Thursday, April 17, 2014

Docile carousel

Rock-lavender full of small pious birds
On precipices torn from old sky,
Promiscuous as the goddess of the grove.
No wonder the wise men listening pondered why
If speech be an involuntary response to stress,
How about song, then? Soft verbs, hard nouns
Confess the voice's submission to desire.
A theology of insight going begging.

Lawrence Durrell
Sicilian Carousel
  Birdsong: Erice
op. cit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spiffy news from Mailhos

     This is what it was like for the Sabines then,
     And for Romulus and Remus, in the old days.
     This must be how Etruria grew strong,
     And Rome became the most beautiful thing there is.

Georgics ii
30 BC
David Ferry
op. cit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

All this time, we feared, it might be over

This page has only it-
self to blame, need one
say, for arousing dread
that a parvenu collector
of buildings might yank
the curtain of Tricorne
from 375 Park Avenue -
possibly, a trophy too
vast to smuggle across
the borders of even our
adulation of the gross.

Will someone, please,
stand up and say what 
about Pablo Picasso,
could nail a vampire 
in his tracks?

Phyllis Lambert has
done so. Friends are
encouraged to acquire
a uniquely competent
and necessary memoir
of a prior civilisa-
tion in this land, of
such a forgotten amal-
gam of industry, op-
portunity, privilege,
genius, decency, and
taste as might strew
a boulevard of bucks
with instruction in

Doesn't one take pride 
in the gorgeousness of 
the good derived from 
any person? The greater
the gorgeousness, is no
matter: the good is im-
mutable. But the master-
piece is needed, because 
we forget how we hunger.

Phyllis Bronfman Lambert
Building Seagram
Yale University Press, 2013©

Monday, April 14, 2014

Whose shirt is this

They saw history as a process, and a process, moreover, of improvement, of progress. Thereby they gave to its study a new value, not merely moral and political, but intel-lectual and social.

The men of the past entered their story
only indirectly, as the agents or vic-
tims of 'progress': they seldom appear-
ed directly, in their own right, in 
their own social context, as the legit-
imate owners of their own autonomous

The romantic writers changed all that.
Seing the doctrine of progress convert-
ed from a gospel of humanity into a
slogan of conquest, they .. tried to
look on the past direct .. they resol-
ved, at all costs, to make the past

Hugh Trevor-Roper
Lord Dacre of Glanton
Regius Professor of Modern History
History and the Enlightenment
  The Romantic Movement and
  the Study of History
  op. post.
John Robertson, editor
Yale University Press, 2010©


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Functions of style v: gps

I have expatiated on the loss
of my literary maidenhead, a
memorable era in the life of
a student when he ventures to
reveal the measure of his mind.

  His hopes and fears
  are multiplied by the
  idea of self-importance
  and he believes for a
  while that the eyes of
  mankind are fixed on his
  person and performance.

Whatever may be my present rep-
utation .. I may appreciate my
juvenile work with the imparti-
ality, and almost the indiffer-
ence, of a stranger.

Edward Gibbon
1737 - 1794
op. post.
Dero A. Saunders, editor
Meridian Books, 1961©