- La mère n'avait pas desserré les
dents de la journée. On ne l'avait consultée ni sur la
toilette de la bru, ni sur l'ordonnance du festin; elle se retira de
bonne heure. Son époux, au lieu de la suivre, envoya chercher
des cigares à Saint-Victor et fuma jusqu'au jour, tout en
buvant des grogs au kirsch, mélange inconnu à la
compagnie, et qui fut pour lui comme la source d'une
considération plus grande encore.
[The mother hadn't unclenched her teeth all day. No-one had consulted her
either about her daughter-in-law's clothes or about the reception. She
went to bed early. Her husband, instead of following her, sent to
Saint-Victor for cigars and smoked them all night, drinking grog and kirsch, a
mixture that no-one present had seen before and which raised him even
higher in the general esteem.]
`See here, old bean,' the Consul heard himself saying, `to have
against you Franco, or Hitler, is one thing, but to have Actinium, Argon,
Beryllium, Dysprosium, Niobium, Palladium, Praseodymium-'
`Look here, Geoff-'
`-Ruthenium, Samarium, Silicon, Tantalum, Tellurium, Terbium,
`-Thullium, Titanium, Uranium, Vanadium, Virginium, Xenon,
Ytterbium, Yttrium, Zirconium, to say nothing of Europium and Germanium
- ahip! - and Columbium! - against you, is another.'
Knees backward in toothed three-way boots, you stand,
Dinewan, proud emu, common as the dust
in your sleeveless cloak, returning our interest.
Your shield of fashion's wobbly: you're Quaint, you're Native,
even somewhat Bygone.
`Do you know what time we arrive at the
Looking back on the conversation, this question does not seem to me to
have been particularly unusual. It is true that I had no interest in
the answer; I merely wanted to ask something which might start us
chatting, and which wasn't, at the same time, inquisitive or
impertinent. Its effect on the stranger was remarkable. He gave me a
long, odd glance, and his features seemed to stiffen a little. It was
the glance of a poker-player who guesses suddenly that his opponent
holds a straight flush and he had better be careful. At length he
answered, speaking slowly and with caution:
`I'm afraid I couldn't tell you exactly.
In about an hour's time, I believe.'
His glance, now vacant for a moment, was clouded again. An unpleasant
thought seemed to tease him like a wasp; he moved his head to avoid
it. Then he added, with surprising petulance:
`All these frontiers . . . such a horrible
I wasn't quite sure how to take this. The thought crossed my mind that
he was perhaps some kind of mild internationalist; a member of the
League of Nations Union. I ventured encouragingly:
`They ought to be done away with.'
`I quite agree with you. They ought, indeed.'
. . . grassless, linksless, languageless country in which
letters are written
not in Spanish, not in Greek, not in Latin, not in shorthand
but in plain American which cats and dogs can read! The letter a in
psalm and calm when
pronounced with the sound of a in candle, is very noticeable,
why should continents of misapprehension have to be accounted for by the
fact? Does it follow that because there are poisonous toadstools
which resemble mushrooms, both are dangerous?
For the crown of our life as it closes
Is darkness, the fruit thereof dust;
No thorns go as deep as a rose's
And love is more cruel than lust.
Time turns the old days to derision
Our loves into corpses or wives;
And marriage and death and division
Make barren our lives.
Let the Churches ask themselves why there is no revolt against the
dogmas of mathematics though there is one against the dogmas of
religion. It is not that the mathematical dogmas are any more
comprehensible. The law of inverse squares is as incomprehensible to
the common man as the Athanasian creed.
Der monschein deut die menschenlere
Der sophisten hin und here
Innerhalb der vierhundert jaren.
Die seynt nach ir vernunfft gefaren
Und hand uns abgefüret ferr
Vor der evangelischen ler
Unseres hirten Jesu Christ
Hin su dem lewen in die wist.
[The moonlight denotes the worldly knowledge of the philosophers, here
and there, of the last four hundred years. They have followed their
own thoughts and have led us, far from the evangelists and the
doctrine of our shepherd, Jesus Christ, to the lion in the
`It is the hour! Blessed Virgin, Mother Hera, Mother Frigga, Mother
Ishtar, Mother Isis, dread Mother Astarte of the weaving arms, it is
thy priestess, it is she who after the blind centuries and the groping
years shall make it known to the world that ye are one, and that in me
ye are all revealed, and that in this revelation shall come peace and
wisdom universal, the secret of the spheres and the pit of
Tutto è silenzio, lugubre infinito
silenzio, nel lontano
regno che regnerai. Simile a un nero
sepolcro è un trono vacuo, deserto
da tempo immemoriale, fatale:
ove già stette solitario assiso
un re onnipossente.
[All is silence, sad unending silence, in the far kingdom you shall
rule. Like a black tomb is the empty throne, deserted since time
immemorial, cursed, where once an omnipotent king sat alone.]