; "Every man IS an island. The universe splits off a million million times each millisecond, and each of us carries a private universe around with him wherever he goes. Where the universes intersect, that's when we think we encounter other people and we think they are our friends and our parents and the other people we love. But we never really know them because we never cross from our little bubble of reality into theirs."p. 82.
I recommend this book to anyone (who can tolerate a little sexual content and explicit language).
Would that it were better known, so more could enjoy it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

S.P. Somtow: The Riverrun Trilogy

I'm finding the reading of Somtow Papinian Sucharitkul (surname is first) a strong tonic to my imagination. I had been reading only the Greek and Latin classics for the past few years. The text is The Riverrun Trilogy, 1996 edition, in English.
ISBN 1-56865-194-5

William Blake Tarot of CreatIve Imagination

This tarot (for my Self at this time anyway) is the ultimate object of contemplation.

Check the links at the Yahoo group for more info:


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Euphoria is medically recognized as an affect (emotional and mental state) defined as a series of great elation and well-being. The term is is often used colloquially to define an emotion of intense transcendental happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of well-being. In Greek the word ἘΥΦΟΡΊΑ [frequentative from εὖ + φερεῖν] means "power of easily bearing or carrying, contentment, sense of well-being, grace of movement, fertility".
Euphoria is generally considered to be an exaggerated state resulting from psychological or pharmacological stressors and not typically achieved during the course of human experience, although some natural behaviors, such as acivities resulting in orgasm or the triumph of an athlete, can induce brief states of euphoria. Euphoria has also been cited during certain religious or spiritual rituals and meditation.
Kakaphoria, if such a were word used by the Ancient Greeks, would mean the opposite to euphoria.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Oregon sk8board parkrats & the Portland Paradise

All about the Portland Paradise

Oregon sk8boardparks


August 21 Update: But digg this new skatepark in Shanghai, China:

RadioHead's 'Harry Patch (in memory of)'

Harry Patch, recently dying at 111 years of age, was the last survivor of UK's World War I military forces. He had, and is himself, a message for us.

One may enjoy this eerily beautiful song through the player in the article.


Friday, August 07, 2009

'Cult of Personality'

'Cult of personality', a concept which appears to have been coined by Karl Marx, seems to be the dynamic underlying the creation of mythic heroes down through the ages. This can be seen with clearest objectivity in reading the Greek Classics, especially the Iliad, Xenophon, Thucydides and Herodotus. Among the Ancient Greeks there were temples and even worship, including prayer and sacrifices, of demigods and heroes.



Friday, July 24, 2009

DAVID BOWIE, 'subter personas'

Who or what is behind the artistic personas of David Bowie? (Quisquis est subter David Bowie personas?
Nonne leoninam pellem induere solet?) Isn't he used to wearing the skin [or playing the role] of the lion?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6en0mExSrw Romy Haag & David Bowie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2p-Jdkd7zs human side of Bowie?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JGMbSrJzaI "V-2 Schneider"

Progressive Governance

Progressive Governance if well-intentioned, powerful, and efficient should be able to make a better life for its citizens. Is that not so? Walter Williams shows, on You-Tube, actual results of Progressive Governance as experienced in Philadelphia:



Do you think 'Global Governance', for which Progressives long, would do any better?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"...what it once was like in America when men were free"

It seems we need to be reminded,

as President Ronald Reagan pointed out in 1961,

how important living free is for individual citizens and the entire Nation.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Could US Liberals be turning Fascist?

Fascism does indeed favor the social intervention so beloved of US Liberals, also the ultimate governmental control of industry, production, finance, etc.

The fascist governments of the past, however, while actually resulting in national destruction, were seemingly very nationalistic.

Our US Liberals however decry Nationalism and Colonialism, seemingly ready to give up our US sovereignty to a global government, perhaps by bankruptcy, to achieve peace at any price. 'Parafascist' seems a more correct term for them.



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson, C.S. Lewis, & 'the face of God'

"When I look at a child I see the face of God" said Michael Jackson in an interview in which he recommended his 'Childhood' music video for understanding his Weltanschauung:


A Psalm attributed to King David (Septuagint #23, Masoretic #24) says, "This is the generation seeking him, seeking the face of the God of Jacob." (my 'nekkid' translation)

C.S. Lewis wrote in 'The Weight of Glory': "if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object,... In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you --- the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and we cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that settled the matter.... The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not IN them, it only came THROUGH them, and what came through them was longing. These things ... are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited." C.S. Lewis speaks more to this mystique in his autobiographical book 'Surprised By Joy' and in various published letters. "We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence [that is, 'the face'] of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito." as Lewis wrote in his 'Letters to Malcolm'.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chronological Snobbery

So what's the good word,you say? Well,'chronological snobbery' is

a mighty fine one to consider.

It was a fine gift to our generation of novelty and change seekers

from the astute creator of the world of Narnia; viz., C.S. Lewis.

Can those who are blinded by their chronological snobbery produce

a sound fiscal policy? Or a better world?



Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Abenteuer im Wunderland

Hearkening to political gobsheen?

Plato : σωφρόνως γε οἰκοῦσα πόλις εὖ ἂν οἰκοῖτο : A state with habits of self-control would be well governed.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

President John Adams : his gnomes

President John Adams was the first US Vice President (1789-1797), during the presidency of George Washington, and the second US President (1797-1801)

"Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice."

"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people."

"Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak."

"The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing."

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."

"The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea."

"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress."


Monday, April 27, 2009


Richard Chenevix Trench, in his 1880 tome on Greek synonyms, tells us that both English and Latin are impoverished by not having words more precise than 'life' and 'vita', Ancient Greek in its Attic and Koine dialects having the contrasting synonyms βίος 'bios' and ζωή'zwh'. For an Anglican archbishop, he was surprisingly free of party-line blinkers; blinkers being the equine tack that limits the vision of draft horses so as to keep them conforming to the driver's will. Political parties seem to exert a similar control of their true believers through less obvious devices. 'Readings' perhaps?



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memo to Ted Mathys

Lieber Ted,

I've been finding The Spoils a damn fine read,

and already I feel a bibliogenic lust for s'more

before the eternal returning of der Uebermann.




Romans celebrate the City's 2762nd birthday.



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Disciples at Emmaus Recognizing their Master, Back from Hell

from a 1602 Painting by Michelangelo da Caravaggio, who took care to show Jesus' shadow

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cappadocian Fathers

Θεὸς Θεοῖς ἑνούμενος ( from the Speech on the Theophany )
" Ὢ τῆς καινῆς μίξεως ὢ τῆς παραδόξου κράσεως ὁ ὢν γίνεται καὶ ὁ ἄκτιστος κτίζεται καὶ ὁ ἀχώρητος χωρεῖται διὰ μέσης ψυχῆς νοερᾶς μεσιτευούσης θεότητι καὶ σαρκὸς παχύτητι. Καὶ ὁ πλουτίζων πτωχεύει, πτωχεύει γὰρ τὴν ἐμὴν σάρκα͵ ἵν΄ ἐγὼ πλουτήσω τὴν αὐτοῦ θεότητα. Καὶ ὁ πλήρης κενοῦται, κενοῦται γὰρ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ δόξης ἐπὶ μικρόν͵ ἵν΄ ἐγὼ τῆς ἐκείνου μεταλάβω πληρώσεως. Τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς ἀγαθότητος; Τί τὸ περὶ ἐμὲ τοῦτο μυστήριον; Μετέλαβον τῆς εἰκόνος καὶ οὐκ ἐφύλαξα· μεταλαμβάνει τῆς ἐμῆς σαρκός͵ ἵνα καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα σώσῃ καὶ τὴν σάρκα ἀθανατίσῃ. Δευτέραν κοινωνεῖ κοινωνίαν͵ πολὺ τῆς προτέρας παραδοξοτέραν· ὅσῳ τότε μὲν τοῦ κρείττονος μετέδωκε͵ νῦν δὲ μεταλαμβάνει τοῦ χείρονος. Τοῦτο τοῦ προτέρου θεοειδέστερον, τοῦτο τοῖς νοῦν ἔχουσιν ὑψηλότερον. "
http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/gregory-theologian.asp Bilingual Anthology (English by the side of Attic Greek)

""O new commingling; O strange conjunction; the Self-Existent comes into being, the Uncreate is created, That which cannot be contained is contained, by the intervention of an intellectual soul, mediating between the Deity and the corporeity of the flesh. And He Who gives riches becomes poor, for He assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the richness of His Godhead. He that is full empties Himself, for He empties Himself of His glory for a short while, that I may have a share in His Fulness. What is the riches of His Goodness? What is this mystery that is around me? I had a share in the image; I did not keep it; He partakes of my flesh that He may both save the image and make the flesh immortal. He communicates a second Communion far more marvellous than the first, inasmuch as then He imparted the better Nature, whereas now Himself partakes of the worse. This is more godlike than the former action, this is loftier in the eyes of all men of understanding.""
[Official 'Church of Greece' translation]




V Gemina & Digamma

"" ...Quintilian in various places (e. g., Institutio Oratoria 1.4.8, 1.7.26, 12.10.29) discusses the "Aeolic letter" or "Aeolic digammon", which is his
term for the sound in words like "seruus" and "ceruus".
At one point, he refers to the doubled "u" in such words as "u gemina", and, since the "w" is essentially the same letters, though used differently, perhaps this
would do as a Latin name for "w"."" 12 April 2009
Terrence Lockyer, Johannesburg, South Africa

Latin text

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Quintilian/Institutio_Oratoria/9A*.html#1 English translation

Is the 'V gemina' perhaps comparable to the Greek 'digamma' ?

Quintilian also recommends the use of figures (which he prefers to call tropes) 'for they add force and grace to things.'
"nam et vim rebus adiciunt et gratiam praestant." [Institutio Oratoria IX, 1]

Friday, April 10, 2009

Devil to Pay

"What's that you say, Mr. Citizen?

Is it old Mr. Debbil we must pay?"

"Don't you know damnation pays everyman's scores? ...We knew we should have the Devil to pay one time or another, and now you see, like honest men, we have pawned our Souls for the whole Reckoning." Thomas Brown, Letters From the Dead to the Living, 1707.



Sunday, April 05, 2009

Recalling a 1984 Beijing Dawning

The gibbous old alma bent to her broom as

Sweep : Sweep : Sweep : Amah sweeps up

Dust into billowing Dust into reddening Dust

Right in the Red Dawn of another rising Day

Friday, April 03, 2009

Messallina (17/20-48 A.D)

Marble sculpture, circa 45 A.D.

The 'wolf-girl' and empress immortalized by writings of Tacitus, Suetonius, Juvenal, and Robert Graves.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kappadokia and Roma with Joan Lewis

Today 'Joan's Rome' blog was added to our Links. Excellent pictures of the rugged terrain of Cappadocia with its many caves, crags [some resembling that "monstrous marvel" Polyphemous of Homer's Odyssey, IX:190ff] and the fairy chimneys are to be found in her 19 March post as well as the latest 'news of the Holy See'.

Explication of fairy chimneys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_chimney

Holy See, Batman?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_See

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Menander Monostichon 422

Ὁ μὴ δαρεὶς ἄνθρωπος οὐ παιδεύεται seems to get translated usually as "Male eruditur ille, qui non vapulat". I don't think that translation reflects the original Greek syntax very well. Smyth describes this syntax in his Greek Grammar (Harvard University Press, 1920) Sections 2280 and 2286. μὴ is used in the protasis because the "clause expresses something that is conceived or imagined ... the principle clause [apodosis] states the conclusion as a fact on the supposition that the protasis is true...."p.513

In light of his explanation, I render the monostichon in English as "If the man was not beaten, he is not educated" or "The man, who was not paddled, is not educated."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isidore of Seville (560-636 A.D.)

Saint Isidore is one of the greatest cultural lamps of the dark ages, preserving the light of knowledge from ancient Greece and Rome.

A great encyclopaedist, scholar, and sage, his major treatise is The Etymologies, also known as The Origins.


Prayer before logging onto the Internet:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

George Herbert (1593 - 1633)


"Who says that fictions only and false hair

Become a verse? Is there no truth in beauty?

Is all good structure in a winding stair?

May no lines pass, except they do their duty

Not to a true, but a painted chair?

"Is it no verse, except enchanted groves

And sudden arbors shadow coarse-spun lines?

Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves?

Must all be veiled while he that reads divines,

Catching the sense at two removes?

"Shepherds are honest people: let them sing:

Riddle who list, for me, and pull for prime:

I envy no man's nightingale nor spring;

Nor let them punish me with loss of rhyme,

Who plainly say, My God, My King."

-- by George Herbert, 1593 - 1633




"How soon doth man decay!
When clothes are taken from a chest of sheets
To swaddle infants, whose young breath
Scarce knows the way ;
Those clouts are little winding sheets, [as in breech clouts]
Which do consign and send them unto death.

"When boyes go first to bed,
They step into their solitary graves;
Sleep binds them fast ; only their breath
Makes them not dead.
Successive nights, like rolling waves,
Convey them quickly, who are bound for death.

"When youth is frank and free,
And calls for musick, while his veins do swell,
All day exchanging mirth and breath
In company ;
That music ruminons to the knell, [ruminates? summons?]
Which shall befriend him at the houle of death.

"When man grows staid and wise,
Getting a houle and home, where he may move [house?]
Within the circle of his breath,
Schooling his eyes;
That dumb inclosure maketh love
Unto the coffin, that attends his death.

"When age grows low and weak,
Marking his grave, and thawing every year,
Till all do melt, and drown his breath
When he would speak ;
A chair or litter shows the biere [foreshadows or prefigures?]
Which shall convey him to the houle of death.

"Man, ere he is aware,
Hath put together a solemnity,
And drest his hearse, while he has breath
As yet to spare.
Yea, Lord, instruct us so to die
That all these dyings may be life in death."

-- by George Herbert, 1593 - 1633

also cf.: http://user.itl.net/~geraint/miscpoem.html

Dast anyone say 'dast'?

Dast anyone say 'dast'?

Yes indeed we do dast.

Let dastards blast, all

Though down we be cast

Nekkid to write this dast.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Howse 'at, Barak Obama?

Observations from across great waters:


"Quid enim est stultius quam incerta pro certis habere, falsa pro veris?"
Marcus Tullius Cicero: Cato Maior de Senectute, 19.68


Friday, February 27, 2009

Joaquin Phoenix, the Rapper

This may very well be Joaquin's greatest piece of acting.

Soon, thanks to the 'stimulus package' beneficence of the new presidential administration and the U.S. Congress, wealthy fans will be able to ride in 'high style' from Disneyland in California to The Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada to enjoy the show.

Excerpt from 'forthcoming video':

Interview at The Palazzo (Raw Vegas TV)

Mild and gentle rapping:

Some heavy rhymes - EXPLICIT : BE ADVISED!

Contrast with Elvis Presley on Milton Berle TV Show (1956):

" χάριτι δὲ θεοῦ εἰμι ὅ εἰμι. "

Augustus Caesar attired as Pontifex Maximus

De Ediscente Linguae Latinae

"To embark on any complex English construction without the Latin Grammar is like trying to find one's way across country without map or signposts. That is why so few people nowadays can put together an English paragraph without being betrayed into a false concord, a hanging or wrongly attached participle, or a wrong consecution; and why many of them fall back upon writing in a series of short sentences, like a series of gasps, punctuated only by full stops." D. Sayers

Dorothy Sayers' essay on learning Latin, quite timely with the current vogue for Latin amongst American youth, struck me as 'litteras et legendas et non contemnendas'.


Reading Dorothy Sayers' essay on the learning of Latin brings to mind the essays of Virginia Woolf and G. Anthony Gorry about learning Greek which I referenced earlier:


Friday, February 20, 2009

Cosmic Rayburst

Sunbursts have long been favored by artists as well as halos and other solar and stellar representations.

Behold now the cosmic rayburst from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope:


Friday, February 13, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Overdriven twitters suffer twitterrhea?

Busybodied tweeters have got it, 'tis said

Will e-spam be superannuated by Twitter?

This SO very cutting edgy condition

Is not yet well pharmicognosed, but

Cometh, so 'tis said, from excess or

Frequent abuse of tweeting for which

Mayhap a two to three day suspension

May be applied to such overdriven twits.

So tweet me baby, eight to the bar!




Thursday, February 05, 2009


When I can bring myself to watch a television newscast, I usually find myself frustrated when the newsreader (yes, that's the original title) not only talks more rapidly than her visual recognition and vocal apparatus can handle, but makes mistakes in names and locations. Would that the names in 'newstories' appeared 'on the tube' in legible print. T'other night I beheld a report that involved what sounded like a breath-mint brand but turned out to be a police tactical unit.

Searching in www.dogpile.com I found this exhaustive reference:

Now enlightened, I understand that the breath-mint phoneme stands for 'Special Response Team' which is one sort of 'Special Weapons and Tactics'(SWAT). Once upon a time, a swat was something a child received when he or she was supposed guilty of malfeasance or nonfeasance. "Ah, brave new world!"

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ancient Chalices Found on Mount Lykaion {Et in Arcadia Ego}

Interesting, this find on Mount Lykaion! Very colorful mythology from there: Zeus, ritual cannibalism, werewolves ... who knows, vampires?

[Forward from CLASSICS-L]

""" http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1632508/new_evidence_from_excavartions_in_arcadia_greece/
In the third century BCE, the Greek poet Callimachus wrote a 'Hymn to Zeus'
asking the ancient, and most powerful, Greek god whether he was born in
Arcadia on Mt. Lykaion or in Crete on Mt. Ida.

""" A Greek and American team of archaeologists working on the Mt. Lykaion
Excavation and Survey Project believe they have at least a partial answer to
the poet's query. New excavation evidence indicates that Zeus' worship was
established on Mt. Lykaion as early as the Late Helladic period, if not
before, more than 3,200 years ago. According to Dr. David Gilman Romano,
Senior Research Scientist, Mediterranean Section, University of Pennsylvania
Museum, and one of the project's co-directors, it is likely that a memory of
the cult's great antiquity survived there, leading to the claim that Zeus
was born in Arcadia....

""" New evidence to support the ancient myth that Zeus was born on Mt. Lykaion
in Arcadia has come from a small trench from the southern peak of the
mountain, known from the historical period as the ash altar of Zeus Lykaios.
Over fifty Mycenaean drinking vessels, or kylikes, were found on the bedrock
at the bottom of the trench along with fragments
of human and animal figurines and a miniature double headed axe. Also found
were burned animal bones, mostly of goats and sheep, another indication
consistent with Mycenaean cult activity.

""" "This new evidence strongly suggests that there were drinking (and perhaps
feasting) parties taking place on the top of the mountain in the Late
Helladic period, around 3,300 or 3,400 years ago," said Dr. Romano.

""" In mainland Greece there are very few if any Mycenaean mountain-top altars
or shrines. This time period — 14th-13th centuries BC — is approximately the
same time that documents inscribed with a syllabic script called Linear B
(an archaic form of the Greek language) first mention Zeus as a deity
receiving votive offerings. Linear B also provides a word for an 'open fire
altar' that might describe this altar on Mt. Lykaion as well as a word for a
sacred area, temenos, a term known from later historical sources. The shrine
on Mt. Lykaion is characterized by simple arrangements: an open air altar
and a nearby sacred area, or temenos, which appears to have had no temple or
other architectural feature at any time at this site.

""" Evidence from subsequent periods in the same trench indicate that cult
activity at the altar seems to have continued uninterrupted from the
Mycenaean period down through the Hellenistic period (4th – 2nd centuries
BCE), something that has been documented at very few sites in the Greek
world. Miniature bronze tripods, silver coins, and other dedications to Zeus
including a bronze hand of Zeus holding a silver lightning bolt, have been
found in later levels in the same trench. Zeus as the god of thunder and
lightning is often depicted with a lightning bolt in his hand.

""" Also found in the altar trench was a sample of fulgurite or petrified
lightning. This is a glass-like substance formed when lightning strikes
sandy soil. It is not clear if the fulgurite was formed on the mountain-top
or if it was brought to the site as a dedication to Zeus. Evidence for
earlier activity at the site of the altar, from the Final Neolithic and the
Early and Middle Helladic periods, continues to be found.

""" The Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project is a collaboration between the
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in
pPhiladelphia, the University of Arizona, and the Greek Archaeological
Service in Tripolis, Greece. Project directors are Dr. Romano, Dr. Mary
Voyatzis of the University of Arizona, and Dr. Michalis Petropoulos, Ephor
of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquties of the Greek Archaeological Service
in Tripolis. The project is under the auspices of the American School of
Classical Studies in Athens. Investigations at the Sanctuary of Zeus also
include excavations and survey of a number of buildings and monuments from
the lower sanctuary where athletic contests were held as a part of the
festival for Zeus in the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. These
include a hippodrome, stadium, stoa, bath, xenon (hotel building) and
fountain house. The Project, which began in 2004, will continue in the
summer 2009. Further information about the research project can be found at
the project website: http://corinth.sas.upenn.edu/lykaion/lykaion.html ""

Vide etiam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lykaia

Previous related posts:


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Last Puritan

Finished reading George Santayana's 'The Last Puritan' today, reckoning it the finest and most philosophical I've ever read.

He didn't find any reason to write another novel, although leaving us many other writings.