Saturday, September 09, 2023

In Paths of Heaven'ly Truth to Soar

 Psalm 23
by Christopher Smart 

The shepherd Christ from heav'n arriv'd,
My flesh and spirit feeds;
I shall not therefore be depriv'd
Of all my nature needs. 

 As slop'd against the glist'ning beam
The velvet verdure swells,
He keeps, and leads me by the stream
Where consolation dwells. 

 My soul He shall from sin restore,
And her free pow'rs awake,
In paths of heav'nly truth to soar,
For love and mercy's sake. 

 Yea, tho' I walk death's gloomy vale,
The dread I shall disdain;
For Thou art with me, lest I fail,
To check me and sustain. 

 Thou shalt my plenteous board appoint
Before the braving foe;
Thine oil and wine my head anoint,
And make my goblet flow. 

 But great still Thy love and grace
Shall all my life attend;
And in Thine hallow'd dwelling place
My knees shall ever bend.

Friday, September 08, 2023

It Breaks in Our Bosom and Then We Bleed

 Hymn of Pan
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

 From the forests and highlands
 We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,
 Where loud waves are dumb
 Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,
 The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,
 The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,
 Listening to my sweet pipings. 

 Liquid Peneus was flowing,
 And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing
 The light of the dying day,
 Speeded by my sweet pipings.
The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,
 And the Nymphs of the woods and the waves,
To the edge of the moist river-lawns,
 And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,
 With envy of my sweet pipings. 

 I sang of the dancing stars,
 I sang of the daedal Earth,
And of Heaven, and the giant wars,
 And Love, and Death, and Birth --
 And then I chang'd my pipings,
Singing how down the vale of Maenalus
 I pursu'd a maiden and clasp'd a reed.
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!
 It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed.
All wept, as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood,
 At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

While All Is Dark Around, She Shines in Native Light

 Sonnet VI
by John Black 

While the bright colours slowly melt away,
That late the western clouds so richly dight,
And gradual darkness steals upon the light,
Thro' flowery vales, and groves I love to stray, 

 And silent mark the GLOW-WORM's kindling ray,
That mid the dunnest walks, and deepest glooms,
The long dank grass, with greenish light, illumes,
And glads the eye, and cheers the dusky way. 

 Tho' now it spread a radiance thro' its sphere,
 'Twas pale by day, unheeded, and unseen:
 Thus humble Virtue oft may dim appear,
Where gaudy Fortune spreads her dazzling sheen; 
 But in the gloom of drear Affliction's night,
 While all is dark around, she shines in native light.

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Links of Note

 * Dan Williams, Is emotionality a fingerprint of misinformation?, at "Dan Williams Philosophy" (The post began as a Twitter thread, which is the reason for its unusual format.)

* Liam Kofi Bright, Arguments in Philosophy, at "The Sooty Empiric"

* Olivier Lemeire, The causal structure of natural kinds (PDF)

* Stephen C. George, When Scientists Believed the Adorable Platypus Was a Hoax, at "Discover Magazine"

* Chris DeVille, Dog Sneaks into Local Metallica Show, at "Stereogum"

* Bridger Ehli, Fiction and Content in Hume's Labyrinth (PDF)

* A while back there was an online push to try to find who was the artist who painted the famous 1976 Dell/Laurel Leaf paperback cover for A Wrinkle in Time. The name of the artist has finally been discovered (thus proving one of the things that internet communities are actually good for, I suppose): Richard Bober. Amory Sivertson, Ben Brock Johnston, and Emily Jankowski give the story of how a connection that had almost seemed to be lost forever was discovered.

* The Iraqi government, for reasons unknown, recently withdrew recognition of the Chaldean Catholic patriarch, Louis Sako; he was forced to relocate his see to Kurdish city of Erbil.

* Vincent Lam and Christian Wuthrich, Laws beyond spacetime (PDF)

* Lauren N. Ross, Cascade versus Mechanism: The Diversity of Causal Structure in Science (PDF). All of Ross's work on causal concepts in the sciences, at least all that which I have read, is very good, and this paper is not an exception; it is excellent.

* Kathrin Koslicki & Olivier Massin, A Plea for Descriptive Social Ontology (PDF)

* The quantitative analysis blog, "Data Colada", was recently sued due its investigation of apparent academic wrongdoing; they have an update on the current situation.

* I don't think I've said much about the 2019 biopic Tolkien; I enjoyed it, although I find it somewhat lacking in a number of ways. In any case, Jess of the Shire recently had a review of it at YouTube with which I am pretty much in agreement:

Monday, September 04, 2023

O Friend! I Know Not Which Way I Must Look

 Written in London. September, 1802
by William Wordsworth 

O Friend! I know not which way I must look
For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom! -- We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore:
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Gregorius Dialogus

 Today was the feast of Pope St. Gregory I the Great, often known in the East as Gregory the Dialogist. From his Moralia in Iob (Vol III, Part 6, Bk XXXIII, Sect 36-37):

...But because this Leviathan flatters himself with a false promise of the Divine compassion, after He had spoken of the terror of his strength, and had roused the mind of blessed Job with circumspection towards Him, (saying, Remember the battle, and say no more;) in order to shew his unpardonable guilt, He immediately added; Behold, his hope shall disappoint him. 

But this ought to be so understood, as to be referred to his body also; because all wicked men who fear not the strictness of Divine justice, flatter themselves in vain on His compassion. And He presently returns to console us, and foretels his coming destruction at the last judgment, saying; And in the sight of all he shall be cast down. For he will be cast down in the sight of all, because when the eternal Judge then terribly appears, when legions of Angels stand at His side, when the whole ministry of heavenly Powers is attending, and all the Elect are brought to behold this spectacle, this cruel and mighty monster is brought captive into the midst, and with his own body, that is, with all reprobates, is consigned to the eternal fires of hell, when it is said, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels. O what a spectacle will that be, when this most huge monster will be displayed to the eyes of the Elect, which at this time of contest, could he but be seen, might have too much terrified them! But it is so ordered by the secret and wonderful judgment of God, that he is now conquered by His grace, though not seen by the combatants, and that then he is beheld by the joyful victors as already captive. But they then learn more fully how much they are indebted to the Divine assistance, when they have once seen so mighty a beast, whom they have now conquered in their weakness; and behold in the huge size of their enemy, how much they owe to the grace of their Defender....

Fortnightly Book, September 3

 Kenneth Grahame was a secretary at the Bank of England; he had had literary aspirations but his family had pushed him in the direction of a profession with a more stable salary. He still did some writing in his spare time. Pagan Papers, a slim book of literary sketches, was published in 1894, but he began having real success with his next two works, The Golden Age (a book of retellings of Greek myths, published in 1895) and Dream Days (a book of short stories, published in 1898), which were both lavishly praised by the critics and sold reasonably well. But he is best known, of course, for a work published in 1908, which the critics of the despised. He had originally intended to title it, Mr. Mole and His Mates, but for reasons completely unknown, it was published under a title that was much more memorable: The Wind in the Willows.

The book began as a set of stories that Grahame told his perpetually ailing son, Alastair, around 1904, when the boy was four years old. Sometimes they were bedtime stories, sometimes they were letter-stories he wrote to his son when he was away, but in 1908, shortly after he had left his job at the Bank and retired, he reworked them a bit and had them published. And now it comes to us, as the next fortnightly book.