Archive for January, 2014

Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi

January 1, 2014

There is no word in the English language for a magician’s garden two hundred years after the magician is dead.

Susanna Clarke from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

The tree of my death was a cyprus. Involuntarily I repeated the famous line: Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi.

I remembered that lenta in that context means flexible, but there was nothing flexible about the leaves of my tree. They were all alike, stiff and shiny and of a dead matter. On each one there was a monogram. I felt repulsion and relief: I realized that a great effort could save me. Save me and perhaps do him in, since, consumed as he was by hatred, he had not noticed either the clock or the monstrous branches. I let go of my talisman and pressed down on the grass with both hands. For the first and last time I saw the flash of a blade. I woke up. My left hand was groping at the wall of my room.

JL Borges from Los Conjurados
translated by Alan S. Trueblood