I am gone for euer. Exit pursued by a Beare.

Shakespeare was the theatre’s greatest craftsman: he wasted no tortured ratiocination on his plays. Instead he filled them with the gaudy heroes that all of us see ourselves becoming on some bright morrow, and the lowly frauds and clowns we are today.”
H. L. Mencken

People are afraid to merge on the Queen’s Highway in London. This is the first thing I hear when I come back to the city. Juliet picks me up from the docks and mutters this under her breath as her carriage drives up the onramp. She says, “People are afraid to merge on highways in London.” Though that sentence shouldn’t bother me, it stays in my mind for an uncomfortably long time. Nothing else seems to matter. Not the fact that I’m eighteen and it’s December and the ride on the ship had been rough and the couple from Ipswich, who were sitting across from me in first class, had gotten pretty drunk. Not the mud that had splattered the legs of my jeans, which felt kind of cold and loose, earlier that day at a port in France. Not the stain on the arm of the wrinkled, damp shirt I wear, a shirt which had looked fresh and clean this morning. Not the tear on the neck of my gray argyle vest, which seems vaguely more Parisian than before, especially next to Juliet’s clean tight jeans and her pale-blue T-shirt. All of this seems irrelevant next to that one sentence. It seems easier to hear that people are afraid to merge rather than “I’m pretty sure Portia is anorexic” or the singer on the street crying out about aether. Nothing else seems to matter to me but those eleven words. Not the warm winds, which seem to propel the carriage down the empty cobblestone way, or the faded smell of marijuana which still faintly permeates Juliet’s hair. All it comes down to is that I’m a boy coming home for a month and meeting someone whom I haven’t seen for four months and people are afraid to merge. Dude, I haue neither the Schollers melancholy, which is emulation: nor the Musitians, which is fantasticall; nor the Courtiers, which is proud: nor the Souldiers, which is ambitious: nor the Lawiers, which is politick: nor the Ladies, which is nice: nor the Louers, which is all these: but it is a melancholy of mine owne, compounded of many simples, extracted from many obiects, and indeed the sundrie contemplation of my trauells, in which by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadnesse.

By me William Shakspeare,
William Shaksper, William Shakspere,
Willm Shakp, Willm Shakspere,
Wm Shakspe

Argued by Signs; Ha, my masters, a great secret!


Foreword, Prelude, Beginning, Exordium, Explanation, Introduction, Opening, Overture, Preamble …

Most illustrious and thrice valorous champions, gentlemen and others, who willingly apply your minds to the entertainment of pretty conceits and honest harmless knacks of wit; you have not long ago seen, read, and understood the great and inestimable Chronicle of the huge and mighty giant Gargantua, and, like upright faithfullists, have firmly believed all to be true that is contained in them, and have very often passed your time with them amongst honourable ladies and gentlewomen, telling them fair long stories, when you were out of all other talk, for which you are worthy of great praise and sempiternal memory. And I do heartily wish that every man would lay aside his own business, meddle no more with his profession nor trade, and throw all affairs concerning himself behind his back, to attend this wholly, without distracting or troubling his mind with anything else, until he have learned them without book; that if by chance the art of printing should cease, or in case that in time to come all books should perish, every man might truly teach them unto his children, and deliver them over to his successors and survivors from hand to hand as a religious cabal; for there is in it more profit than a rabble of great pocky loggerheads are able to discern, who surely understand far less in these little merriments than the fool Raclet did in the Institutions of Justinian.

Continue reading “Argued by Signs; Ha, my masters, a great secret!”

Satyricon, I need not go to the poets for evidence

Pars quarta

Then we all three swore the most solemn oaths the horrid secret should die with us

Operi modo oculos, et finge te non humana viscera, sed centies sestertium comesse. Accedit huc, quod aliqua inveniemus blandimenta, quibus saporem mutemus. Neque enim ulla caro per se placet, sed arte quadam corrumpitur, et stomacho conciliatur averso.

At this crisis amazement and consternation quite broke our spirit, certain death seeming to stare us miserably in the face. “I beseech you, lady,” I cried, “if you have any sinister design, put us out of our misery at once; we have done nothing so heinous as to deserve torturing to death.” The maid, whose name was Psyche, now carefully spread a rug on the marble floor, and endeavored to rouse my member into activity, but it lay cold as a thousand deaths could make it. Ascyltos had muffled his head in his mantle, having doubtless learned from experience the peril of meddling with other people’s secrets. Meantime Psyche produced two ribbons from her bosom, and proceeded to tie our hands with one and our feet with the other. Finding myself thus fettered, “This is not the way,” I protested, “for your mistress to get what she wants.” “Granted,” replied the maid; “but I have other remedies to my hand, and surer ones.”

So saying, she brought me a goblet full of satyrion, and with quips and cranks and a host of wonderful tales of its virtues, induced me to drain off nearly the whole of the liquor. Then, because he had slighted her overtures a little before, she poured what was left of the stuff over Ascyltos’s back without his noticing. The latter, seeing the stream of her eloquence dried up, exclaimed, “Well! and am I not thought worthy to have a drink too?” Betrayed by my laughter, the girl clapped her hands and cried, “Why! I’ve given it you already, young man; you’ve had the whole draft all to yourself.” “What!” put in Quartilla, “has Encolpius drunk up all our stock of satyrion?” and her sides shook with pretty merriment. Eventually not even Giton could contain his mirth, particularly when the little girl threw her arms round his neck, and gave the boy, who showed no signs of reluctance, a thousand kisses.

We should have cried out for help in our unhappy plight, but there was no one to hear us and besides Psyche pricked my cheeks with her hair pin every time I tried to call upon my fellow countrymen for succor, while at the same time the other girl threatened Ascyltos with a brush dipped in satyrion. Finally there entered a catamite, tricked out in a coat of chestnut frieze, and wearing a sash, who would alternately writhe his buttocks and bump against us, and beslaver us with the most evil-smelling kisses, until Quartilla, holding a whalebone wand in her hand and with skirts tucked up, ordered him to give the poor fellows quarter. Then we all three swore the most solemn oaths the horrid secret should die with us.

Continue reading “Satyricon, I need not go to the poets for evidence”

The Lao Tzu … beginning of the ten thousand things


The way can be spoken of
is not the constant way.
The name that is defined
is not the constant name.

The nameless characterizes
the beginning of the ten thousand things;
The named characterizes the mother
of the ten thousand things.

So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.

Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

αὐτὰρ ἔπειτ᾿ αὐτοῖσι βέλος ἐχεπευκὲς ἐφιεὶς

Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾿ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾿ ἔθηκε, πολλὰς δ᾿ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι· Διὸς δ᾿ ἐτελείετο βουλή, ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

Tίς τ᾿ ἄρ σφωε θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνέηκε μάχεσθαι; Λητοῦς καὶ Διὸς υἱός· ὃ γὰρ βασιλῆϊ χολωθεὶς νοῦσον ἀνὰ στρατὸν ὄρσε κακήν, ὀλέκοντο δὲ λαοί, οὕνεκα τὸν Χρύσην ἠτίμασεν ἀρητῆρα Ἀτρεΐδης· ὃ γὰρ ἦλθε θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας Ἀχαιῶν λυσόμενός τε θύγατρα φέρων τ᾿ ἀπερείσι᾿ ἄποινα, στέμματ᾿ ἔχων ἐν χερσὶν ἑκηϐόλου Ἀπόλλωνος χρυσέῳ ἀνὰ σκήπτρῳ, καὶ λίσσετο πάντας Ἀχαιούς, Ἀτρεΐδα δὲ μάλιστα δύω, κοσμήτορε λαῶν·

“Ἀτρεΐδαι τε καὶ ἄλλοι ἐϋκνήμιδες Ἀχαιοί, ὑμῖν μὲν θεοὶ δοῖεν Ὀλύμπια δώματ᾿ ἔχοντες ἐκπέρσαι Πριάμοιο πόλιν, εὖ δ᾿ οἴκαδ᾿ ἱκέσθαι· παῖδα δ᾿ ἐμοὶ λύσαιτε φίλην, τὰ δ᾿ ἄποινα δέχεσθαι, ἁζόμενοι Διὸς υἱὸν ἑκηϐόλον Ἀπόλλωνα.”

Ἔνθ᾿ ἄλλοι μὲν πάντες ἐπευφήμησαν Ἀχαιοὶ αἰδεῖσθαί θ᾿ ἱερῆα καὶ ἀγλαὰ δέχθαι ἄποινα· ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ Ἀτρεΐδῃ Ἀγαμέμνονι ἥνδανε θυμῷ, ἀλλὰ κακῶς ἀφίει, κρατερὸν δ᾿ ἐπὶ μῦθον ἔτελλε·

“Μή σε, γέρον, κοίλῃσιν ἐγὼ παρὰ νηυσὶ κιχείω ἢ νῦν δηθύνοντ᾿ ἢ ὕστερον αὖτις ἰόντα, μή νύ τοι οὐ χραίσμῃ σκῆπτρον καὶ στέμμα θεοῖο· τὴν δ᾿ ἐγὼ οὐ λύσω· πρίν μιν καὶ γῆρας ἔπεισιν ἡμετέρῳ ἐνὶ οἴκῳ ἐν Ἄργεϊ, τηλόθι πάτρης, ἱστὸν ἐποιχομένην καὶ ἐμὸν λέχος ἀντιόωσαν· ἀλλ᾿ ἴθι, μή μ᾿ ἐρέθιζε, σαώτερος ὥς κε νέηαι.”

Ὣς ἔφατ᾿, ἔδεισεν δ᾿ ὃ γέρων καὶ ἐπείθετο μύθῳ· βῆ δ᾿ ἀκέων παρὰ θῖνα πολυφλοίσϐοιο θαλάσσης· πολλὰ δ᾿ ἔπειτ᾿ ἀπάνευθε κιὼν ἠρᾶθ᾿ ὃ γεραιὸς Ἀπόλλωνι ἄνακτι, τὸν ἠΰκομος τέκε Λητώ·

“Κλῦθί μευ ἀργυρότοξ᾿, ὃς Χρύσην ἀμφιϐέϐηκας Κίλλαν τε ζαθέην Τενέδοιό τε ἶφι ἀνάσσεις, Σμινθεῦ, εἴ ποτέ τοι χαρίεντ᾿ ἐπὶ νηὸν ἔρεψα, ἢ εἰ δή ποτέ τοι κατὰ πίονα μηρί᾿ ἔκηα ταύρων ἠδ᾿ αἰγῶν, τὸ δέ μοι κρήηνον ἐέλδωρ· τίσειαν Δαναοὶ ἐμὰ δάκρυα σοῖσι βέλεσσιν.”

Ὣς ἔφατ᾿ εὐχόμενος, τοῦ δ᾿ ἔκλυε Φοῖϐος Ἀπόλλων, βῆ δὲ κατ᾿ Οὐλύμποιο καρήνων χωόμενος κῆρ, τόξ᾿ ὤμοισιν ἔχων ἀμφηρεφέα τε φαρέτρην· ἔκλαγξαν δ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ὀϊστοὶ ἐπ᾿ ὤμων χωομένοιο, αὐτοῦ κινηθέντος· ὃ δ᾿ ἤϊε νυκτὶ ἐοικώς. ἕζετ᾿ ἔπειτ᾿ ἀπάνευθε νεῶν, μετὰ δ᾿ ἰὸν ἕηκε· δεινὴ δὲ κλαγγὴ γένετ᾿ ἀργυρέοιο βιοῖο· οὐρῆας μὲν πρῶτον ἐπῴχετο καὶ κύνας ἀργούς, αὐτὰρ ἔπειτ᾿ αὐτοῖσι βέλος ἐχεπευκὲς ἐφιεὶς βάλλ᾿· αἰεὶ δὲ πυραὶ νεκύων καίοντο θαμειαί.

Ἐννῆμαρ μὲν ἀνὰ στρατὸν ᾤχετο κῆλα θεοῖο, τῇ δεκάτῃ δ᾿ ἀγορὴν δὲ καλέσσατο λαὸν Ἀχιλλεύς· τῷ γὰρ ἐπὶ φρεσὶ θῆκε θεὰ λευκώλενος Ἥρη· κήδετο γὰρ Δαναῶν, ὅτι ῥα θνῄσκοντας ὁρᾶτο. οἳ δ᾿ ἐπεὶ οὖν ἤγερθεν ὁμηγερέες τε γένοντο, τοῖσι δ᾿ ἀνιστάμενος μετέφη πόδας ὠκὺς Ἀχιλλεύς·

“Ἀτρεΐδη νῦν ἄμμε παλιμπλαγχθέντας ὀΐω ἂψ ἀπονοστήσειν, εἴ κεν θάνατόν γε φύγοιμεν, εἰ δὴ ὁμοῦ πόλεμός τε δαμᾷ καὶ λοιμὸς Ἀχαιούς· ἀλλ᾿ ἄγε δή τινα μάντιν ἐρείομεν ἢ ἱερῆα ἢ καὶ ὀνειροπόλον, καὶ γάρ τ᾿ ὄναρ ἐκ Διός ἐστιν, ὅς κ᾿ εἴποι ὅ τι τόσσον ἐχώσατο Φοῖϐος Ἀπόλλων, εἴτ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ὅ γ᾿ εὐχωλῆς ἐπιμέμφεται ἠδ᾿ ἑκατόμϐης, αἴ κέν πως ἀρνῶν κνίσης αἰγῶν τε τελείων βούλεται ἀντιάσας ἡμῖν ἀπὸ λοιγὸν ἀμῦναι.”

Ἤτοι ὅ γ᾿ ὣς εἰπὼν κατ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ἕζετο· τοῖσι δ᾿ ἀνέστη Κάλχας Θεστορίδης οἰωνοπόλων ὄχ᾿ ἄριστος, ὃς ᾔδη τά τ᾿ ἐόντα τά τ᾿ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ᾿ ἐόντα, καὶ νήεσσ᾿ ἡγήσατ᾿ Ἀχαιῶν Ἴλιον εἴσω ἣν διὰ μαντοσύνην, τήν οἱ πόρε Φοῖϐος Ἀπόλλων· ὅ σφιν ἐϋφρονέων ἀγορήσατο καὶ μετέειπεν·

“Ὦ Ἀχιλεῦ, κέλεαί με, Διῒ φίλε, μυθήσασθαι μῆνιν Ἀπόλλωνος ἑκατηϐελέταο ἄνακτος· τοὶ γὰρ ἐγὼν ἐρέω· σὺ δὲ σύνθεο καί μοι ὄμοσσον ἦ μέν μοι πρόφρων ἔπεσιν καὶ χερσὶν ἀρήξειν· ἦ γὰρ ὀΐομαι ἄνδρα χολωσέμεν, ὃς μέγα πάντων Ἀργείων κρατέει καί οἱ πείθονται Ἀχαιοί· κρείσσων γὰρ βασιλεὺς ὅτε χώσεται ἀνδρὶ χέρηϊ· εἴ περ γάρ τε χόλον γε καὶ αὐτῆμαρ καταπέψῃ, ἀλλά τε καὶ μετόπισθεν ἔχει κότον, ὄφρα τελέσσῃ, ἐν στήθεσσιν ἑοῖσι· σὺ δὲ φράσαι εἴ με σαώσεις.”


l’histoire secrète racontée entre les lignes sinueuses et le sens … We ðe, soðfæstan god, heriað and lofiað

OE Old Eng. Martyrol. (Corpus Cambr. 196) 22 Nov. 254 On þære nyhte þa heo wæs ingelæded on þone brydbur, þa sæde heo þam brydguman þæt heo gesawe engel of heofenum and se wolde hyne slean myd færdeaðe, gif he hyre æfre onhryne myd unclænre lufon. OE tr. Vitas Patrum in B. Assmann Angelsächsische Homilien u. Heiligenleben (1889) 197 Ða gelicode him sona ðurh deofles tihtince þæs hæþenan sacerdos dohtor. Began þa niman swyðe micle lufe to hyre and to hyre fæder gewænde and hy him to gemæccan gyrnde.

OE Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xxiv. 67 Isaac gelædde Rebeccan in to Sarran getelde, hys modor, & underfeng hi to wife, & lufode hi swa swyðe, þæt he ðæt sar forgeat, þe him on hys modor deaðe gelamp. OE King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxii. 51 Ic wille [þe oðewan] forlustlice for ðinum lufum [L. tui causa libenter]. OE Resignation B 116 Þonne ic me to fremþum freode hæfde, cyðþu gecwe[me] me wæs a cearu symle lufena to leane, swa ic alifde nu. OE King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxxv. 101 Ne fo we no & [read on] ða bisna & on ða bispel for ðara leasena spella lufan, ac forðæmðe we woldon mid gebecnan þa soðfæstnesse. OE Genesis B 508 Ic gehyrde hine þine dæd and word lofian on his leohte and ymb þin lif sprecan. OE West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xxiii. 6 Hig [sc. the scribes and the Pharisees] lufigeað þa fyrmystan setl on gebeorscypum, & þa fyrmystan lareowsetl on gesomnungum. OE Paris Psalter (1932) lxx. 21 Mine weleras gefeoð, wynnum lofiað, þonne ic þe singe, sigora wealdend, and min sawl eac. OE Cleopatra Gloss. in W. G. Stryker Lat.-Old Eng. Gloss. in MS Cotton Cleopatra A.III (Ph.D. diss., Stanford Univ.) (1951) 39 Affectu, for hylde & lufe. OE King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) xxxiv. 231 Suiðe suiðe we gesyngiað, gif we oðerra monna welgedona dæda ne lufigað & ne herigað. OE Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xxix. 20 Iacob him hyrsumode þa seofan gear for Rachele, & hit him þuhte feawa daga for þære lufe þe he to hyre hæfde [L. prae amoris magnitudine]. OE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) iv. xxviii. 362 Swa mycel getydnes & gelærednes to sprecenne & swa mycel lufu godcundre lare [OE Corpus Oxf. swa mycel lufu to godcundre lare; L. tantus amor persuadendi]. OE tr. Bili St. Machutus 48 For þon þis idel lif nan þing elcor þam þe hit lufaþ byt nemþe synne. OE Laws of Æðelred II (Claud.) vi. xxix. 254 La understande man georne, þæt eal swylc [sc. swicollice dæda & laðlice unlaga] is to leanne & næfre to lufianne. OE Wærferð tr. Gregory Dialogues (Corpus Cambr.) (1900) iii. vii. 189 On æfentid ic geteah his mod to þon, þæt he lufode mid his bradre hand þa nunnan & ofer þa sculdru geþaccode. OE Wulfstan Institutes of Polity (Junius) 78 Eorlas and heretogan and ðas worulddeman and eac swa gerefan agan nydþearfe, þæt hi riht lufian for Gode and for worulde. OE Lord’s Prayer II 115 We ðe, soðfæstan god, heriað and lofiað. OE (Mercian) Vespasian Psalter (1965) xvii. 1 (2) Diligam te domine uirtus mea, domine firmamentum meum et refugium meum : ic lufiu ðe dryhten megen min dryhten trymenis min & geberg min. OE tr. Apollonius of Tyre (1958) i. 2 Þa ða se fæder þohte hwam he hi mihte healicost forgifan, þa gefeol his agen mod on hyre lufe mid unrihtre gewilnunge [L. pater..incidit in amorem filiae suae]. OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: John v. 42 Sed cognoui uos quia dilectionem dei non habetis in uobis: ah ic cuðe iuih þætte lufu godes [OE Rushw. lufo godes] ne habbas gie in iuih.

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