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. " 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*.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.