Archive for December, 2010

Owt of ȝour slepe aryse and wake

For God mankynd nowe hath ytake

Al of a Maide without any make

Of al women she bereth the belle. Nowel.


And þorwe amaide faire and wys

Now man is made of ful grete pris;

Now angelys knelen to manys seruys;

And at this tyme al this befel. Nowel.

Now man is briȝter þan þe sonne;

Now man in heuen an hye shal wonne;

Blesyd be God þis game is begonne;

And his monder empresse of helle. Nowel.

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The trees, burdened with the last infinitesimal pennyweight of snow their branches could hold, stood in absolute petrifaction.

Jack London

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metamorphosis, n.

From the Oxford English Dictionary

metamorphosis, n.

Forms: late Middle English methamorphosyos, 15 c. metamorphosys, 15– metamorphosis.

Etymology: < classical Latin metamorphōsis (only with reference to the work by Ovid; in post-classical Latin in sense 1a (5th cent.)) < Hellenistic Greek μεταμόρϕωσις < μετα-meta- prefix + μόρϕωσις morphosis n., after μεταμορϕοῦν to transform. Compare Middle French, French métamorphose (c1365 as a translation of the title of the work by Ovid; 1493 in Middle French in sense 1a; 1668 in sense 2; 1736 in sense 3a). Compare also Italian metamorfosi (1499), Spanish metamorfosis (c1620).The first Latin use is in the plural form Metamorphōsēs as the title of a poem by Ovid in the classical tradition of tales about transformations of gods or humans into the shapes of animals, plants, or inanimate objects. Subsequent uses in Latin, as well as the earliest uses in English, allude to or are strongly influenced by Ovid’s poem. English forms of the title of the poem are numerous until the 16th cent., from which time only the standard singular and plural forms are used:

c1390    Chaucer Man of Law’s Tale B.93   Me were looth be likned‥To Muses that men clepe Pierides; Methamorphosios [v.rr. Methamorphoseos, Metham orphaseos, Methanorphoseos, Methemore phees, Meche more phees] woot what I mene.

Greek μεταμορϕοῦν has a wider application, and appears in the gospels with the sense ‘transfigure’ transfigure v. 1b; some examples of the use of metamorphosis and related words in post-classical Latin reflect this gospel use (compare metamorphist n. 1).

1a. The action or process of changing in form, shape, or substance; esp. transformation by supernatural means.

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The schools of republican Italy were private, not public.  The republic was too thoroughly imbued with laissez-faire to establish a system of public education. . . A century before Cicero’s time Polybius, then a resident of Rome, criticized the lack of a public-school system.  Quoting the criticism in one of his books, Cicero replies that the Romans did not care to have an educational system “fixed by law or artificially established, or uniform in all cases.”  His argument is precisely that used in the United States against establishing a federal department of education with a member of the cabinet as its head.

[N.B., This book was published in 1942 in New York.]

The children were taught the three R’s at home or in private schools, conducted usually in Cicero’s time by a Greek slave or freedman who charged a nominal fee… The chances are that Marcus and Quintus [Cicero’s brother, Quintus Tullius Cicero, b. 102BC] followed the practice of many well-to-do Roman families and studied under their father, who gave them rudiments of an education together with the training of fundamentals of Roman citizenship that was traditionally stressed in family life.

This post is a part of the Cicero series, reading This Was Cicero, by H.J. Haskell.

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Annan Water

“Annan water’s wading deep,
And my love Annie’s wondrous bonny;     [beauty]
I will keep my tryst to-night,
And win the heart o’ lovely Annie.”

He’s loupen on his bonny grey,                  [jumped, from lepe, leap]
He rade the right gate and the ready’,
For a’ the storm he wadna stay,
For seeking o’ his bonny lady.

And he has ridden o’er field and fell,         [a hill or mountain]
Through muir and moss, and stones and mire;     [a marsh]
His spurs o’ steel were sair to bide,
And frae her four feet flew the fire.

“My bonny grey, noo play your part!
Gin ye be the steed that wins my dearie,
Wi’ corn and hay ye’se be fed for aye,
And never spur sail mak’ you wearie.”

The grey was a mare, and a right gude mare:
But when she wan the Annan Water,
She couldna hae found the ford that night
Had a thousand merks been wadded at her.      [unit of weight, espec. for gold]

“O boatman, boatman, put off your boat,
Put off your boat for gouden money!”                  [golden]
But for a’ the goud in fair Scotland,
He dared na tak’ him through to Annie.

“O I was sworn sae late yestreen,    [from yester = yesterday + e’en = evening]
Not by a single aith, but mony.
I’ll cross the drumly stream to-night,     [troubled, turbid, muddy]
Or never could I face my honey.”

The side was stey, and the bottom deep,
Frae bank to brae the water pouring;
The bonny grey mare she swat for fear,
For she heard the water-kelpy roaring.

He spurred her forth into the flood,
I wot she swam both strong and steady;
But the stream was broad, her strength did fail,
And he never saw his bonny lady.

O wae betide the frush saugh wand!
And wae betide the bush of brier!
That bent and brake into his hand,
When strength of man and horse did tire.

And wae betide ye, Annan Water!
This night ye are a drumly river;
But over thee we’ll build a brig,
That ye nae mair true love may sever.   [always]

Annan River, Shona McQueen (website)

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