Archive for October, 2009


October 13, 2009

Two sentences from the much sneered-at Pierre.  Aloud, please:

Besides, Pierre knew this:—that so invincible is the natural, untamable, latent spirit of a courageous manliness in man, that though now socially educated for thousands of years in an arbitrary homage to the Law, as the one only appointed redress for every injured person; yet immemorially and universally, among all gentleman of spirit, once to have uttered independent personal threats of personal vengeance against your foe, and then, after that, to fall back slinking into court, and hire with sops a pack of yelping pettifoggers to fight the battle so valiantly proclaimed; this, on the surface, is ever deemed decorous, and very prudent—a most wise second thought; but at bottom, a miserably ignoble thing.  Frederic was not the watery man for that,—Glen had more grapey blood in him.

Herman Melville     Pierre     pp.335-6

October 12, 2009






October 9, 2009

One of the things i’d like to do here is record beautiful and strange sentences.  Here are two I came across a few weeks ago.  Please read aloud:

Now he watches the recurrence of that which he discovered for the first time three days ago: that dawn, light, is not decanted onto earth from the sky, but instead is from the earth itself suspired.  Roofed by the woven canopy of blind annealing grass-roots and the roots of trees, dark in the blind dark of time’s silt and rich refuse–the constant and unslumbering anonymous worm-glut and the inextricable known bones–Troy’s Helen and the nymphs and the snoring mitred bishops, the saviors and the victims and the kings–it wakes, up-seeping, attritive in uncountable creeping channels: first, root; then frond by frond, from whose escaping tips like gas it rises and disseminates and stains the sleep-fast earth with drowsy insect-murmur; then, still upward-seeking, creeps the knitted bark of trunk and limb where, suddenly louder leaf by leaf and dispersive in diffusive sudden speed, melodious with the winged and jeweled throats, it upward bursts and fills night’s globed negation with jonquil thunder.

–William Faulkner   The Hamlet   p.200

from Chaucer’s Yeoman’s prologue

October 9, 2009

Ther is also ful many another thyng
That is unto oure craft apertenyng.
Though I by ordre hem nat reherce kan,
By cause that I am a lewed man,
Yet wol I telle hem as they come to mynde,
Thogh I ne kan nat sette hem in hir kynde:
As boole armonyak, verdegrees, boras,
And sondry vessels maad of erthe and glas,
Oure urynales and oure descensories,
Violes, crosletz, and sublymatories,
Cucurbites and alambikes eek,
And othere swiche, deere ynough a leek.
Nat nedeth it for to reherce hem alle,–
Watres rubyfiyng, and boles galle,
Arsenyk, sal armonyak, and brymstoon;
And herbes koude I telle eek many oon,
As egremyne, valerian, and lunarie,
And othere swich, if that me liste tarie;
Oure lampes brennyng bothe nyght and daye,
To brynge aboute oure purpos, if we may;
Oure fourneys eek of calcinacioun,
And of watres albificacioun;
Unslekked lym, chalk, and gleyre of an ey,
Poudres diverse, asshes, donge, pisse, and cley,
Cered pokkets, sal peter, vitriole,
And diverse fires maad of wode and cole;
Sal tartre, alkaly, and sal preparat,
And combust materes and coagulat;
Cley maad with hors or mannes heer, and oille
Of tartre, alum gas, berme, wort, and argoille,
Resalgar, and oure materes encorporyng,
And of oure silver citrinacioun,
Oure cementyng and fermentacioun,
Oure yngottes, testes, and many mo.


October 8, 2009

1. A gourd-shaped vessel or flask used in distillation.

2. Fourneau secret des philosophes; quelquefois le vase qui contient la matiere du forneau secret, dans lequel le cuit & se digere la matiere de l’art Hermetique.

3. Funny looking squash. With a big mouth.